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How Do You End Your Camino

TrvlDad1

Covidyard Bob
Year of past OR future Camino
2017 Frances from Saria
2018 Finnisterre & Ingles
2019 Portuguese from Valenca
2020 Assisi(cancel.)
I just finished Joyce Rupp's book, Walk in A Relaxed Manner, and the last chapter highlighted conflicted feelings I have struggled with each time I have walked into Santiago, i.e., elation, depression, disappointment and anxiety, all at the same time. She talks about how she and her partner dealt with those feelings. I would be interested in hearing if anyone/everyone has such feelings upon completion of their Camino and how you deal with it. I realize this is a very personal subject and possibly not one some like to talk about. But there seems to be a process that reduces it...some of my "completions" have been better than others.
 
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Flogwail

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020
I can no longer count how many times I've arrived in Santiago...I try not to have expectations but usually the same ritual:

I arrive feeling relaxed and familiar, sometimes alone, sometimes with another, usually but not always, down the steps through the arch as I hear the familiar cat being strangled on the bagpipes and into the exact centre of the square, throw my pack on the ground as a pillow and lay with my head propped, facing the cathedral for a few minutes, regardless of and ignoring everything and everyone around me, but at the same time taking it all in. Then I check my phone and see who's in town, it's always a pleasure....
 
Year of past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
I would be interested in hearing if anyone/everyone has such feelings upon completion of their Camino
Anti-climax.
how you deal with it.
Planning the next one, knowing it wasn't my last one. Never will be until I die, an event that hopefully is some 30 years into the future. If, on your walk, you see something similar to a ghost with a backpack, taking a breath while leaning on a wooden staff, somewhere on the Camino, please say hello: It is me you are seeing.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
I always spend a few days somewhere just being a tourist before returning home to "regular life." It helps somewhat with the transition. I can't imagine arriving in Santiago one day and flying home the next.
Me neither. I thoroughly enjoy blending in for a couple of days, eating & drinking well, looking at life, just soaking it all up.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (March 2016)
Camino Portuguese (April/May 2017)
Camino Frances 2021
Camino Frances March 2016 - I arrived in Santiago in the middle of the day after nearly four fantastic weeks - had a flight home three days after. But I cancelled that flight and got a new flight for the next morning - as I was longing to see my two youngest children. When I arrived in Santiago - I was happy and mentally 'on my way home' - and thought I was done with Camino Frances - or any Camino in Spain. Shortly after having arrived home I started dreaming...
 

Tiger 48

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2014 Frances. 2017 to be Norte
I just finished Joyce Rupp's book, Walk in A Relaxed Manner, and the last chapter highlighted conflicted feelings I have struggled with each time I have walked into Santiago, i.e., elation, depression, disappointment and anxiety, all at the same time. She talks about how she and her partner dealt with those feelings. I would be interested in hearing if anyone/everyone has such feelings upon completion of their Camino and how you deal with it. I realize this is a very personal subject and possibly not one some like to talk about. But there seems to be a process that reduces it...some of my "completions" have been better than others.
The Camino never ends. Santiago is the start of a new life, a wonderful new life!
 

GaTeach

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPP to SdC 2017,
Considering same route in 2021 after swearing NEVER AGAIN.
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I had a fb group for my camino. Some of my friends asked one of the guys I met on the camino to please video my Victory March into Santiago. So, he did. He gave me very specific directions. "Come into Santiago at exactly 11 am. Walk slowly like you are in a Hollywood movie. Smile for the camera."

I walked up on this finish line, with a whole crowd of people chanting my name. The video is truly priceless. My fb friends asked me if the finish line is toilet paper. When I asked Brian about it, he said, "I looked for ribbon! I could not find ribbon!"
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
The Camino never ends. Santiago is the start of a new life, a wonderful new life!
You are SO right. I am happy for all who "get" it. And returning for one more fix just reinforces that... :cool:
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Ourense to Santiago (2019), CF: (2014, 2004, 2002, 2001). On to Fisterra, (2002, 4, 14).
The first time I arrived in Santiago my mom was there. She started with me in Roncesvalles then her sedentary life and my ultra-fit self didn’t mesh. I walked. She walked, or bused, or took train from point to point or large town to town where we’d meet up.

We toured Santiago in that white train in plaza. We ate some good food. Had a nice time.

I have taken that white choo-choo train tour every time I am in Santiago. I love it.

Another time I ate several free pilgrim’s meals at Parador with two twenty something Dutch girls and a German priest. We ate our full at least three times. It was late March so there were few pilgrims with whom to compete for vitals.

On caminos after the first one, I’d walk on to Fisterra. Next time I will take fork in road to Dumbria to Muxia then walk to Fisterra from there.

November, 2019 I stayed with @SYates a few nights. She’s a wonderful host. I read Johnniewalker Santiago’s book while sitting with her in living room. A cozy, quiet and pleasant time. I didn’t walk to Fisterra that year. Neither did I walk much of the last 100kms from Ourense to Santiago.

I always attend pilgrim’s mass and have seen the Botafumeiro swing each time except 2019 due to reconstruction.

When I started in Roncesvalles August 2001, never in a million years did I think pilgrimage would become such an integral part of my life.

