My Mom, who is one of our avid blog readers, remarked that our pictures never have any other pilgrims in them, “are they on the Camino alone?” Well, I have never been very adept at getting things past my Mom and as she noted, our photos have been carefully curated to give the impression of the lonely pilgrim, struggling in solitude to a distant destination. The reality has always been that we walk with others, although up to now it has been fairly easy to maintain my bubble along a quiet pathway. However, the last 100 km of the Camino has become very crowded. Any pilgrim who “walks” the last 100 km receives a Compostela, an official certificate of completion. Since Sarria, we have noticed many new faces sporting brand new, clean tennis shoes and tiny, new day packs (their real bags are sent ahead each morning by Jacotrans bus). Pilgrim groups have sprung up like mushrooms, marching by us chattering like magpies to the click, click sound of their walking sticks with not even a “buen Camino” as they hurry past two old, dusty pilgrims.
But John and I still get our quiet moments and over a mid-morning cafe con leche we run into Gerhardt, our old Austrian friend from weeks past, and we commiserate together “how it used to be, back on the meseta”.
Tomorrow we reach Santiago, the end of our journey; I wonder how I will feel entering the Praza do Obradoiro?