Day 51 - Picarana to Santiago

Date: June 24, 2015

Location: From: Picarana To: Santiago

Mileage: 16.4 Km

Weather: Nice and cool with overcast skies

Temperature: 59° F at 6:00 a.m. and in the upper 60s° F at 6:00 p.m.

Lodging and Cost: Hotel Rua Villar - 70€

GPS Location: ’42.879562” N and -8.544513” W

Highlights: Seeing Santiago in the distance from the Camino de Portugues

Summary of the Day: 

I got up at 5:00 a.m. and was ready to head to Santiago, but then I thought about the fact that the first 2 km were on a high speed, high volume road so maybe I should wait just a little later. I left the room at 6 a.m. and hurried as quickly as I could up the road. A lot of tractor trailer trucks came whizzing by and I was really happy to get to the little side road through the village of Teo. After passing through Teo, the trail turned off the road and went to a nice dirt path which I followed for a while and then the path turned to an old paved road that I don't think is used anymore. It stayed on that kind of surface until I was at the very far outskirts of Santiago and then it went to regular streets with a few cars passing by. This was a high vantage point and I could see the city of Santiago clearly, but could not see the Cathedral at any point along the route.

Suddenly the little street turned into a major city street with a lot of traffic. I was passing the major hospital and the University of Santiago de Compostela. It was at this point that I lost all Way marks leading to the Cathedral. I backtracked to try to find them but to no avail. Finally I saw a street sign that said Camino de Santiago so I figured that I was on the right track. I did pass a couple of arrows, but then they were gone again. This time I figured that I must be on a parallel street so I just pushed on so that I wouldn't get too turned around. I finally did stop and ask some if this was the Camino and they said they didn't know but if I just keep going and bear left at the intersection that I would see a sign to the Cathedral. This is what I did and in about two minutes I recognized the park on my left as I had been there several times and now I knew exactly where I was. It was the same street that my hotel was on. I turned and walked right past my hotel to the Cathedral and had my finishing picture taken and then came back to the hotel and dropped my gear before going across from it and getting my Compostela at the office. There were only three people in front of me and I was in an out in a matter of minutes.

I went back to the hotel and the room wasn't ready yet which I expected would be the case so I went and ate breakfast. The waitress remembered me from a couple of weeks ago because we had talked about me doing the Portuguese route and she asked how it was. After I got in my room and cleaned up, I crashed for a little while to get some rest. Today I was tired. Later in the day I went out and ate, but mostly just laid around in my room or out on the plaza. It was a great day to just be lazy for a change. I decided that I was going to take a day off tomorrow and rest up for the last six days. I started looking into my exit strategy on getting home.

I have my airline ticket from Madrid, so all I needed was to figure out was when to leave Santiago next week on the train back to Madrid, buy the ticket, and then where to stay in Madrid when I get there. I will start dealing with that tomorrow when I'm a little more rested. Right now it's just eat, rest and relax and get ready for the last 115 km. For dinner I decided that I didn’t want a Pilgrim's meal but a good ole American meal. I remembered a pizza restaurant that I ate at two weeks ago, so I went there and had a big veggie pizza with pepperoni on it (not a lot of pepperoni... six to be exact). It was all good and it was just what I wanted. I'm now in my room and it time to get a little rest for a nice slow off day tomorrow and start getting things ready to head home and checking out some more sights in Santiago before heading back out to the coast one more time, so with that I'll say good night and…Buen Camino.

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