Thursday, July 5, 2012


Today four of the five hikers, Eddie, Susan, Gerda and Esther,  have arrived in Santiago de Compostela!  Eddie was the first to arrive with 28 days and 800 km behind him.  At 13.16 - I received a text message from Susan to confirm their arrival in pouring rain.  I hope for a photo of them sometime in the future.

At the end of the pilgrimage in Santiago, the hikers will take their Camino passport, which by now has been stamped at all the places they had visited, to the Pilgrim’s Office.  Here they will receive their Compostela, the certificate of proof that they have completed at least the last 100 km of the Camino. 

At noon everyday there is a Pilgrim’s Mass at the Cathedral.  The highlight of the Mass is the incensing of the Cathedral with the 1.5 meter tall silver botafumeiro, which, attached to ropes yanked by monks, swings across the cathedral in a dramatic arc, leaving a trail of swirling smoke.  In the old days this served to fumigate the smell of the pilgrims!

An announcement is made of how many pilgrims had arrived in Santiago the previous day, as well as their country of origin.  This news is received by loud cheering and clapping.

But Santiago is not yet the end of the journey for our hikers.  They want to continue on to ‘the end of the world’, at Finisterre.  This small outpost 90 km west of Santiago is the final destination for many of the pilgrims travelling the Way of Saint James.  In ancient times when the earth was believed to be flat, this rocky peninsula on the outer limits of the Galician coast, was believed to be the end of the earth. 



SUSAN tells of happy reunions with fellow hikers in Finisterre  - people who have become friends along ‘The Way’.  They hiked to the lighthouse and celebrated with a delicious seafood meal afterwards.  Tonight they will enjoy their soft beds, private bathrooms and fresh towels in a hotel.  They will travel back to Santiago by bus today and hope to meet up with Emilene and Eddie at the cathedral tomorrow.

Yesterday our RUNNING BULL, EDDIE, was back in action and hiked 40 km to end 10 km from Finisterre.


SUSAN confirmed the arrival of the Three Chicas in Finisterre.

EMILENE has less than 40 km to go to Santiago.  The three Chicas will hike from Cee and will God willing reach Finisterre today. 


THE THREE CHICAS spend the night in Cee and will reach Finistere tomorrow.

EMILENE passed the 40 km mark! It was her grandson's 4th birthday so she stopped for a cold beer shandy and to communicate her best wishes to him via the computer.

Something pretty noticed by Emilene earlier on the Camino

EDDIE, our 'RUNNING BULL' has now been 'demoted' to 'PACK DONKEY' when he lent a helping hand to his hiking companions! 


EMILENE'S feet behaved so well that she considered hiking further when she reached Palas de Rei.

EDDIE'S first day to Finisterre was a 24 km uphill battle.

SUSAN, GERDA AND ESTHER have been walking in the rain for the past 3 days, but this she claims, is NO PAIN!  They relaxed with some G & T's and a game of cards in Moranos on Saturday night.  Gerda took a wrong turn and got a little lost, but in true Camino spirit was helped back to the albergue in Olveira, where they spent a relaxed Sunday evening.


Gordon Bell of Casa Banderas has confirmed and Emilene is looking forward to a night of comfort and a bowl of soup at this well run private albergue.

EMILENE has reached to 100 km mark...

100km to go - 690km behind me!

Yesterday - 6 July - the three chicas disappeared off the radar and although Eddie looked out for them at the pilgrim's mass in the cathedral yesterday, he couldn't spot them in the crowd.  They were there Eddie - right in the front since 11.00, and enjoyed the service, the beautiful singing by the nun, and couldn't find words to describe their emotions during the swinging of the botafumeiro.   


After the three chicas attended the pilgrim's mass in the cathedral, they took the bus to Neigrero. from where they intend to hike to Finisterre in five stages via Moranos, Olveiroa, Cee and then Finisterre.  They will return to Santiago by bus on Wednesday.

Eddie is enjoying two days of private lodgings and attended the pilgrim's mass at 12.00 today.  He has been looking out for the three chicas since yesterday and hoped to run into them at the service, but they have disappeared off the radar.  I can only assume that they have started to hike on to Finisterre...

Emilene spend the night in beautiful Sarria after walking for two days in the rain.  These cows where her company and she seriously contemplated feeding them some immodiums...

She has a little more than a 100 km to go and her feet are doing okay.  I made a reservation for her in Casa Banderas in Vilacha for tonight and we are waiting for confirmation from Gordon.


Eddie up to 'monk ey' business on the last stretch to Santiago 

EMILENE climb the hill with this chicken leading the way...

SUSAN said that the last stretch reminded her of the beautiful Knysna area and she and her sister Gerda stopped at many plum and cherry trees to gorge themselves with fruit.  Fellow hikers now had little time for chit-chat and the click-clack sound of their walking sticks told of their haste to reach Santiago.

EMILENE posted this photo of the area around O'Cebreiro and Linares, where she stopped to enjoy a hot chocolate.  She has two new blisters, but assures us that this will not hold her back.

Emilene's supper last night


  1. Dankie miss Sonie, nou weet ek ook wat my moedertjie aanvang! Ek geniet dit vreeslik om elke dag te lees oor waar hulle is en al die interessante inligting oor die roete en die plekke, het nie tyd om dit self na te slaan nie.

    1. Dit was 'n groot plesier om jou moedertjie te volg en ek het elke oomblik geniet!

  2. I can't believe their journey is almost over. Can't wait to see them all. Thank you for all the updates and posts Sonja.

    ps I Don't the 'Other Posts' (just below each post) just add a dash of glamour and sparkle to the blog?

    1. Although I am very happy that the hikers have almost all reached their goals, I enjoyed this project immensely and feel somewhat sad now that the end is nearing. But I am sure that they will entertain us with their narratives of this pilgrimage in the weeks ahead! Thank you Karin for adding the 'other posts' feature to our blog - it most certainly adds a lot of glamour en looks very professional.


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