Odd that.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2022
.... conflicted feelings I have struggled with each time I have walked into Santiago, i.e., elation, depression, disappointment and anxiety, all at the same time.
Over the last couple of days as I neared Santiago I found myself walking slower and slower, not wanting it to end. This was a major turnaround as previously I had been driven to finish it, ignoring almost everything else. This was part of a promise to myself.

As I walked across the bridge and into the city I started seeing more and more pilgrims including some large groups that were singing as they walked and I started to absorb their enthusiasm and energy.

Then I heard the piper ahead of me and guessed what it foretold.

As I walked through the arch and out into the sunshine and people in the square I realised that I had arrived and I did my loudest "Yeehah!" Startling a number of people in front of me but also gaining nods and nudges of agreement from others.

I walked into the centre of the square to mingle but didn't stay long as it was a super hot July day and went in search of a seat in the shade on the periphery of the square. Eventually finding one, I sat there for perhaps 30 minutes just absorbing it all.

Then I headed off in search of the Pilgrims Office and the feelings that I had, started to ebb as the minutiae of daily needs pushed back into my thoughts. I had to find a bed for the night, collect some luggage from the post office and find Sybille to thank her for helping me earlier in my Camino.

I allowed my conflicted feelings to just, slowly, drain away over the next couple of days as I explored Santiago and organised my return to Madrid to catch my flight home.

Originally I had planned to have a couple of weeks after my Camino to readjust but those two weeks were used up during my Camino with recuperating from an illness and so I had little choice but to realine myself with stuff associated with my life in NZ and to get on with doing what needed to be done.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
I always have very mixed feelings arriving in SdC.

The joy of visiting the cathedral, being in that wonderful place again, a feeling of having 'made it' once more.

But then sadness too. My simple life 'on the road' is over.
And soon I'll be back in the life I don't enjoy that much.

As I'm on my own, and anyone that I made friends with along the way, has usually finished well ahead of me, I have a deep sense of loneliness too. Particularly as the groups gather in the main square and 'celebrate' their achievements. I feel joy for them though of course.

So I don't hang around in SdC long.

On my first Camino, I had planned to walk on to the Coast, but couldn't due to injury.
But I took the bus to Muxia and back.
That was the best thing I did.

Sitting on the rocks looking out over the ocean, my journey felt complete.

I make the most of the Camino journey itself. Because I know that at some point it will end.
And as I get closer to Santiago, the distance seems to count down too fast, rather like 'ground rush' as you come into land under a parachute.

So I slow down..........to relish those final days, to savour every moment.

For all too soon, it's over.

Until next time ;)
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
I always spend a few days somewhere just being a tourist before returning home to "regular life." It helps somewhat with the transition. I can't imagine arriving in Santiago one day and flying home the next.

That would be very hard I think.
I stop off in Bangkok on the way home for a few days to chill with Pat and her family, before we both head back to Sydney.
 

TrvlDad1

Covidyard Bob
Year of past OR future Camino
2017 Frances from Saria
2018 Finnisterre & Ingles
2019 Portuguese from Valenca
2020 Assisi(cancel.)
I always have very mixed feelings arriving in SdC.

The joy of visiting the cathedral, being in that wonderful place again, a feeling of having 'made it' once more.

But then sadness too. My simple life 'on the road' is over.
And soon I'll be back in the life I don't enjoy that much.

As I'm on my own, and anyone that I made friends with along the way, has usually finished well ahead of me, I have a deep sense of loneliness too. Particularly as the groups gather in the main square and 'celebrate' their achievements. I feel joy for them though of course.

So I don't hang around in SdC long.

On my first Camino, I had planned to walk on to the Coast, but couldn't due to injury.
But I took the bus to Muxia and back.
That was the best thing I did.

Sitting on the rocks looking out over the ocean, my journey felt complete.

I make the most of the Camino journey itself. Because I know that at some point it will end.
And as I get closer to Santiago, the distance seems to count down too fast, rather like 'ground rush' as you come into land under a parachute.

So I slow down..........to relish those final days, to savour every moment.

For all too soon, it's over.

Until next time ;)
This captures it well. I have sat for hours in the Cathedral square watching the pilgrims arrive, have attended the pilgrim's mass (although not RC), and have decompressed for a few days before heading home. It all helps, and I usually arrive home invigrtated and can't wait to plan the next one...2020 was hard, I planned at least six different routes.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
I always make sure to collect my credential for my next camino when I get my final stamp and compostela.

I also start a countdown in the final week. ‘I have only x more days of this, so savour it.’ So perhaps the shock of being done is not quite the shock.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Each experience is different. But I do try and get some extra rest before returning home.

Joyce and her partner had unresolved issues when they walked their camino. So at the end they had some feelings to work through. I have met her and heard her speak. She is a thoughtful and insightful person, and as many of you know, she is a prolific writer. I have great respect for her. Nevertheless, I would not like to walk a camino with someone that I did not feel free enough with to be able to address issues as they happened. It makes for a much better camino if you are able to clear the air when an issue arises or shortly therafter. Then you hopefully won’t carry that baggage into SdC.
 
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mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Ten times from 2004 through 2014 I have arrived at Santiago de Compostela after 7 weeks walking the long Camino from Saint Jean Pied de Port. Here are some memories of those special days.

