Day 27, Padron to Santiago de Compostela, 25.4 km

28 May 2014

Total distance walked 669.9 km

Average daily distance 24.81 km

After my shower yesterday, it was raining, so I went to the nearest wifi bar to write my post. Such generous complimentary tapas are served with drinks that it is often unnecessary to buy food. Last night was one of those occasions. I first ordered a hot chocolate that arrived with a fairy cake and a biscuit. The two following glasses of wine were served with a Russian salad and a bowl of crisps. By this time my blog was posted and I thought I would try to find somewhere to buy some fruit. But just as I got up to leave a Dutch pilgrim started to chat and I ended up sitting back down and drinking another couple of glasses of wine.

The Xunta albergue in Padron was very comfortable and either no-one snored all night or I was so fast asleep that I didn’t hear – I suspect the former.

When I left this morning I felt great, my feet weren’t hurting at all and I was carried along by a great energy. The walking was very varied and covered every surface that I have experienced throughout this camino.

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The complete side wall of this house was covered in scallop shells, sadly discoloured by years of car and train fumes.

The complete side wall of this house was covered in scallop shells, sadly discoloured by years of car and train fumes.

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When I arrived in Padron yesterday afternoon I noticed a temporary army camp set up by the bridge into the town. So I wasn’t too surprised when after about 8-10 km I saw some guys in fatigues walking ahead of me. However I was exceptionally surprised (read here shocked and alarmed) to note that they were all carrying very serious looking rifles. They were shuffling along so I soon caught up with them. I spoke to one rather good looking young soldier and asked him why he was carrying a gun – he replied that it was his weapon and he had to carry it. I asked if he was expecting any pilgrims to be making trouble, but I’m not sure that my intended humour quite made it across the language divide. I went on to ask how far they had walked and he told me from Tui and on to Santiago, 125 km’s. I retorted that I had walked 650 km’s from Lisbon and that I had much more energy than he had and that he should get a move on, and with that I strode out and left them eating my dust!

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I felt the need to share this very surreal experience and so phoned my daughter Ella, who I knew would understand why I thought it worthy of sharing. I forgot about the time difference and so woke her up at 7:30 am to tell her my tale, but she wasn’t at all put out, and told me that the guys were probably on manoeuvres and had most likely walked without any rest.

As I walked on I saw another group of guys in khakis who were straggling along the road, and I began to think that Ella was probably right on target. I eventually came across a couple of military police and quizzed them about what was going on and it was confirmed that indeed these guys had been walking without rest.

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Another camp was set up further along the camino and they were happy for their photo to be taken. And I came across yet another check point some distance further and stopped to ask more questions. I was told that the various troops had set off yesterday morning at 7:00 am from Tui, and had only two separate hours of rest. Their journey had included swimming, running, climbing and shooting. The first troop had already reached Santiago in record time. Apparently there are troops from all over the world taking part in this military ‘iron man’ event and he was very pleased to tell me that the only troop that had given up enroute were from the United States.

I consequently felt that I was very glad that the soldier I had originally spoken to did not have a bayonet attached to his rifle, because I could imagine where he would have liked to stick it as I jauntily walked ahead of him.

The arrow marking was very good once again throughout the walk, that is, until I reached the outskirts of Santiago at which point they disappeared virtually altogether. I saw two arrows in about three km’s and had to ask passers by a few times if I was heading in the right direction for the cathedral.

As I got closer to the centre of town I suddenly recognised where I was and quickened my pace towards the cathedral. I walked straight to Obradoiro square, where I found the main entrance to the cathedral covered in scaffolding and blocked for entry. I continued to the side entrance not at all sure that I would be allowed in wearing my backpack, but the security man made room for me to squeeze into the packed church and I stood on the steps just inside the door. The midday pilgrims’ mass was just coming to an end and no more than a few minutes after my arrival the botafumeiro began to swing. What an amazing climax to my journey, I was really overcome with emotion and could hardly believe my luck! I was in an excellent position to film the whole event and will upload the video if I can work out how.

The cathedral was full of soldiers and I tried to put my guilty conscience to rest by congratulating as many of them as I could. These guys made my last day even more special than I could have expected. I was told that there will be a special military ceremony tomorrow, and I hope it takes place before I leave.

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After leaving the cathedral I went to the pilgrims’ office to collect my Compostela. The queue extended to the street and it took about 45 minute to reach the front. I also requested the new certificate of distance (charge 3 euros) which was duly filled out and I noticed that the amigo filled in a distance of 575 km. Now I was expecting it to be 615 km, the distance that John Brierly states, whereas in fact I have actually walked 670 km. I told her that the figure she included was totally wrong, but didn’t expect her to be able to do anything about it. But perhaps this should be reassessed by the powers that be.

