The End

NOVEMBER 10

Had a pretty good sleep despite the noise of being next door to the cathedral area and waking up to cough once in a while. It rained during the night and it is drizzling at the moment.  Nothing new there. Seems like Galicia is under a permanent cloud.....must be too much sinning going on here and rain is the punishment.

I am buying a train ticket later today and will leave around 1330 on Tuesday, arriving in Madrid at around 2100.  There Iíll spend a couple of days Ė hopefully the weather will be better there.

~at left a photo of the cathedral at Santiago
  

 

 

Cidade da Cultura de Galicia (Galiciaís City of Culture)

On one of the hills overlooking the city they are building a huge complex that will act as a place for study and and research of Galiciaīs culture both past and future. It is based on the architectural design of American architect, Peter Eisenman. I had seen a documentary about it earlier this year and had hoped to be able to visit it. It turns out that the project which was started in 2001 is now scheduled for completion in 2012 and that the pace of progress has dwindled to a slow crawl due to cost escalation and political interference. They have a way to go before they challenge the amount of time it took to build the cathedral - about 125 years! So there are no tours and I canít visit for a few more years.

Aerial view of the unfinished City of Culture


November 9th, 2008 - THE END

I have completed my Rotary Project!

I arrived at the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela at 11:40 this morning after a 3 1/2 hour, 17 km walk from Capilla de Santiaguino.  A total of 1007 km and 1.248 million steps from Seville.

I then attended the noon mass, went to the Peregrino Office where my credentials were validated and I was issued my Compostela. There I learned that the big albergue where I stayed last year was closed for the winter. So, I walked down the street to the address where Markus and I had stayed the second night last year and lo and behold got a room for 15 Euros per night for a couple of days.

The last four days from Ourense to Santiago de Compostela, a distance of 111 kilometers was supposed to be a piece of cake but didnít quite turn out that way.

Firstly, I probably walked about 120 kilometers when on the second day I missed a marker and ended up walking about 38 kilometers as opposed to the 29 that my guide book suggested. I must have been in mental fog.  The next thing I knew there no  more yellow arrows or Camino markers. So, rather than go back (probably several kilometers) I decided to keep going along the highway knowing that I was going in about the right direction and that the trail had to be somewhere to the East. Unfortunately it did not turn out that way.  However,  eventually I got back on the Camino and ended up at the albergue in A Laxe.

Secondly, I had the expectation based on a newspaper report that the weather would improve.

Not so.

On the first day, I left with an overcast sky that turned into drizzle and intermittent rain for the remainder of the day. Same thing on days 2 and day 3. Hope loomed that on todayís short section of 17 kilometers it would not rain. Not so, as it started to pour after about one hour and it continued all the way to the steps of the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. Apparently it rains on average two out of every three days in Galicia. Wrong....it has either rained or snowed every day that I have walked in Galicia.

Thirdly, nothing prepared me for what is described in my guidebook as "the steepest climb" on the Camino. This is a section which starts about seven kilometers after leaving Ourense. It is a continuous 20 degree slope for just over a kilometer which then turns into about a 12 degree slope for the next half a kilometer. Usually a climb like that is rewarded by a superb view (after you recover).......but there was nothing to see except the fog.

Lastly, I started to get a sore throat during the first day which turned into a bit of a cold. Nothing serious enough to stop me but nevertheless an inconvenience.

Despite all of this I made it....there was never any doubt. 

"The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
Let others follow it who can!
Let them a journey new begin,
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet."


- J.R.R Tolkien