Each arrival was filled with mixed emotions, of euphoria and exhaustion. After hiking at least 5 hours daily for over 50 days while always carrying a fully loaded backpack, I was sincerely thankful that I made it!! I had relearned which qualities are most important - caritas, sincerity, tenacity, endurance and, of course, enjoying serendipity.

My heart beat faster as I hurried along the narrow pedestrian lanes. And there it was! The cathedral! At last! Overcome with emotion I put my hand on the stone weeping with thanks. Suddenly the giant bells began to ring; the sound was majestic.

I did not enter then, but searched for the office of the Dean of the Cathedral. The assistant reviewed my Credencial with all its varied stamps representing each day’s stop on my journey, marked it with one final stamp, and issued the treasured Compostela which stated in Latin that I had devotedly completed the pilgrimage. Again I cried....

After entering the cathedral through the great western portal slowly I walked down the dim barrel-vaulted nave towards the altar. In the central niche was the famous statue of Santiago dressed as a pilgrim, gilded and inlaid with precious gems. Above this he is depicted as Matamoras, the Moor-slayer. Beneath the altar in the crypt his relics are enshrined in a splendid silver coffer. Turning I saw the congregation assembling for evening mass. Other pilgrims whom I had met along the Camino were present; we nodded, silently smiled and gestured a euphoric thumbs up, not wanting to break the sacred silence. After mass I sat alone in the cathedral for a long time.

Next day the great bells tolled for the main pilgrims’ mass at noon. There might be many pilgrims or just a few depending on the season and the year. ...In 2004, 2010 and 2011 the cathedral was densely crowded; the service most impressive concluding in a great cloud of fragrant smoke from the botafumeiro, a giant silver censer. Eight churchmen swung it in front of the altar; on a long rope sailing back and forth across the transept it nearly touched the ceiling!...But other years during Lent this was a simple ceremony. Perhaps 15 pilgrims attended; we all sat close to the new altar. In the nave were a few other worshipers. A solitary nun sang the service; her voice rose pure and clear. The places from which we had begun our walks were read. Since this was Lent it was an 'austere' service without any choir or swinging of the famous botafumeiro.

...Whenever one arrives, whatever one believes, however one sees this world, it is impossible not to be touched and moved in this city and at this sacred place. ...All was timeless and perfect; may it always be so.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Walked in "2016," "2018"
Ten times from 2004 through 2014 I have arrived at Santiago de Compostela after 7 weeks walking the long Camino from Saint Jean Pied de Port. Here are some memories of those special days.

Each arrival was filled with mixed emotions, of euphoria and exhaustion. After hiking at least 5 hours daily for over 50 days while always carrying a fully loaded backpack, I was sincerely thankful that I made it!! I had relearned which qualities are most important - caritas, sincerity, tenacity, endurance and, of course, enjoying serendipity.

My heart beat faster as I hurried along the narrow pedestrian lanes. And there it was! The cathedral! At last! Overcome with emotion I put my hand on the stone weeping with thanks. Suddenly the giant bells began to ring; the sound was majestic.

I did not enter then, but searched for the office of the Dean of the Cathedral. The assistant reviewed my Credencial with all its varied stamps representing each day’s stop on my journey, marked it with one final stamp, and issued the treasured Compostela which stated in Latin that I had devotedly completed the pilgrimage. Again I cried....

After entering the cathedral through the great western portal slowly I walked down the dim barrel-vaulted nave towards the altar. In the central niche was the famous statue of Santiago dressed as a pilgrim, gilded and inlaid with precious gems. Above this he is depicted as Matamoras, the Moor-slayer. Beneath the altar in the crypt his relics are enshrined in a splendid silver coffer. Turning I saw the congregation assembling for evening mass. Other pilgrims whom I had met along the Camino were present; we nodded, silently smiled and gestured a euphoric thumbs up, not wanting to break the sacred silence. After mass I sat alone in the cathedral for a long time.

Next day the great bells tolled for the main pilgrims’ mass at noon. There might be many pilgrims or just a few depending on the season and the year. ...In 2004, 2010 and 2011 the cathedral was densely crowded; the service most impressive concluding in a great cloud of fragrant smoke from the botafumeiro, a giant silver censer. Eight churchmen swung it in front of the altar; on a long rope sailing back and forth across the transept it nearly touched the ceiling!...But other years during Lent this was a simple ceremony. Perhaps 15 pilgrims attended; we all sat close to the new altar. In the nave were a few other worshipers. A solitary nun sang the service; her voice rose pure and clear. The places from which we had begun our walks were read. Since this was Lent it was an 'austere' service without any choir or swinging of the famous botafumeiro.

...Whenever one arrives, whatever one believes, however one sees this world, it is impossible not to be touched and moved in this city and at this sacred place. ...All was timeless and perfect; may it always be so.
Very evocative Mspath.

That the Cathedral should be using St. James as a symbol of Matamoros or Moor slayer is very surprising. I presume it grew out of a legend the saint helped a 9th-century Spanish king massacre 60,000 Moors in a battle. Should this imaginary association of James have any place in a church though?
 
