Day 9 ~ It’s all downhill from here.

No matter how long it takes…if you take one step at a time…you will eventually reach the finish line.
Spain-1040292dmvBerlin stops to chat before we start down the hill.

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The name Santiago goes back to the Apostle James (Saint James = Santiago) who went to this most north-western part of Spain, called by the Romans “Finis Terrae “end of the world,” to preach and convert people to Christianity.

We see Santiago in the distance. So close.

The population of the city in 2012 was 95,671 inhabitants.

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Cars speed down the busy highway as our path blends with the city.

Spain-1040309dmv I think any day the sun shines must be wash day.

Follow the arrow…follow the seashell.

Santiago, Spain is the most popular catholic pilgrimage in the world after Rome, which was founded after the discovery of the remains of the Apostle Santiago also known as Saint James of Compostela in the 9th century.

Santiago, Spain is the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia, in the northwest region of Spain in the Province of A Coruna. ~Wikipedia

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Randy is operating a Lost & Found on the Camino service. He found a nice glove on the trail and is trying to track down its owner. No success so we may be bringing a lone glove home. It would be a shame to throw away a perfectly good glove.

Spain-1040321dmvThis deluxe seashell is pointing to the real deal. Look closely and you can see the cathedral. Whoo-hoo! Excitement mounts as we envision the thrilling crowd ready to welcome us to the end.

Spain-1040324dmvShould we stop and get tattoos? We did keep our minds busy on the long days of walking the Camino by planning our tattoo design. I don’t think I would spend the money, so I’m merely dreamer.  Randy, on the other hand…

Spain-1040330dmvAren‘t you excited that we’ve finally arrived?  We don’t get much reaction from the locals as we stroll into the city center near the cathedral.

Spain-1040332dmvIs this the cathedral?  Nope.

Spain-1040335dmvThis looks like a church.  Could this be it?  Not very large, though. Hmmm…

Spain-1040336dmvThis must be the cathedral, but nobody is here. Where is the welcoming committee?   Where are the crowds of people ready to congratulate us on our feat? Why don’t we hear cheers of weary pilgrims, ecstatic that they’ve reached their final destination.

Blip…. Joan makes contact with the 2 way radio.  Where are you?

We describe our location and decide we must have come in on the back side of the church.  Sure not much action going on back here.

Spain-1040342popdmvThe sun continues to drop behind the steeples as we make our way to the front.

Spain-1040355dmvWe finally make our way to the front and meet up with Joan. We are thrilled that she is here to greet us and will forever appreciate sharing this moment with her. It would have been disappointing to stand there by ourselves and say, “Huh…there it is.”

But where is the rest of the gang?

Spain-1040359Next stop: turn in our stamped Pilgrim passports for our official certificate. On completion of your pilgrimage at Santiago de Compostela you can present your credential at the Pilgrim Office beside the Cathedral. You will then be given your Compostela certificate, the traditional document, in Latin, confirming your completion of the pilgrimage.
It is required that walkers and pilgrims on horseback must have completed at least the last 100km and cyclists the last 200 km in order to qualify for the Compostela.

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…and we STILL follow the yellow arrow. This time we go upstairs to look for the office.

Spain-1040362dmv50Randy uses the elevation map to show the official where we started. Randy has become quite adept at getting his point across with a vocabulary that includes, hola, adios, and vino.

Spain-1040365dmvWe sign in the distance traveled, and that we are from the U.S.A.  for their records.

Spain-1040368dmvThe final stamp.

Spain-1040369dmvThe official Compostela certificate in Latin.  Now we are legit.

Spain-1040363dmvWe put some money into the container and we head back downstairs.
We drag our weary, sweaty bodies to the nicest hotel of the trip and, low and behold, who should we find as we enter?

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We find the rest of the group is in the hotel bar with the Camino Celebration phase in progress. Excuse the noisy image since my flash didn’t fire, but you get the drift.

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Buen Camino!   El fin.

The following link is an interesting video of the Camino de Santiago from France to Finesterre.  The last half covers areas that we walked.

Video of a truly legit Pilgrim

Hmmm…Finnestere.  Maybe we should check that out, too?

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2 thoughts on “Day 9 ~ It’s all downhill from here.

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