Our last day is 50km and the track is busy busy with peligrinos. To accomplish the feat of trekking the Camino as a pilgrim, you only have to officially walk the last 100km (or bike the final 200km). Therefore the track is now overrun with huge groups of kids, tourists and all those out for the Camino experience. They're still walking for 5 days - so not a bad effort, but we seek out and try to spot the 'authentics' among them. They are easy to see - they've been walking around a month or maybe more. They look tired. They're clothing is not quite so spruce, nor is their hair. Many are limping and many more are wearing knee braces. They've done more than a jaunt - yes, we can spot the authentics amongst the music-playing, laughing, chattering newbies in clean new trainers and yoga gear.
We hope for a perfect lunch spot for our last meal on the trail. No sooner did we speak this, that we see our place round the very next corner. A chilled spot with enticing menu and devine vegie burritos. Lou can't resist a wine with her lunch - it is the last day - but I remember Ponferrado and decline - we still have 25km to go.
The last blast - we think we're going to cruise down the final 12km but it there is one steep pinch after another, til we emerge at the top of Mont do Gozo - from here we can see the 3 spires of Santiago cathedral and I have tears as I gaze on our finishing point.
Finally we are at our last 500m, pushing our bikes since riding isn't allowed in the bustling, narrow and winding streets of the city centre. We walk through an arch and out on the main plaza and there it is - Santiago cathedral. The square is full with pilgrims, dirty and weary like us, just sitting and just looking in silence. We have jobs to do - return our bikes, find our accommodation, sort our gear and shower - but for now we are content.
Later on, beers have never tasted so good and we enjoy a later night than we're used to, since tomorrow we don't have to get up and ride anymore.
As we wander town, in a happy daze, we see people we've met on the Way coming in - the paraplegic Italian guy and his girlfriend - he did the whole thing on a recumbent bike, and the big Scandinavian guy with his partner and two kids - who had the children in a rickety carriage with tiny wheels and was pulling them along.
Our Camino is complete and tomorrow we each go our separate ways, but I think each of us is already eyeing up a return to Spain and another Camino.Read more