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Meggins

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances - One complete St.J.P.P to Santiago plus twice more for 500km each time.
I always start to feel a reluctance to finish as I reach Melide Usually spend a week in UK or as many days as I have left before my return flight to Canada. Often a day or two in Bristol & Cardiff my favorites and just poking around returning to loved places aids in absorbing my Camino experience and coming down from Euphoria to normalcy.
Something I would not advise if you are completing your Camino is to do this as I did. Walked first third with a friend who invited me along. She only had 3 weeks and when she went back the next year I was hiking in Tuscany with friends. Went back the next year and did the last section with her leaving me me with the middle still to do. So I duly set off the next year to complete my Camino in Ponferrada. I came out at the Castle and there was not even someone to take my photo. I started to feel immensely sad - all of my Camino pals were heading on without me! As I started the bus trip to Santiago I could see Pilgrims where the path goes alongside the road and saw my pals - brought me to tears. When I arrived in Santiago it poured with rain - The Gods are crying for me I thought!
 
Year of past OR future Camino
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese
(2019) VdP Seville to Salamanca
(2020) VdP Salamanca to Santiago
First thing I do, is sit down at the outside bar near the Correos and toast the other pilgrims walking in. It's just great to watch others enjoying themselves and forgetting about what hurts or hurted. Then I try to just do a little of nothing for a few days in Santiago. I have arrived multiple times and each time it is both the same and different. It sounds corny, but I just like to walk around the old town after dinner and talk with the ghosts of the past (both mine and others).
 

evanlow

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances06
Primitivo07
Plata08
Norte12
Levante(14-15)
Vasco16
Mozarabe(16-17)
Madrid17
Portuguese18
This may sound trival but me it started from my very first camino...
After arriving in Santiago, got a hostal to stay, freshening up in the bathroom and saw myself in the mirror and realized that I am no longer a pilgrim but a tourist. Somehow this causes a switch in the my thinking and since that first camino I mentally anticipate (sometimes plan) for the moment of the switch.
For my caminos that doesn't end in Santiago, it could be as simple as having beer after arriving in Merida (Camino Mozarabe) or Santo Domingo de la Calzada (Camino del Interior from Irun) where I told myself I need to eat Pollo Asado (after visiting the Chicken Church) and made a toast with my walking buddy after the chicken meal to mark the end of that Camino and transition from pilgrim to tourist.
 

TrvlDad1

Covidyard Bob
Year of past OR future Camino
2017 Frances from Saria
2018 Finnisterre & Ingles
2019 Portuguese from Valenca
2020 Assisi(cancel.)
I always start to feel a reluctance to finish as I reach Melide Usually spend a week in UK or as many days as I have left before my return flight to Canada. Often a day or two in Bristol & Cardiff my favorites and just poking around returning to loved places aids in absorbing my Camino experience and coming down from Euphoria to normalcy.
Something I would not advise if you are completing your Camino is to do this as I did. Walked first third with a friend who invited me along. She only had 3 weeks and when she went back the next year I was hiking in Tuscany with friends. Went back the next year and did the last section with her leaving me me with the middle still to do. So I duly set off the next year to complete my Camino in Ponferrada. I came out at the Castle and there was not even someone to take my photo. I started to feel immensely sad - all of my Camino pals were heading on without me! As I started the bus trip to Santiago I could see Pilgrims where the path goes alongside the road and saw my pals - brought me to tears. When I arrived in Santiago it poured with rain - The Gods are crying for me I thought!
I have to say that my least satisfying Camino was when I took two friends who saw a presentation I made and asked to go. Dear friends at home do not pilgrims make. I prefer the solitude of going alone and meeting people who are there for similar purpose.
 
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Ernesto.IT

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
I just finished Joyce Rupp's book, Walk in A Relaxed Manner, and the last chapter highlighted conflicted feelings I have struggled with each time I have walked into Santiago, i.e., elation, depression, disappointment and anxiety, all at the same time. She talks about how she and her partner dealt with those feelings. I would be interested in hearing if anyone/everyone has such feelings upon completion of their Camino and how you deal with it. I realize this is a very personal subject and possibly not one some like to talk about. But there seems to be a process that reduces it...some of my "completions" have been better than others.
When I arrive in Santiago, the next day, I always leave for Fisterra and end up in Muxia and there if I have some days left I spend them relaxing in the calm of the village ready to return to Santiago for my flight, with a light heart at the thought of having accomplished my pilgrimage. :)
 

jsalt

Jill
Year of past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
How you end your camino is the same as how you walked it. If you walked alone you will end alone.

However, if you found yourself as part of the infamous “camino family” as you walked, then, yes, you will find yourself celebrating in Santiago with your “camino family”.

I’ve done both and both are good. I appreciated them both and acknowledged them both.

Every camino is different and every camino ends differently.

How you end your camino is who you know not what you know.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
However, if you found yourself as part of the infamous “camino family” as you walked, then, yes, you will find yourself celebrating in Santiago with your “camino family”.

I've never been part of an "infamous" Camino family. :eek:

 
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Roland49

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
I would be interested in hearing if anyone/everyone has such feelings upon completion of their Camino and how you deal with it.
Very mixed emotions for me.

Happy to get to SdC w/o any severe blisters or other injuries and very grateful for the people I met on my way. It was a rainy summer midday, almost all incoming pilgrims standing under the arcades of the townhall watching, chatting, laughing.
Sad that this voyage did come to an end. Thinking of my beloved ones at home, starting to think about another Camino. Getting worried about the place to stay.

