Last stage today. Last night was the Corpus Christi festival in O Pedrouzo that starts off innocently enough with lots of young kids in finery for first communion and then continues to the very early hours of the morning with increasing volume and enthusiasm until it ends abruptly at 5 in the morning. The stage for the band was about 50m from our pension and the band might as well have been playing at the foot of our bed. At least they were good, in an excruciatingly loud, sort of way.
The fireworks at 2 AM that kicked of a real uptick in festival intensity sounded like a rolling artillery barrage. There was nothing to do but laugh and enjoy the band, explosions and pouring rain on skylight window.
The pension had 7 rooms and the guests included Canadians, Mexicans, Spanish, Japanese, Chileans, Austrians and Argentineans. We had a communal breakfast and our host was a charming man who spoke Spanish in a way that while we did not understand him we knew exactly what he meant.
The forecast was for a very rainy day but thankfully after a brief bluster while we ducked into a bar for breakfast 2.0 it was pretty pleasant – even sunny for long stretches.
We had 20km to get to the Cathedral in Santiago and it mostly flat trail. A little slick as it had rained a lot overnight – crowded in parts and then you find yourself alone. The walk was not very scenic – you can earn a Compostela (a document to verify your pilgrimage – good for claiming indulgences etc?) by walking the last 110km from Sarria into Santiago. People who do this get ripped of scenery wise as the last bit peaks at pleasant and thus well short of majestic.
As we got closer there was a sense of excitement in everyone and the collective pace picked up. We ran into Niels, our Danish friend whom we had not seen for a few days. He was bursting with vim and vigor as his shin injury was much improved. We said a quick hello ad he was heading in for coffee and we were carrying on as we had just had breakfast 2.5.
Santiago looks pretty ordinary as you enter and you feel like you should be done but phone says 3km still to go. By luck Niels appeared again and we were very happy to walk the last few kilometres with him. The cathedral appeared finally as well as many fine smelling bakeries that distracted us a little bit.
All of a sudden you are done.