Day 23 – Arzua to Santiago de Compostela (39.4km)

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It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters, in the end – Ernest Hemingway.

As I prepared to write the article on our final day of walking, I couldn’t help but fight off the different emotions I was experiencing.

We feel a great sense of accomplishment both spiritually and physically. In the same breath a feeling of sadness does come up as this beautiful walk has come to an end.

In having said this, our journey now begins. Our lives are not our own and the onus is upon us to share and live what we have learnt and experienced on this beautiful walk. We can all make a difference and I am reminded of the old adage, “drops become litres”.

We started our morning in Arzua and our final walk for the day was just under 40km. It had rained last night so the morning walk was fresh with beautiful scents of nature. Ok, the cow dung scents take getting used to!

Our walks were predominantly through the forests and for old time sakes were presented with some steep ascents.

We couldn’t believe how quickly we had gained kilometers; we were almost disappointed as we didn’t want the day to end.

There were markers on the side of the trails giving us the distance remaining to Santiago de Compostela. These markers were random and you wouldn’t often see them for kilometres. Lo and behold we stumbled onto 23km left!

As you might have read from previous articles this number is very significant to Odette and myself. We have been together for 23 years and are attempting to do this 33 day, 775 km walk, in 23 days. As part of thanksgiving for this walk we are also raising funds for a charity close to our hearts namely Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity Khayelitsha, a fund overseen by Monsignor Stokes of the Catholic Archdiocese of Cape Town.

It felt like we were spoilt today on our walk, the birds were singing louder, the views were majestical, the sky was alive with clouds in beautiful formation and a certain calm which one cannot describe.

We arrived in the big city of Santiago de Compostela just after 18h00 and still had 2km to go to reach the Cathedral. Will you believe me when I tell you that we actually started walking slower, we just didn’t want to end this walk!

The Camino through the grace of God grabs you in a way that you couldn’t believe possible. It’s a spiritual and mystical walk captivating each pilgrim. There is a different message for each person on this walk and yes everyone’s purpose and reasons are different for embarking on this journey. No matter what you reasons are, I guarantee you that you will find an inner strength and peace you never knew existed. The walk has a certain charm and romanticism.

For us being Catholic in faith there have been added bonuses by way of all the Churches we walked past and visited.

This walk is not just for Catholics, it’s for everyone. Imagine a world where we could all be tolerant of each other and that peace was one language?

We arrived at the pilgrim’s office outside the Cathedral just after 19h00. The queue for collecting your certificate of completion was very long and you begin to realize how many thousands of people do this walk annually. We had used John Brierly’s book as a guide for this trip and is definitely a must have for anyone doing this walk.

The French gentleman that helped us at the desk was surprised that we had done this walk in such a short space of time and corrected me on the 771km walk. We had in fact walked 775km!

I would like to share some of the sayings/statements we made on the Camino:
1. Slowly
2. One step at a time
3. Yoh it’s cold
4. Yoh it’s hot
5. I’m sore
6. I’m tired
7. I’m hungry
8. Not long to go
9. Where are the other pilgrims
10. Slow down Captain Speed
11. We love you muggies
12. We love you flies
13. God is great
14. Yoh we are blessed
15. Yoh we are lucky
16. Thank you Lord
17. Only 20km to go
18. Another hill
19. Bom Camino
20. We’re from South Africa
21. Ola
22. Water
23. Love you

In conclusion, we would just like to extend our thanks and appreciation to everyone for their prayers and messages of support. It was really overwhelming and motivated us like you cannot believe. Apologies for not being able to reply to your messages but know that we have read each one of them.

So, pause your life, walk the Camino and play your soul!

Bom Camino and God bless
dino & odette

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