If there was no CoVID19 I would walk the CP from Porto on the easter-break this year. Postponed to the fall.

BC
Roland
 
Year of past OR future Camino
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
I have traversed the Frances twice - biked & walked, but as I never walked to Finisterre and Muxia I do not feel I have actually "finished". Hopefully I can walk from Porto next year and then "on to the Atlantic" and truly finish my Camino. Thanks for raising this question.
 
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Chenahusky

Happy Pilgrim
Year of past OR future Camino
CFSJPP to SDC 2016
CIng x 2 2018
CPort. Tui May 2019
CF Ponf. June 2019
Happy and relaxed, sitting with a drink in Praza De Cervantes watching the pilgrims go by, and then lunch at Casa Felisa, thinking of my first visit in 1964.
When I did the Portugues with my partner, in 2019, it was different, as for the first time for her, there were tears, she didn't want to enter Obradoiro Square, as it would then be over.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
For me, it is always an anti-climax, and a series of chores. There are the focus in Santiago chores, beginning with my arrival, when I generally check in at San Martin Pinario, dump my gear in my room, shower and change out of clothes which are redolent of a very long walk, maybe hand-wash a few things. Generally, I will arrange later, at Pilgrim House, to bring them there for a thorough wash. I will decide when to sign in at the Pilgrim Office, getting my compostela, and maybe a Distance Certificate, if my walk was over 1,000 kms. When I am organised, I will walk over to the Cathedral for a quiet time of prayer for those whose needs and prayers I am carrying to Santiago. I might or might not attend the pilgrim mass, but I will choose to attend a worship service somewhere. I once bought a copy of the Codex Calixtinus in the bookstore in San Martin Pinario, and I had to buy a belt to keep my skirt up when I arrived in Santiago after my first camino. That's it for souvenirs.
Then there are the focus on going home chores: I will have a return air ticket home and a booking for a room for the night near the airport, but not booked transportation from Santiago to the town whose airport I am flying out of (usually Madrid). So there's that to do and arranging to get to the train or bus depot on time. Travel to the airport and home to Canada is generally long and tedious. I will be very glad to climb onto the bus from the airport in Calgary, knowing that I shall be home in an hour or so, to dump my pack and clothes in the bathtub and sort them out enough to be able to forget about bedbugs and go to sleep.
 

Isca-camigo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Various ones.
I have felt ending my Camino feels differently every time, my first one was the time that stands out most, for about 2 days prior I had been feeling a little sad that it was coming to an end, then as I entered the city limits of SDC it had occurred to me what I had just done, in that moment it felt I was completely overwhelmed by elation, which I took all the way into the square. I had some photos taken and plans made with people who I 'bumped' into again by 'chance' then I went and just laid next to the cathedral on a ledge for an hour with my eyes shut, I listened to all the joyous and happy people around me and also the bagpipes, it occurred to me in that moment that the whole Camino on disembarking the boat at Santander for me had a strong Celtic feel to it which I hadn't consciously thought about or focussed until I had heard the haunting bagpipes echoing around the square. All the other other times I have arrived have had their own feel and flavors. I had not blubbed on any of them usually because I am quite happy to be there and also happy to be meeting people by 'chance' again. But for some reason when I was at the RENFE station going to Madrid after my last camino (no9) I just couldn't stop crying, and felt the same all the way to Madrid, I just put my coat over my head and hid myself away. Crazy things are Caminos.
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
I just finished Joyce Rupp's book, Walk in A Relaxed Manner, and the last chapter highlighted conflicted feelings I have struggled with each time I have walked into Santiago, i.e., elation, depression, disappointment and anxiety, all at the same time. She talks about how she and her partner dealt with those feelings. I would be interested in hearing if anyone/everyone has such feelings upon completion of their Camino and how you deal with it. I realize this is a very personal subject and possibly not one some like to talk about. But there seems to be a process that reduces it...some of my "completions" have been better than others.
When I arrived in Santiago in 1989 it was with an unmixed feeling of elation and completion. It was everything I had hoped for. When I put my hand on the central pillar in the Portico of Glory, I felt a deep sense of connection with the millions of pilgrims who had gone there before me and a unity with them.

When I arrived in Santiago in 2016 with my son, the feeling was somewhat different. I wasn't quite ready for the Camino to be over - and it wasn't, so I didn't have that same sense of completion. We knew entering Santiago that we would be walking on to Finisterre. On this trip, Santiago felt a little anticlimactic. The botafumiero didn't swing. My son was complaining about the tourists who weren't leaving room in the pilgrim's mass for the pilgrims who had walked so far, It felt like just another stop on the pilgrimage. We didn't really feel that sense of completion until sunset by the lighthouse at Finisterre. By that point, we weren't too sad. We felt ready for a rest.

When I arrived in Santiago in 2018 after walking from Porto my feeling was "Already? I'm just getting started!" There was a sense that the Camino was over at that point, that I had completed what I started. But there wasn't that profound sense of completion and unity with the pilgrim tradition that I had felt in 1989 or the huge sense of accomplishment that I felt in 2016 with my son. It was enjoyable and pleasurable and I relished the experience but it wasn't epic.

