Hola from The Finish Line – Donna

Published on Behalf of Donna Blackstock – Donna is walking the Camino Frances – a 5 weeks and 800 km journey that attracts over 250,000 participants.

 

Hola,

Thirty one days later I entered the old town of Santiago de Compostela and faced the massive cathedral. As it was a national holiday there were literally hundreds of people in the square celebrating in their own way. Euphoric pilgrims taking selfies and group photos, packed cafes, tourists lined up for the daily mass at noon and everyone pouring over the endless shops and kiosks of Camino souvenirs.

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It was completely overwhelming after so many days of small villages, long walks and life in an albergue. I was very happy to have arrived on schedule and grateful that I was able to bounce back quickly from my foot infection.

I really enjoyed the walking, am delighted with the albergues that I had picked out in advance and the comradery at the evening Pilgrim meals was excellent. The locals were so supportive with buen Camino! Other pilgrims were genuinely interested in the highlights of your journey and where you were from and always willing to share their advice and first aid supplies!

I am currently sitting in the cathedral, getting an early seat for the upcoming mass. It is my hope to see the giant botafumeiro swing above the heads of the many pilgrims. There will be a full house of 1,000 people. This is the grand finale of walking such a distance.

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After the arrival yesterday, I walked across to the Pilgrim Office.

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It was jaw dropping to see the numbers of pilgrims in a line up to receive their certificate of completion, the compostela. After 2 hours when I finally went to the counter I produced my Canadian passport and my pilgrim passport. Each day on the Camino you receive a unique stamp in your pilgrim passport from the albergue. Stamps are also available from many bars, restaurants and churches. These confirm your attendance throughout the length of the Camino.

Today I am also enjoying, the market, a city tour and the many little shops. It has been my pleasure to share a bit of this great adventure with you. Thank you for your emails and good wishes.

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Sincerely,

Donna

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