To the End
DAY 31: July 3rd, 2014. Monte do Gozo – Santiago de Compostela, 5 km
José woke me up at 6 AM telling me that our clothes are locked in the laundry, that would only open at 8 AM. I can’t believe my bad luck, especially after planning everything so that we could reach Santiago early in the morning!
But luck is eventually on our side, and the security guy has the keys to the room, that he opens for us.
Only 5 km are left before Santiago, but once we leave Monte do Gozo, we are already in the outskirts of the city.
We walk that distance in quiet, each of us thinking about the arrival. We are almost there.
We stop right before reaching the city center, anxious about arriving but at the same time wanting to enter the city in full strength. We have a huge breakfast with chocolate con churros.
The 9 AM bells welcome us to Santiago de Compostela. Tears start running down my frozen cheeks. We made it. We arrived, all together.
And I, I arrived, after 31 km and 750 km, I managed to arrive here on my own. I had to stop one day, but I walked again, and here I am.
I am crying tears of happiness, because I was proven right: with my feet, with my own strength, step by step I can arrive as far as I decide to. I managed, we all did.
We all hug in front of the Cathedral. Each of us has come here for different reasons, and each of us has been on a journey inside themselves. And here we are, all together.
Jasper lifts me and makes me spin, and for a moment I am flying, I am flying over Santiago.
I am crying of happiness for arriving and sadness because something wonderful is just about to end.
Everybody is smiling, everybody is crying. José calls his son, who I am sure will be as proud as ever. Because I am. I am proud of José, I am proud of myself, and of all my friends.
I look at their familiar faces whose expressions I now know by heart. I look at this group of people who walked all these kilometers with me, these people that I got to know and to love so deeply these past few days.
Then we let go, we put our backpacks back on, and we head, together, to the Oficina del Peregrino to get our Compostelanas.
DAYS 32 to 34: July 4th-7th. Santiago de Compostela – Finisterre and back, 89 km.
I did not keep a journal these last few days. So, two years later, it is hard to recall exactly what I felt back then, but I will still try to sum it up.
I thought most of my friends would have stopped in Santiago, but Diego, Juju, Nora, Joanna, Car, Nate, Kieran, and Jasper all came with me to Finisterre.
We walked three more days in sometimes sunny, sometimes rainy Galicia. We shared more kilometers, more sweat, more dinners and bottles of wine together.
Then we arrived in Finisterre, and that was the End. I can’t even describe the feeling when reaching the ocean.
After all those days of keeping them in our smelly and dirty hiking boots, sinking our tired feet in the fresh sand and then letting the salty waves wash the pain off felt like Heaven. If I am to describe the meaning of Happiness by one image, it would be probably be this.
We ran, we jumped, we cried, we swam. There was no space for being sad, all we were was happy.
At night, we followed the tradition and walked up to the lighthouse, until we reached Kilometer 0. We sat on the rocks watching the sun set on the Atlantic Ocean. We burnt old clothes, letters or other objects we wanted to leave in the past.
I watched how the waves met and formed the shape of an arrow with their foam. An arrow, pointing towards the Americas. There, where I want to go next.
We drank some wine. I smoked my very last cigarette. Then we went back.