The standard issue Compostela

The standard issue Compostela

The new distance Compostela - 3 euro charge (and wrong distance stated)

The new distance Compostela – 3 euro charge (and wrong distance stated)

I then went to source accommodation and enquired at the private albergue where I had stayed last year ‘El Ultimo Sello’ (the last stamp). Luckily they had a bed available and I am looking forward to the crisp bed linen provided when I finally fall into a strange bed for the last time for a while. The cost has risen from 15 euros last year to 18 euros this year.

After showering the next most important items on my agenda were a cup of the delicious real hot chocolate quickly followed by a glass of cool white wine and both were drunk with relish.

2014 marks the 800 year anniversary of the Pilgrimage of St. Francis of Assisi to Santiago de Compostela. And because it is a centenary year the cathedral of San Francisco is granting a special certificate in celebration of pilgrims walking the camino de Santiago. So I visited the San Franciscan cathedral and received a very special certificate, making a total of three in one day. Quite a fitting conclusion to a wonderful camino experience.

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The San Franciscan centenary compostela

The San Franciscan centenary compostela


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About magwood

Trepidatious Traveller - camino blog is about preparing for and walking the Camino de Santiago. Many future pilgrims have found the blog useful and inspiring, and many who have no plans to walk the camino have simply enjoyed the dialogue http://www.magwood.me
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57 Responses to Day 27, Padron to Santiago de Compostela, 25.4 km

  1. martinandbethjackson says:

    Thanks again. Most enjoyable blog. Hoping you do another in the not too distant future. Also, i would like to ask about your foot treatments and advice,may i do so in future ? Thanks. Martin

    Like

    • magwood says:

      Hi Martin. Thanks for your comment. As far as I am aware, foot health is all to do with the fit of your boots. Good insoles are key to give you as much cushioning as possible. As much wearing in as possible and on cmino, plenty of moisture after showering. At the nd of the day it is entirely personal – ask ten people and you are likely to get ten different answers.

      Like

  2. David Wolfe says:

    What a magical final day you’ve had. Sleep well and enjoy your morning it should be a very special service if it is for all of the solders that you met today. I will be at the airport to meet you and welcome you home. David xx

    Like

  3. Wow. An fitting and inspiring ending. That’s a long Sunday stroll you’ve managed. I loved reading every day of this journey. You are awesome. Now to some rest. 😉

    Like

  4. christine says:

    Mag, I have really enjoyed following your blog. In July, my friend and I will be following in your footsteps! Thanks for the great tips and positive feedback. We are looking forward it all coming to life for us!

    Like

    • magwood says:

      Thanks Christine. I’m sure you will have a great time, and don’t forget you can break up some of those long stages if you need to.
      Bom caminho!

      Like

  5. Grania Collard says:

    What a brilliant blog…I enjoyed every word…hearty congratulations on completing the Portuguese Camino …our son is half way through the Seville to Santiago route x x Can’t wait to read your next big adventure x x

    Like

    • magwood says:

      Hi Grania, I hope your son is having a fantastic time. I may do the via de la plata next – I may even start from home, here in southern Andalucia!

      Like

  6. Lyn says:

    It has been a joy following your blog Maggie I look forward to your next Camino Best wishes for the future. Lyn

    Like

  7. Stephen says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your journey. You are an inspiration. We were in Santiago last fall (only as tourists) and were very moved when the pilgrims came into the square. We went to the pilgrims mass and were very fortunate to see the botafumeiro swung.

    Like

  8. tinkie53 says:

    It’s been a thrill to follow you day to day on your journey. I’m doing the French way 5/15. And already planning my way via portugal route in 5/16.
    Your truly an inspiration !
    Shirley

    Like

  9. Yes – a very enjoyable blog to follow. I hope you walk again before too long.
    – Clare

    Like

  10. Ann Derrick (OzAnnie ) says:

    Very memorable end to Camino. A military escort almost.
    I will be back to check whether u were able to upload to video of the swinging

    Adios for now
    Annie

    Like

  11. I can not tell you how inspired I am, truly. The blog, photos all wonderful.Hope to see you soon.

    Like

  12. annieh61 says:

    What an achievement, for your fearless walking and this wonderful blog. x

    Like

  13. Kristina Wilkening says:

    I second Gerard’s statement. U r awesome and inspirational! Welcome almost home!

    Like

  14. Janice Tyler says:

    Well done Maggie and such a great blog that I imagine will be very useful to other pilgrims. We look forward to welcoming you home!

    Like

  15. Congratulations on a wonderful journey. And thanks to all your effort on the road you’ll be able to savour it all over again when you’re home, with your feet up, a glass of something cool to hand and your laptop on your knee.

    Like

    • magwood says:

      My memory is awful, which is the reason I started the blog. Fingers and feet can rest for a few days now – apart from raising that cool glass!

