Santiago!!!

Hi everyone…: )

I HAVE FINALLY ARRIVED!!!! YAY!!!

The walk in to Santiago yesterday was a little strange..
To begin with, I left before sunrise, 6.15 am, so had to find my way along tracks…which I imagine in the daylight would have been heavily shaded, and quite narrow. Luckily, I was carrying with me, a very small torch…if I hadn’t added it to my pack all those weeks ago…I wouldn’t have been going anywhere…it was pitch black!!!!

I walked for the first hour and a half, not seeing but immersed in my thoughts. It was so hard to internalize that this was the end of my journey…in a mere few hours I would be at my final destination.

I’m very glad now that I’ve written this blog and posted my photos so regularly… Eventually I’ll look back on this trip and remember all the details as they are triggered by photos and words.

As I walked into the outskirts of Santiago..Rose, Ken, Judy and Ian called to me from a bar where they had run into each other for coffee. I sat for a little, then walked the final few kilometres with Rose and Ken. I must tell you that Rose and Ken, have been one of the many couples who have been a special part of my Camino….. Rose has an enormous heart of gold, a little bit like mother hen : )….. With an insatiable need to make sure were all safe and secure and accounted for…: )
One of the many beautiful souls along the way……

The walk into Santiago was surreal. We arrived in the main plaza of the stunningly beautiful Cathedral, where everyone finishes. There was a feeling of elation..but also strangely nothingness: ) it’s a feeling that unfortunately I can’t really portray to you….you’re just going to have to experience it for yourself: )

There, I met some of the people who, I had so much wanted to see again….dear Nicole for example…the very special lady from France who had walked from Le Puy. She is a definite treasure : )

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Also Chabelo from Mexico who had decided to carry the load for everyone at the beginning…but very quickly abandoned this idea…

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I went to the peregrinos mass at 12 noon, which is held every day. I found it highly emotional…actually I don’t remember much of it at all..as I cried pretty much the whole way through it : ) The service was in Spanish and it very basically consisted of a welcome to all the newly arrived peregrinos, that day. The priest then read each town individually from St Jean Pied de Port and the different nationalities and there numbers who had started from each town, along the way. The singing was hauntingly beautiful…and to be honest…as you know, I’m not religious so to speak but spiritual… the whole service was a little overwhelming.

I met with a few people, after, for lunch then went back to my hotel and had a long soak in the bath…and felt much better.

Last night I met with others for dinner… It ended up being a very fun night…and luckily this morning when I awoke, I could pull the blanket back over my head and doze off back to sleep : )

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The Cathedral at night.

I had the most delicious breakfast this morning at the hotel. Coffee, fresh orange juice, crusty bread, fresh Galician cheese and honey….utterly sensational!

I ventured to the cathedrals plaza at around 11.30 am and went straight to the cathedral for the peregrinos mass…as I wanted to experience the whole thing again…however this time, hopefully, with less emotion! Not the case : (

I was a little late but ended up sitting myself on a pillar…prime position, very close to the altar!
The whole experience was again wonderful…and emotional! There was a group of school children today, who sang for us…which was really lovely : )

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At the end of the service, we were lucky to witness the swinging of the Butafumera, a giant incense burner, which took at least five monks to pull, sky high….and then it was swung in an enormous arc across the cathedral.

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On my way back to my room, to write this blog and have a little rest, who should I meet but beautiful Ercillia and Richard.

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If there were a heaven…these two would be angels… They have been so supportive of me along the way..and so encouraging of the path, along which I’m travelling : ) I’m so proud of them both! Richard is 79 and has walked the entire Camino,leaving on the same day as me and arriving just one day later! truly amazing!!!! Ercillia is 66 and a truly special human being. Very insightful and full of love….

Tomorrow I was planning to catch the bus to Finisterre,which some argue is an appropriate end to the Camino Frances, not Santiago, as it is the furthermost point west on the Spanish coast. Here, a few walk to and traditionally burn their clothes etc as a symbolic end to an old life and a beginning to a new way. After not much thought : ) I have decided to donn my boots again and walk another 20 or 30 kms tomorrow along this route ( it’s about 80 kms in total to Finisterre) and then catch a bus back to Santiago. The Camino is not finished with me yet : ) not quite sure why I feel the need to do this…just something unexplainable……

Well, time to sign off now…about to have a massage : )

They’ll be more to report tomorrow…no doubt……. : )

Love Netia xx

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11 Responses to Santiago!!!

  1. Jan says:

    Amazing journey Venetia. I’m in awe of your strength and determination!

  2. carol connolly says:

    Ha , love it a ” massage ” ! Bet you’ve been hanging out for one !
    XXXX

  3. Sue Slater says:

    WOW Netia…..last entry bought tears to my eyes. What a life defining experience. I think only the brave blog as it is such a commitment to write, share your reflections and download photos after a long and sometimes challenging day……..but you will probably suffer blog withdrawal.
    Looking forward to reading about Finisterre…….Congratulations and be happy.
    Sue

  4. Sue Slater says:

    ……And Netia only the VERY BRAVE set out on the Camino solo and sing and dance along the way, but what rewards it seems…you are inspiring!!!!!

  5. peter browne says:

    hi netia congratulations . have been following your trip . what an achievement . will talk to you soon. your brother peterxxxx

  6. Sally Rogers says:

    How are your feet ?? No bubbles ! Hahaha ……..That sounds blissful………. “massage”! Hope you are not feeling too overwhelmed with all the emotions and feelings now you have “nearly” finished the Camino …………
    Thinking of you and sending all our love to you ,
    Sally xxxxxxx

  7. Annie says:

    I was just thinking that it would feel so strange for you and somewhat sad to be finishing so I am hardly surprised that you feel the need to continue to walk this last leg so we are still imagining you thoughtfully putting one foot in front of the other! love to you from James and I xxx

  8. Alan Lipka says:

    My dear Netia !

    You did it ! Not that there was ever any doubt. 🙂

    How many days did it take ? Hmmm … beginning 8/21 in SJPP and ending 9/28 in Santiago … shall we say 38 ? Close enough. My point being … “Day 39” is the rest of your life.

    I trust you will be somewhat … different … upon your return to the real world. Others will certainly notice ! I encourage you to live your Camino experience every day … and in doing so, find happiness, fulfillment, and a renewed sense of direction.

    All the best from a Camino brother !

    ~ Alan

    PS Keep writing. 😀

  9. Liz AARONS says:

    What an accomplishment. Can’t Believe you are up for more walking !!!!xxx
    N

  10. wheresnetia says:

    Hi Alan, Yes I arrived! I’ll try and follow your wise words : ) big hugs Netia

  11. Sally Savage says:

    Hi Netia wow you have proved it you are truly amazing in every way. I’ve really been entranced by the beautiful photos and reading your blog makes me feel like your allowing us to take the journey just a little with you.I am so happy that you have enjoyed every step of your journey I’m sure there will be so much more to come.
    Take care, miss you hug sally savage

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