I remember thinking at the beginning of our Camino that 10 days of hiking was going to be really tough and essentially be extremely difficult. However, I was surprised the morning we woke up for our last day of walking, thinking how much stronger I felt and how quickly it had actually gone. It was such a funny feeling because our lives had been about planning our next day and when we would eat, check in to our hotel, rest, shower, and repeat and then it was all over, like that! When I think back on it now it really feels like a dream, like it never actually happened. I think that’s why I am so keen to do another one. It was a really amazing experience and truly eye opening and I hope I have the chance to do it again one day.
We left Padron for Santiago de Compostella around 8am after a beautiful breakfast at our hotel. It was our longest day of hiking so we knew we needed to take lots of breaks and carry lots of water with us. We stopped for our first coffee and pee break. Then another break for orange juice and to pee again. That was something we realized throughout our trip because we were staying so hydrated we needed rest stops a lot and there weren’t many. Nothing was worse than holding it too so if you do plan to do the Camino be prepared to go in the forest when there are no cafes around! We decided to stop for lunch in the town before Santiago because we weren’t sure exactly where our hotel was and it was important to stay fuelled, especially on a hot day like it was.
I still remember the lunch to this day, the most delicious tostada, a baguette with blueberry jam, goat cheese, arugula and raisins. The best part was the goat cheese was bruleed on top and it was the perfect amount of food to keep us going for our final descent into Santiago. We were so lucky to have such a beautiful and sunny day on our last day of walking because the next day in Santiago it poured with rain. It even got really hot as we came into the city. It was a really difficult day though, by the time we reached the cathedral and then the hotel we had walked a total of 26km.
It was a very funny feeling when we did finally arrive at the cathedral, we felt sort of underwhelmed in a sense. I don’t know what I thought I was supposed to feel after walking 245km but it was definitely an amazing experience. To be honest I think the journey was more important to me than the actual arrival into Santiago de Compostela. My favourite parts of the trip as a whole were the small towns and countrysides we were able to see. Something we probably would have never seen had we not done the Camino. The cities were definitely my least favourite part of the Camino because they were often busy and hard to navigate.
Everyone we met along the way were lovely, especially fellow walkers. However, the people of Portugal were extraordinary. They were always so helpful and excited to see pilgrims pass through their small towns. They were accommodating when we arrived to stay at their hotels, hostels or villas and the food was always amazing. Spain was wonderful too, however, it had a different feel to it than Portugal.
After we arrived at our hotel in Santiago we relaxed and tried to rest up after a long day. As a treat to ourselves we went to an amazing restaurant I had read about called La Flor and had a delicious celebratory dinner after completing the Camino. We started with cocktails followed by an arugula salad, pasta and mixed tostada. Our server thought we were crazy for ordering so much but we surprised him by how hungry we were! Our other celebration was going to Zara earlier in the afternoon because Zara is always so much better in Spain! We bought a couple tops, something nicer to wear after wearing merino layers for 10 days! By the end of the day we were completely exhausted and had an early night, before our last day exploring Santiago de Compostela.