I've never struggled with depression, disappointment, and anxiety when arriving in Santiago. Partly, I think, because I never was unhappy with what I was returning to when the Camino was over. Partly, because I was always confident that it would be there for me whenever I wanted to return. And partly, perhaps, because I never formed the deep bonds with a Camino family that I needed to say goodbye to in Santiago to bring me down with the departures.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
When I arrived in Santiago in 2018 after walking from Porto my feeling was "Already? I'm just getting started!" There was a sense that the Camino was over at that point, that I had completed what I started. But there wasn't that profound sense of completion and unity with the pilgrim tradition that I had felt in 1989 or the huge sense of accomplishment that I felt in 2016 with my son. It was enjoyable and pleasurable and I relished the experience but it wasn't epic.
I had it exactly similar after 14 days on the CP. IMHO, it is to short to get into "Zen mode" of just living in "the now" on the Camino. That's how it is for me, atleast; I need a full month (minimum) to get released from the everyday life.

IMHO, the CF is the perfect distance for achieving that goal; but VdlP also does a good job of it. That was a great camino. ;) Maybe I should take on the Levante one good day?

Edit: And neither I nor my feet were enjoying all that cobblestone walking on the CP. Painful at times...
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
I had it exactly similar after 14 days on the CP. IMHO, it is to short to get into "Zen mode" of just living in "the now" of the Camino. That's how it is for me, atleast; I need a full month (minimum) to get released from the everyday life.

IMHO, the CF is the perfect distance for achieving that goal; but VdlP also does a good job of it. That was a great camino. ;) Maybe I should take on the Levante one good day?
responding to:
When I arrived in Santiago in 2018 after walking from Porto my feeling was "Already? I'm just getting started!" There was a sense that the Camino was over at that point, that I had completed what I started. But there wasn't that profound sense of completion and unity with the pilgrim tradition that I had felt in 1989 or the huge sense of accomplishment that I felt in 2016 with my son. It was enjoyable and pleasurable and I relished the experience but it wasn't epic.

I was able to get into "Zen mode". I find that the more you do it, the easier it is to drop into. It just wasn't an epic journey.

I wonder if it would be different had I done the CP from Porto first. Never having done something like it, perhaps walking the 200+ km would have seemed epic. Then afterward the CF would have been even more epic. But as it was, even though I was trying not to, I ended up comparing it to the longer Camino.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
I was able to get into "Zen mode". I find that the more you do it, the easier it is to drop into. It just wasn't an epic journey.

I wonder if it would be different had I done the CP from Porto first. Never having done something like it, perhaps walking the 200+ km would have seemed epic. Then afterward the CF would have been even more epic. But as it was, even though I was trying not to, I ended up comparing it to the longer Camino.
Very good point. I would think exactly likewise.
 

Calisteve

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
June 16 CF
July 17 CF with my son
July 18 CP with my wife
July 19 Ingles Muxia & Finisterre
Camino Frances March 2016 - I arrived in Santiago in the middle of the day after nearly four fantastic weeks - had a flight home three days after. But I cancelled that flight and got a new flight for the next morning - as I was longing to see my two youngest children. When I arrived in Santiago - I was happy and mentally 'on my way home' - and thought I was done with Camino Frances - or any Camino in Spain. Shortly after having arrived home I started dreaming...
Ditto 're 'thought I was done with Camino Frances - or any Camino in Spain.' Then several months later..the 'it wasn't that bad' popped into my head. Which led to ' maybe I could do it again'....which rapidly led to 'let's do it again". It's an addiction.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Ditto 're 'thought I was done with Camino Frances - or any Camino in Spain.' Then several months later..the 'it wasn't that bad' popped into my head. Which led to ' maybe I could do it again'....which rapidly led to 'let's do it again". It's an addiction.
Welcome to the Peregrinos Anonymous club... ;)
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
When I arrived in Santiago in 2018 after walking from Porto my feeling was "Already? I'm just getting started!"

I had it exactly similar after 14 days on the CP. IMHO, it is to short to get into "Zen mode" of just living in "the now" on the Camino. That's how it is for me, atleast; I need a full month (minimum) to get released from the everyday life.

I feel like I'm just entering zen mode after about 10 days. The first week is excitement, then you settle into being "one with the Camino."

While I prefer a long (at least a month) Camino, a short Camino is better than no Camino!
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
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Year of past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Isn't there someone on the forum who has recreations of sellos as tattoos?
I have serious plans. A scallop. Have had plans for many years. Next time. There WILL be a next time. Or rather, many.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
There is a lot of poetry and emotion in these entries. For this reason I hesitated in offering my humdrum Camino finish which is to hit the cheese shops and stock away 60 or 70 euro of good Galician cheese, such as cannot be found in Canada. And, of course, a few bottles of orujo blanco being sold in old soft drink bottles at the mercado.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Very evocative Mspath.

That the Cathedral should be using St. James as a symbol of Matamoros or Moor slayer is very surprising. I presume it grew out of a legend the saint helped a 9th-century Spanish king massacre 60,000 Moors in a battle. Should this imaginary association of James have any place in a church though?
I think it is a pretty well-known fact that Santiago’s image throughout Spain is two-fold — either as a pilgrim or as the moor-slayer. Obviously, we can’t have a forum about the pilgrimage to Santiago without making mention of facts like these, but I hope members can understand that delving into the ”why?” or “is this a good idea?” questions will take us straight down into the prohibited religion rabbithole. As others have noticed on different threads, some statues of Santiago Matamoros (including one inside the Santiago cathedral) have camoflauged the bloody scenes on the ground with flowers and leave Santiago on his horse attacking the floral display below. But beyond that, “affiant sayeth naught.” It just gets too contentious too quickly.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Very evocative Mspath.

