All good things must come to an end. There was a slight bit of hesitation as I prepared for the last leg of the journey. Everything just went like a blur. It seemed that it was only yesterday when I started the walk and now it was coming to a close.
The group that slept at the private albergue which was about 500 meters away would be passing at our albergue at 6 am. It was still dark when we stepped outside.
We actually walked for a few meters already along the main road when I recalled from the day before that the yellow sign was actually pointing to the left of the fork towards the wooded area. I told the group and we had to retrace our steps.
Further on we passed by a rather scenic route, one that had a distinct S- shape from ahead. The ground was patched on the sides with brown leaves, the morning sun was giving a soft glow to the foliage. I just felt it was a great moment to capture each one’s shot. I was quite pleased with the shot I got of Ze. I think the photo perfectly captured the joy of the present and the wonderful journey that lay ahead. In fact Ze made it his profile pic a week after our walk.
|One of my favourite shots of the walk|
We stopped by for coffee, our last breakfast together. I cannot recall exactly the details that transpired during our breakfast, but I remember getting a good shot of Kacha while she was enjoying her morning cup.
|Kacha enjoying her morning cup|
The view on the last stretch of the walk was not as lovely as that of the previous days. This is expected as we were headed to an urban area.
A few kilometers before the final stop, Kacha opened up regarding her reason why she made the Camino. How I wish she had opened up a day earlier. It would have been an interesting topic to talk along the walk. Out of respect for her privacy I would leave out the details.
Suffice to say, each person has a different reason why he does the Camino. Some do it for the physical challenge. Others do it for the religious experience. Still others do it as a form of personal meditation, taking the time off to ponder upon personal issues. Perhaps the change of setting can clear out these things. In hindsight I think I did the walk both as a personal challenge and a form of therapy.
I thought it was a bit anticlimactic when reached the Cathedral of the Santiago De Compostela. I was expecting a feeling of jubilation upon entering the gates of the final stop. Like I would be hearing angel voices or perhaps like I would be having goose bumps.
But instead I felt numb. Maybe because the view was not as grandiose as I expected because the church was being renovated. I thought the scaffolding in front was an eyesore. Or maybe I built myself a shield because I didn’t want to feel so much sadness when we have to part ways.
|Congratulatory hugs to everyone|
Upon reaching the square in front of the cathedral we gave each other hugs and shook hands. We got our certificates in no time. We said goodbye to Kacha who was staying at Santiago for 3 more nights. We promised to stay in touch with one another. She gave us a final wave and disappeared among the crowd.
We started heading to the bus station 10 minutes before 2’oclock. We learned the hard way that the bus station was rather quite far from the center. We were hoping to catch the 2 pm bus to Vigo but missed it by a mere minute. Actually Chico hurt his hand in his rush to catch the bus for us. We had to wait in the station for 2 hours for the next trip.
We took the 7 pm bus to Porto from Vigo. If it was any consolation even if we had taken the earlier bus from Santiago we would have left at the same time from Vigo because the 7 pm bus was the only trip to Porto that day.
Ze’s family dropped off at Braga. Ze and I were to continue to Porto but Chico was staying behind.
Chico gave me a salute as his farewell gesture. I would like to remember the last part of my Camino Portugues with this scene.
|Farewell shot of Chico|
I was a bit sad when this scene first flashed before me, but now as I look at the shot again, it made me smile. It reminded me of the bond that was formed among us during our Camino de Santiago. A bond that will stay with us forever.