      Like

  16. Marianne says:

    What a fitting way to spend your final day on the Camino – escorted by such handsome soldiers (even if they were a little weary).

    Congratulations on completing your journey, Maggie – what an inspirational woman you are! xx

    Like

  17. Michael Smith says:

    Congratulations!! Thanks for the useful information too.

    Like

  18. Renate says:

    I can feel your emotions while you are writing… thanks for sharing! Renate x

    Like

  19. Sue says:

    How I will miss your wonderful blog Maggie. I think you are an inspiration to so many of us. Enjoy the well earned rest now. Hope to see you soon.
    Sue x

    Like

  20. Maggie Gardner says:

    An amazing journey, Maggie you are truly inspirational, well done. Look forward to catching up with you when you have recovered!! x

    Like

  21. Patrish Lyon says:

    Maggie – it’s already been said, but what an inspiration, the blog was excellent to read, had so much useful info for everyone, the photos amazing, your adventures along the way memorable and your humour always there in your blogs. Fantastic, well done, Patrish

    Like

  22. Johanna says:

    I am so glad that I came across your blog. I would like to ask about your photography – it is exceptional. about the walk – you made it sound so easy going, really hope that we will also find it that way. I am in my 70,s, started my preparations with too much enthusiasm and ended up with tendonitis. Hope I can overcome the problem within next fortnight when we are leaving for Porto.
    Tank you again – safe arrival home, Johanna

    Like

    • magwood says:

      Thanks Johanna. I have never suffered (fingers crossed!) with tendinitis. I hope you fully recover. Take something high viz or a flashing cycle lamp to wear on the roads. It’s not necessary to do long stages if you don’t want to. If there is nowhere to stay, just arrange for a taxi to pick you up and drop you back the next day. It is a good system.

      Please ask anything specific about any aspect of the blog or the camino.

      I wish you a fabulous journey.
      Bom caminho!

      Like

  23. LISA says:

    Dear Maggie ,from Denmark where we have been extremely lazy with feet up in each our sofas reading good books, we congratulate you with having achived yet another epic walk. We are just so full of admiration over the completion of the pilgrimage and the energy you had left each day letting all of us follow your extremly well written an humorous blog. Love from Steen and Lisa

    Like

    • magwood says:

      Hi you two. Thanks for your kind comments. It seems that you are having good weather up north? I look forward to catching up when you are back. Xx

      Like

  24. Thank you to share your experience.
    In July I will do the camino with my 13 years old son, by bike. Due to we just have 1week, we will start at Oporto.
    Congratulations for this fantastic blog!

    Like

  25. Yve Weinberg says:

    Hi Maggie,
    thankyou for a fabulous blog! You write so naturally and well, I felt as if I was sitting with you listening to your tales. Great photos too! Next year we (my husband and I) plan to cycle from Lisbon to Santiago de Compostela, so your blog has been an inspiration and a mine of info. Thanks again! Enjoy some rest now.

    Like

    • magwood says:

      Thanks Yve. There were many cyclists on the camino Portuguese. A lot of guys were weekend cyclists but there were plenty cycling the full camino. I have to say, they were all very polite and courteous, unlike many on the French route.
      Bom caminho to you and your husband.

      Like

  26. Wayne Larson says:

    Just a thank you for all your information. My first Portuguese route will start about Aug 14, 2015, Lisbon to SdC and your information was most helpful with my planning. I find that at age 67 I require more planning than I did for the French route which I did 2 years ago, no plan, just showed up and started walking. Happy trails.

    Wayne

    Like

  27. Karen says:

    Baded on your e peridnce, would you recommend starting in Lisbon or Porto or somewhere in between? Thank you!

    Like

    • magwood says:

      Hi Karen, it depends entirely on the time you have available. I really liked the stages from Lisbon to Porto. Some lovely cities to explore and beautiful countryside.

      Like

  28. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about your journey from Porto to Santiago. It has made me both excited and trepidatious…..I sure hope they’ve sorted out the road crossings, but many thanks for the useful information. thank you 🙂 How super to have obtained that very special extra certificate…..a treasured memento no doubt.

    Like

  29. caminojakke says:

    Excellent blog! I have read every sentence as I am preparing to fly from Helsinki to Lisbon for my camino next week. Lots of good ideas and inspiration. Thanks!

    Like

    • magwood says:

      Many thanks for your comment and I am very pleased that you have found the blog useful. Hopefully the current heatwave will have subsided by the time you start your Camino and it will be a great experince for you. Stay safe on the roads – I applied lots of hi-viz tape to my walking poles and backpack after my CP experience, and I do feel a bit more secure that I will be seen more clearly by oncoming traffic.
      Bom Caminho!

      Like

      • caminojakke says:

        Thanks. Makes perfect sense. We have long nights here once Summer is over, so I am used to reflectors. Would not want to go without. Bom caminho!

        Like

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