That the Cathedral should be using St. James as a symbol of Matamoros or Moor slayer is very surprising. I presume it grew out of a legend the saint helped a 9th-century Spanish king massacre 60,000 Moors in a battle. Should this imaginary association of James have any place in a church though?
This is why I dislike the cross of Santiago. I wouldn't wear anything with this cross on it, and I don't put it in the tartas de Santiago that I make.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
A quick aside...

However, if you found yourself as part of the infamous “camino family” as you walked, then, yes, you will find yourself celebrating in Santiago with your “camino family”.

On one of my caminos, I frequently encountered a group of people who had established a camino family. I watched their evolution as the weeks passed, (and their ever so loud and joyful monopoly of albergue space and resources), and then watched as they fell into recriminations and bad feelings after they arrived in Santiago where those who had been more generous became aware of, and resentful, of those who had been ‘freeloading’ along the way. It wasn’t pretty.
 

Flogwail

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020
A quick aside...



On one of my caminos, I frequently encountered a group of people who had established a camino family. I watched their evolution as the weeks passed, (and their ever so loud and joyful monopoly of albergue space and resources), and then watched as they fell into recriminations and bad feelings after they arrived in Santiago where those who had been more generous became aware of, and resentful, of those who had been ‘freeloading’ along the way. It wasn’t pretty.
I've witnessed such evolution of behaviour too, many times but not just on caminos. I think it's just part of the human condition: what starts out as a shared comraderie can often descend into resentment, jealousy and petty mindedness when some feel they are taking up the slack for others, and of course changing group dynamics. It takes a pretty special and unique group of folk to rise and stay raised above it. For what it's worth, I think forced situations bring out the best and the worst in us.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Walked in "2016," "2018"
I think it is a pretty well-known fact that Santiago’s image throughout Spain is two-fold — either as a pilgrim or as the moor-slayer. Obviously, we can’t have a forum about the pilgrimage to Santiago without making mention of facts like these, but I hope members can understand that delving into the ”why?” or “is this a good idea?” questions will take us straight down into the prohibited religion rabbithole. As others have noticed on different threads, some statues of Santiago Matamoros (including one inside the Santiago cathedral) have camoflauged the bloody scenes on the ground with flowers and leave Santiago on his horse attacking the floral display below. But beyond that, “affiant sayeth naught.” It just gets too contentious too quickly.
Very practical observation. Yes history (including modern day) is strewn with examples of the toxic mix of religion and politics & its consequences.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2016), Norte (2017), Portuges (2018), Mozarabe (2019), Primitivo (2019), Via de La Plata (2
I just finished Joyce Rupp's book, Walk in A Relaxed Manner, and the last chapter highlighted conflicted feelings I have struggled with each time I have walked into Santiago, i.e., elation, depression, disappointment and anxiety, all at the same time. She talks about how she and her partner dealt with those feelings. I would be interested in hearing if anyone/everyone has such feelings upon completion of their Camino and how you deal with it. I realize this is a very personal subject and possibly not one some like to talk about. But there seems to be a process that reduces it...some of my "completions" have been better than others.
Arriving in Santiago for me has always felt like an end....an end without guilt or feelings of dissatisfaction. I have always felt that I can take all of my experiences aside and place them in a special mental place to be mulled over later. When I have found problems is where I have only done a segment of a Camino, usually when I dropped in to accompany a friend who was doing a whole Camino to help him. I did the Frances between Pamplona and Burgos and then the Norte between San Sebastian and Bilbao and each time the morning that I was leaving was very difficult. A desire to go home to my wife and loved ones, guilt about leaving my friend, guilt about not finishing the Camino and feeling like a fraud whilst acknowledging the innumerable "Buen Caminos" I received on the way.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
@Robi Diaz De Vivar
If you went to help a friend having difficulties on camino, you gave that person a wonderful gift, the ability to go on with your help when it might have been impossible alone. I can see why you could end your time on that camino with a feeling of incompletion and frustration. At the same time, it was a wonderful gift, and perhaps the more so in that you could not enjoy the satisfaction of finishing. Thank you, from me and from all pilgrims who may sometime need help from someone to go on with a pilgrimage.
 

Mycroft

Active Member
I had it exactly similar after 14 days on the CP. IMHO, it is to short to get into "Zen mode" of just living in "the now" on the Camino. That's how it is for me, atleast; I need a full month (minimum) to get released from the everyday life.

IMHO, the CF is the perfect distance for achieving that goal; but VdlP also does a good job of it. That was a great camino. ;) Maybe I should take on the Levante one good day?

