Camino Portuguese Day 12 – Padrón to Santiago de Compostela – we did it!! Oh My God it hurt like hell, but WE DID IT!
Today was supposed to be around 24km, about a third of it on paths through woodland. What the book failed to note was that the woodland paths would all be paved, and the other 70% of the scenery would be residential zones. It was a long, painfully hard trudge into Santiago.
We commenced just before dawn – about 8.30. First stop was at a coffee shop for caffeination and a sugar boost from a freshly squeezed OJ (add a piece of toast or tea-cake and you have the standard Portuguese or Spanish breakfast). There was little point in starting the day earlier as we could barely see the arrows marking The Way in the dim light of ‘early dawn’.
Our final day on the Camino Portuguese was definitely a trudge. We were desperately looking forward to reaching the Cathedral, and while we made really good time (about 5km/h, which is actually quite fast on the Camino) the day and the Way seemed to drag on forever.
Just before you enter Santiago there’s a well positioned hospital. It was tempting to drop Dave off here as his feet are looking in need of medical treatment. We discovered later that evening that he’s almost lost the toe nail on his right little toe. It has since been taped on to stop it going completely AWOL. One more casualty of the Camino. His big toe is making up for it by sprouting a lump comparable in size to the mass of flesh that is now his little toe.
I managed only one blister, a reasonable one on the base of my toe which was most unpleasant. It is almost elegant by comparison to the monstrosities Dave is harboring.
Dave has been medicating with paracetamol for several days now to help take the edge off. We’ve also found that carrying around any leftover Rioja is handy for helping us to get through particularly trying points throughout the day. Cheers to drugs and alcohol!
It was with immense relief, pride, and a little emotion, that we finally hobbled (seriously, it was hobbling at this point) into Praza do Obradoiro, the main plaza in front of the cathedral, where pilgrims from all directions gather, and finally rest their poor feet. Our friend Laura had arrived about 10 minutes before. We hugged; joyous at having arrived, and consoling each other on how painful the last few kilometers were.
Spotting the pilgrims in Santiago is pretty easy — they’re the ones shuffling about with either one or two badly broken feet. Laura had sprained her Achilles tendon several days before and had been told by the doctor to stay off it for at least 4 days. Our friend Augusto has several nasty blisters and a rather black toe nail. Another new friend, Pam, managed to do her Achilles AND get shin splints. She ended up catching the train into Santiago because she had no other choice.
We finished our evening with some very pleasant local vino and a few plates of deliciousness.
These tired, but, overall happy pilgrims slept very well last night!!
Santiago de Compostela is a beautiful city, and if you ever feel the urge to visit, I highly recommend catching the train. 🙂