Our tense has changed. We are no longer walking the Camino. We have walked the Camino.
The trail today for our last 21km was nice enough but I have to admit it was pretty hard not to just focus on getting to the end when we were so demonstrably close.
But the very last few meters to the front on the Cathedral involve passing through an arch and I found myself slowing, reluctant to take the last few steps, knowing we had reached the end of our trip.
Several people have asked how we feel and I’ve been thinking about that all day. I think that for many people there is a sense of achievement in completing the walk, but we don’t really have that because we never doubted we would be able to do it. The thing we questioned was how much we would enjoy the walk. And that has been the revelation – because it’s been an unrelentingly fabulous experience.
We got lucky with the weather, and we’ve dodged all but niggling injuries. So it has just been a wonderful way to spend six weeks walking through stunning countryside, eating great food, meeting interesting people. The walk has given a sense of purpose to what we are doing and provided structure to the day. You don’t need to make many decisions about what to do when it is defined by walking onwards. We’re going to miss that.
But now our Camino is over and we have the certificate, the Compostela, to prove it. We walked according to our own stats, not the generic ones, 740.59km. Our speed when walking was amazingly consistent at an average of 11.59 minutes a km or 5 kilometers per hour. The soles of our boots are clearly worn away. We have been greeted with, and wished others, ‘buen camino’ countless times.
And it was a buen camino.