Edit: And neither I nor my feet were enjoying all that cobblestone walking on the CP. Painful at times...
I still cannot even look at the word cobblestone after being on the CP without a feeling of dread!:eek:
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I still cannot even look at the word cobblestone after being on the CP without a feeling of dread!:eek:
I know! I was so happy to cross that bridge into Spain. Though there were a few times where there would be a short stretch of cobblestones, and the dread would return. 😜
 
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Mycroft

Active Member
I just finished Joyce Rupp's book, Walk in A Relaxed Manner, and the last chapter highlighted conflicted feelings I have struggled with each time I have walked into Santiago, i.e., elation, depression, disappointment and anxiety, all at the same time. She talks about how she and her partner dealt with those feelings. I would be interested in hearing if anyone/everyone has such feelings upon completion of their Camino and how you deal with it. I realize this is a very personal subject and possibly not one some like to talk about. But there seems to be a process that reduces it...some of my "completions" have been better than others.
I suppose it would vary for me--if someone I love has died the year prior to walking, or if I was walking for 'me,' or whatever--how I deal with feelings when I complete a pilgrimage. In general, coming into the plaza is another milestone, like the ones I passed by all along the route the previous weeks.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Arriving in Santiago for me has always felt like an end....an end without guilt or feelings of dissatisfaction. I have always felt that I can take all of my experiences aside and place them in a special mental place to be mulled over later. When I have found problems is where I have only done a segment of a Camino, usually when I dropped in to accompany a friend who was doing a whole Camino to help him. I did the Frances between Pamplona and Burgos and then the Norte between San Sebastian and Bilbao and each time the morning that I was leaving was very difficult. A desire to go home to my wife and loved ones, guilt about leaving my friend, guilt about not finishing the Camino and feeling like a fraud whilst acknowledging the innumerable "Buen Caminos" I received on the way.
I had never thought of those of you who do partial Caminos due to work commitments, family issues, or living on the "right" side of the pond as possibly having different thoughts than we who come from farther away who walk for longer stretches of time. I don't recall your feelings being addressed on the forum before. You should never feel guilty and you are definitely not a fraud! I hope you can release your negative thoughts and embrace the "buen caminos"...you are entitled as much as any other pilgrim/walker.
Buen future "partial" Camino!
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Please, I know everyone is feeling a bit Covid confined, but let's try and keep the thread on track. It is about how we feel on completing our Camino, not piercing, or cobblestones!

Every one of my Camino "endings" has been different, but always, at the back of my mind, is the knowledge that I have walked in order to arrive in Santiago, to worship at the shrine of the Apostle. So, not always on the first day, but soon after, I must visit the Cathedral, line up to give the Saint a hug, and go down into the crypt to say prayers.

I don't think that everyone has to have that religious feeling, but I do think that some kind of ritual is important, to have a feeling of completion, and to feel celebratory and not disjointed. With one friend, it is the joy of visiting her favourite Santiago dress shop and buying new clothes! With another, it is always a meal at Manolos, and watching the botafumeiro swing.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
Every Camino was different, you can’t compare the first to any other (imo). But every time, I go the Cathedral and straight downstairs to say thanks to Saint James and reflect.
Now I just walk on to Finisterre or Muxía. I need time to myself before I go back to my ‘normal’ life.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2018
All my arrivals in Santiago have pretty much been anti-climactic - not the end and not unpleasant. The Camino, for me, is the journey and will continue, never to end. I'd much rather be walking...
This is my sentiment exactly. But, I have only completed one Camino (so far), in 2018. I had firmly believed I would return in 2020, and then 2021... now I walk as much as possible here in Adelaide, hoping to continue the journey in France-Spain, in 2022....
 

calmeg

Member
We have found walking into Santiago to be anticlimactic. We have walked into Santiago, booked one night somewhere, gone to the mass mainly for the ceremony and the botafumeiro in the cathedral. Next day- train to Vigo area or just north of Porto for a few days on the beach. (and some more hiking). Chances are in the future we will stop early to avoid the crowds and fuss, and find more deserted regions to walk in peace!
 

Forrest Mallard

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Portuguese from Lisbon (2017)
The day after I arrive in Santiago, I ask the friends that I make along the way to meet at a cafe just before walkers reach the cathedral area. We order coffee and sit at tables outside, and we wildly applaud the walkers as they pass. As many of you have been saying that the arrival is uneventful, and I felt the same way the first time I walked into Santiago, so we decided to make it EVENTFUL for the people arriving the next day. It was such a job seeing people's faces light up. It really is an amazing accomplishment and everyone should be applauded when they reach Santiago. We start with a small group of about 10 people, but soon other people join in and there is quite a crowd all yelling and cheering as each group goes by. -- And we have no problem ding this fr about 2 hours before we can't scream any more... and the coffee starts to wear off.
This is also an amazing opportunity to bump into so many people that you met along the Camino that might be finishing one day after you.
The attached photo is part of the cheering squad, and two good friends we met along the way, that happened to walk through as we were cheering. It really is an amazing way to finish the Camino.
 

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Mercutio

Let us walk together
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
About three weeks out from SdC, I realized my thinking had switched from "three more weeks to go" to "ONLY three more weeks to go" and I began to enjoy the experience in a different way. In the last week, I started walking only 10Km a day to slow it all down, to savor it. Once in SdC, I spent a night at The Last Stamp, to get the full albergue experience one last time (snorers, noises, loud late arrivals, intense dreams, and little sleep - it was glorious) then I moved on to a very nice hotel and spent a few days lounging in the luxury and marking my withdrawal from being a pilgrim. It took a month in Barcelona to stop dreaming about the Camino every night and many months after that for my feet to recover. Can't wait to do it again!
 

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