Forrest , Felix and I set out whilst it was still dark at 8.00am in order to put some miles in early. Our intention was to walk as far as Monte do Gozo and stay in the Albergue there tonight , giving us a short 5km walk into Santiago on Saturday morning. We had been in touch with Lou and ” big ” Felix by text and hoped that they might catch up with us during the course of the day. We seem to have lost Jack , who was last seen playing his Ukulele up in the mountains.
It dawned another beautiful day and we made plenty of ground early on. As I commented in a recent post there are many more Pilgrims walking since Sarria. The ” new ” Pilgrims are easily recognisable as they tend to walk in larger groups , have a spring in their step and talk non stop. Most of them seem to be Spanish and are just carrying daysacks. Those of us walking since St Jean have large rucksacks , varying degrees of limp , walk slowly and talk only intermittently. I can’t help feeling that we left the ” real ” Camino behind before Sarria.
We had a long break for lunch and were delighted to see Lou and ” big ” Felix walk up the road and join us. Lou is from London and is a professional cook who teaches at the ” Pru Leith ” school. She has taken a year off to travel and has been great fun in our ” Camino Family “, acting as ” Mother” to us all.
We walked on together after lunch and put in a good few miles. Forrest pulled in at an hotel but ” double” Felix , Lou and I pushed on until reaching Monte do Gozo ( Mount of Joy ) at around 7.00pm. It is only 5km from the city and the medieval Pilgrims could first see the Cathedral towers from this spot , hence the name. Indeed we could just see the top of one if the towers ourselves ( just about visible in the centre of the photo ). There were a gaggle of Pilgrims gathered around the monument commemorating the visit of Pope John Paul II , which stands atop the hill. Before booking into the Albergue here we watched the sun go down over Santiago , an emotional moment for all of us. One more hour of walking tomorrow morning is all that remains.