Day 32. July 17. We reached Santiago!

Happy Pilgrims begin singing near the end of the Camino!

Santiago at last!!!!!

The walk today was very nice, through a lot of woodland paths. The weather was overcast then windy then light rain. It was colder than usual. We said goodbye to many friends and other pilgrims as we approached Santiago. There were many writings along the way of pilgrims saying goodbye or expressing their feelings as they reach the end of their journey.

We took one break at about 7 km before Santiago as the weather became very cold. I found us a table inside to rest and get warm while Ed get us the last stamp for our pilgrim passport on the road. We had some warm chocolate and coffee and a piece of apple pie then march on to the big city of Santiago.

We got lost a little but as we entered the city but not too bad, just a couple of streets as we took the wrong turn following sone other pilgrims but we quickly were guided by nice people around telling to go back as we are no longer walking on the camino.

We finally arrived where we are going to spend the night. Tired but elated to have reached the end of the journey finally. Ed and I gave each other a big high five! Big smile! The end finally! We will be able to get some rest. Sleep in tomorrow. No need to rush and pack up to leave before sunrise to avoid the heat. No more pounding the pavement. No more heavy back packs. What a relief.

We only need to get our last stamp in our pilgrim passport here then we can take our passport to the pilgrim office and they can check all our stamps we collected the past 32 days and then issue us our pilgrim certificate, certifying that we had indeed complete our pilgrimage on the camino de Santiago Frances.

I unzipped Ed’s back pack and reached in to get our 2 pilgrim passports out. Nothing. I unzippped the other top pocket. Nothing. It’s so unreal. I checked and double checked. Nothing. I could not find the pilgrim passports!!!!

Panic set in. Ed first words were: I gave them to you at the last break. No, you did not. Or may be I left them on the table. No, you did not. I did not remember seeing them on the table. We stood there silent looking at each other. Ed started to look everywhere in his back pack. We had a special pocket on the top of Ed’s backpack where we always kept the passports.

Finally Ed declared: we lost the pilgrim passports.

Instead of standing in the hall way looking at each other, we decided to check into our room. The nice clerk told us: the is the last room but very nice. You have 2 twin beds but you can push them together. It’s ok?

Yes it’s ok. It’s hard to find a big bed in Europe. Most rooms have 2 twin beds. The big bed is called the “matrimonial” bed. Right now it’s probably best we have 2 seperate beds. There is nothing “matrimonial” to speak of right this moment. I don’t think we are going to push the beds together. They are staying right where they are until we sort out the business of the lost pilgrim passports.

We each lay on one bed to rest.

We started to think of our options.

Talk to me honey, Ed says. I think the silence treatment is the order of the day. I am not sure what to say to Ed.

What should we do now?

So I said: you could try to go to the cathedral and speak to the head nun and explain to her what happened. May be she can give you a certificate? I really don’t think so. I don’t know how Ed could pull such a stunt with the head nun at the cathedral de Santiago!

We lay looking at the ceiling.

Well we could show them the blog. You think they would believe us if we show them the blog? You think the nuns even read English? May be we can find a nun that speak English?

Then more thoughts then finally I propose: I can stay here in Santiago and YOU take the train back to st jean and walk for 33 days and get us all the stamps?

Ed looked at me: you serious?

Yes I am serious. He lost my passport. He has to go walk it and make it up to me right?

You not walking with me? He asked.

No, I am done walking. My legs won’t make it. But I’ll wait for you here!

We both know that’s not really an option.

How about a tour grim? We can just do the last 100 km from Sarria and collect the stamps and get our certificates?

Well that’s kind of do-able. We can go back to Sarria and re walk the last 5 days. 100 km. 20 km a day. We can do that.

Relief. We have a solution. Not 33 days. 5 extra days. That’s not bad.

Then we started to think why don’t we try to go find the lost passports? Then we looked at the map. Where were we? Where did we take that last break ? It was almost impossible to know. We were walking and it was cold. Did we pass the airport. Was it before or after the airport? I am pretty sure it was after the airport as I could hear the planes landing as we were walking. There were so many cafés and shops on the walk into the big town. The last few km outside Santiago. We started studying the map, trying to retrace the walk.

Finally we saw a couple of cafés that were possible. We have a guide with the list of cafés where we could take a break. We zero in to on cafe that was the best possible place. We asked the nice young clerk at the place we are staying to call and ask them to see if they have found our passports we left behind 2 hours ago. He called the café and spoke to the man on the phone. “Bale. Bale. Perfecto. Perfecto”

The clerk looked at us and smiled broadly: they have it. They are very good friends of my parents. They say they will bring them up tonight here unless you need them earlier then you can go get them yourself.

No, that’s perfecto!

We can rest and tonight we can have our pilgrim passports and tomorrow we can go get our certificates. All is well. Another miracle on the camino!

We got back to our room. Push the two small beds together. Hold our hands and lay back down for a rest.

Ed snored away in 2 minutes.

I really thought I will be writing the last blog today but I guess we have to check back again tomorrow as we still have to go attend the pilgrim mass at the big cathedral and get our pilgrim certificates sometime tomorrow. We can’t do it just yet today. We are still waiting for the nice coffee shop owners to drive the passports up to Santiago for us.

I looked over to Ed. Of course I would have walked with him if he decided to walk it again. Of course I say mean things when I am mad. But Ed knows I don’t really mean it.

It’s like a little bonus for us. The camino was supposed to end now if we had gotten out certificate but now it will go on for another day. So we will enjoy this extra day we are given.

Ed slips into a deep slumber. I am glad all it all works out.

Until we get our pilgrim passports back tomorrow ….

Buen camino!!!!