Padron – Santiago de Compostela
21 April 2018
Wow, what do you say after 25 days walking through two different countries?
The end of walking after 620km:
The day has arrived … our final day of hiking the Portuguese Camino and the day we will see the Santiago Cathedral once again – almost one year after we finished our first Camino, the Camino Frances.
In contrast of yesterday’s sadness about our Camino that was coming to an end, we now had a feeling of anticipation about our last stage … we knew this day had to come and we were ready to embrace the full experience!
Quiet streets in Padron:
As we walked through the streets of Padron, we saw several pilgrims walking towards Santiago … everyone with their own reasons as to why they have done the Camino, but with one goal in sight – to get to the cathedral in Santiago – that is the one silver thread that binds us pilgrims together 😊.
Walking through the narrow streets of Iria Flavia
Back on the country lanes:
After walking next to the main road for some time, we turned left to join, once again, quiet country lanes. From here we passed a couple of hamlets, walking passed the locals’ houses where they were quietly busy with everyday life.
We are now seeing pilgrims constantly – probably the most since we started our Portuguese Camino – but that is to be expected … it’s the last stretch that leads us into Santiago de Compostela!
Hard to believe … only 16.8km to Santiago
One last coffee on the Camino:
In Picarana we saw a café next to the main road and we could smell the wonderful aroma of the Spanish coffee … enough reason to stop for a while 😀.
What about a last café con leche before reaching Santiago?
After passing all the cafés and albergues through Picarana on a one kilometer stretch, we turned left again passing the ancient Pazo do Faramello.
Walking on beautiful country lanes at Faramello
One of the oldest wayside crosses:
At the fork after Faramello, we’ve came to “ermita de San Martino” and “cruceiro do Francos” – one of the oldest wayside crosses in Galicia.
“Cruceiro do Francos” – one of the oldest wayside crosses in Galicia
Joining the ancient pilgrim way:
According to our Brierley guide book, it is from here that we join the ancient pilgrim way, which still retains its original name “Rua de Francos”. It was a stunning stretch of road with beautiful walks through woodlands.
The kilometers kept counting down to Santiago …
Beautiful scenery after Faramello with roads taking us through the woods
The walk through the woodlands gave us the perfect opportunity to clear our minds … and to just breath and enjoy this moment.
We have constantly seen signs to indicate the distance to Santiago – now only 5.4km
It was really the perfect hike before we walked into Santiago … the tranquility filled us completely and we were now ready to end our journey!
Amazing walkways through more woodlands
The last distance way marker we saw before Santiago … 3.4km
For 26 days we saw these yellow arrows – we will miss them!
Which way to go?
With about 3km to go, we reached an option where waymarkers pointed in opposite directions (and with no explanation as to what our options were!)
Now what … left or right?
We took the left road:
We had to consult our trusted Brierley guide book (for the last time on this journey) as to where we should go! According to our guide book, the most direct route is 600m shorter and is more pleasant while the other route to your right goes through modern suburbs and waymarking is poor (but it is downhill) … oh well, “shorter” sounds better … yes, we took the left one (Por Santa Marta).
The slogging then started into Santiago and we kept our eyes open to see the towers of the cathedral … we looked at each other with a feeling of anticipation!
Filling his water bottle at 1km to go:
On the university campus we came to a water point and Berto filled his bottle … I said: “Really, for the last kilometer?” 😳. I think it was just his way of making me wait a little bit longer to get to the Cathedral!
Berto filling his water bottle … with only 1km to go!
And then … we took our final steps towards the Cathedral.
The Santiago Cathedral:
According to John Brierley, by tradition the pilgrim from Portugal turns up right into rua Fonseca into the Praza das Praterias to enter the Cathedral by the south door. This was the particular entrance used by the medieval pilgrim travelling the Camino Portuguese and remains the oldest doorway to the Cathedral dating back to the 11th century (1078) … and now, this was the very same route that we were taking … it’s quite fascinating!
We are here – after walking 620km:
Once we stood in front of the magnificent towers of the Santiago Cathedral, we looked at each other. This time there were no tears, but just a feeling of accomplishment and absolute joy! We hugged each other and Berto said “We have done it … again”.
A picture any pilgrim on the Camino will cherish forever!
We took our backpacks off and sat there for a while – looked up at the Cathedral. We thought about so many things …
- that first week from Lisbon that we walked every day for more than 30km,
- painful feet,
- rainy days,
- sunny days,
- the amazing people we met,
- the days that we lost the yellow arrow,
- the great food we had … ohh, those pastel de nata’s!
And we felt absolutely blessed to have done this journey!
Time to reflect on our Portuguese Camino
A last beer on the Camino:
And then, once again, we walked over to a street restaurant to have that beer to announce the end of a day … and now also the end of our Portuguese Camino!
There were great beers on the Portuguese Camino, but this one must be the best 😀
Accommodation – Pension Pumar:
Walking to our last accommodation on the Camino:
We booked into Pension Pumar for the next three days – to rest and to enjoy the atmosphere of Santiago. There are a lot of parks nearby with a river running at the end of the park … we did not waste time to shower and took a stroll down to the river where we sat for a very long time.
Relaxing on the grass in front of Pension Pumar
A short reflection:
A year ago, we did not even think that we will be here so soon again! It was such an amazing adventure and we felt privileged to have done the Camino again. So much different than our first one last year, but an experience we will never forget!
And yes, once again, I felt blessed to have done this with my dear husband! Berto is the ultimate travelling/hiking partner … there were days that I found walking extremely difficult, but he encouraged me to always believe in myself. I will forever be thankful to him for “pushing me to my limits” 😊.
Will we ever do another Camino? We have no idea … but we would not mind!
Paulo Coelho said: “Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished. Stop being who you were and change into who YOU are”
Packing List – Camino Portuguese:
To view our Packing List, click here
As with any long distance hiking journey, there are reflections afterwards (and sometimes bold decisions are made) … just click on the links below to read about our reflections & life changing decisions: