Pedrouzo to Santiago (Camino de Santiago)

June 9, 2012 Didn’t sleep very well and began looking at my watch shortly after midnight as I wanted us to be walking as early as possible on this last day of the Camino. I awoke at 4am and laid in bed just gazing into the dark until 5. We got up and I retaped Beck’s feet for the last time and we headed out into the dark past a number of very drunk Spanish youth staggering down the street after the early morning bar closures. We had a difficult time finding the camino signs, but Greg appeared with two other pilgrims and as a group we were able to find the yellow arrow that led from the town down a very dark forest path. All of us had headlamps or flashlights and we stumbled along in almost pitch blackness except for the small lights on our heads. Beck and I were slower than the rest and eventually we lost track of the others. There was one turnoff that confused me and I had to run back to make sure we had turned down the correct path. Beck kept walking ahead while I went back and it took some time for me to catch up with her. I began to worry where she was but soon saw her blue pack moving ahead. After some time we rejoined Greg for the steady climb up to Monte Gozo (Hill of Joy). From Monte Gozo we could see Santiago and the end of the Camino. As we headed down a huge relief overcame me and even though it began to rain my mood was wondrous. Santiago’s outskirts seemed to stretch forever as it took quite some time to finally reach the old city gate and the main square. ¬†We entered the square and stood in front of the massive cathedral of Santiago. I stood there and leaned on my walking staff and took a deep breath. Emotions hit me and I stood in the rain with tears running down my cheeks. Beck reached over and held my hand. We climbed the stone steps, I gave a begging woman some coins and entered the cathedral where we found an empty pew towards the back. We waited for an hour before the noon mass and pilgrims who I had seen and had gotten to know began to arrive. David, a young Spaniard, who had walked from France as well stopped by and said hello. The mass began with a nun who sang praise with a voice that filled the cathedral with beautiful sound. A young woman sitting next to us knelt and cried as she prayed. All around us were the devout. Journal:This trip has been an amazingly emotional ride. I have become overwhelmed and cried so many times: in the small hamlet churches, at the cross of rocks, thinking of family and friends who have died and in front of the cathedral here in Santiago at the end of the walking; tired, cold and finished. I have come closer to my personal God whom I thanked.”