Friday, 17 April 2020

Camino Primitivo Alternate Route (April 7, 2020) - Day 12 Pedrouzo to Santiago de Compostela

Well I did it...arrived in Santiago de Compostela around 11:30 am having walked 20 kms for a grand total of 310 kms over the past 12 days. Day started off great with a message from Paulo (Brazil) wishing me a strong finish...interesting that I received this message today...more on this later!

Weather was perfect and once again my special pilgrims were of real help coming down the stretch.
Pilgrims friends joined me for final stretch!!!
Of course the 3 of us needed an important pilgrim break 7 kms from Santiago de Compostela

Completing a Camino is a very special experience and countless pilgrims have done so for centuries. In recent years over 300,000 pilgrims have received their Compostela's having completed at least 100 kms of walking ending in Santiago de Compostela.

This was my 3rd time completing a Camino in Santiago de Compostela (7th Camino route) and I must say the experience has been a unique and unforgettable one!
I was I am at the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela!

However the biggest surprises were yet to come!!! As I was simply soaking in the atmosphere, out of the blue, I was joined by 3 former pilgrims friends!!! Incredible as they had journeyed from France, Canada and Brazil just to share this special moment with me. I will never forget that...I splurged and bought them all an ice cream, donut, a jamon bocadilla and a cerveza!
Cyrille (France), Marc (Canada - my brother), me (Canada), Paulo (Brazil)

As we reminisced about past Camino experiences someone mentioned the incredible sight to see as part of a mass in the Cathedral. One has to be very fortunate to see the Botafumeiro swing as it only happens on religious days or when someone (or group) has paid a significant sum.

Both previous times into Santiago de Compostela I have been fortunate to see the Botafumeiro swing. This time I would not as the Cathedral is essentially closed for restorations in 2020 in advance of the Holy Year in 2021 when a massive number of pilgrims is expected.

I was resigned to this...however to my absolute astonishment and delight we heard someone calling and surreptitiously wave our small group of 4 to a side door. You guessed it...we were going to see the Botafumeiro swing...3 for 3. Incredible!

I later found out that Paulo, a very astute lawyer, had negotiated this with the Church!!! Thank you Paulo...we must discuss this in more detail on our next Camino! Here is a short video...much appreciated Paulo.

Was it worth it you ask? After all I estimate I walked 32,184 lengths of a 29 ft. deck to complete the Camino Primitivo plus a number of kms being the wolf chasing the little pigs!

A resounding YES! In no particular order why...
  • It allowed my to share a very special (some may say ridiculous, frivolous, maybe even stupid) experience with my two special pilgrim friends Rose (5) and Elodie (2). They kept me going for sure!
  • It allowed me to reconnect with friends, many of which I had not communicated with in a number of years...great time to do so!
  • Blogging, while totally ridiculous is fun! One of my guiding principles is if I can say 10 things and only 1 of them brings a smile or stretching it a laugh then it is worth it. Ok maybe it's more like 100 to 1!
  • While I am not sure of the total numbers of people who actually read the Blog (imagination says in the millions...reality is likely 10 - 15 tops) I can say for sure the Blog was read in many areas of the world. I am aware of Winnipeg and Clandeboye (close enough) Manitoba, Toronto and Keswick Ontario, Brazil, New Zealand, United States and Barbados!!! Maybe there are more!
  • I needed something else to take my mind off current pandemic challenges
  • Got my fill of fresh air, exercise  and wild animals!
Would I do it again (on the deck that exactly the same way)

Are you joking? Do you think I am crazy or something?

As I wrap this up I hope that in the future I have the chance to walk the Camino Primitivo and see how different this beautiful Camino differs from the route variant I walked.

Paulo and I had discussed back in March that perhaps Fall 2020 might be possible...however that is not going to be possible I believe due to the current COVID - 19 situation.  2021...maybe however it is a Holy Year and the number of pilgrims will likely be very very high. has to happen by then! I will be 65...what better way to enter old age walking with a backpack 310 kms over mountain trails! 

Finally, please everyone stay safe and healthy in these very difficult times. Let's all do all part to lessen the impacts and help those who have been so significantly impacted.




  1. Congratulations, Guy. I'm glad you enjoyed your Camino because I know I did.

  2. Way to go, Guy!! Now you will have to figure out how to replace 4 boards in the deck! From one of your pictures it looks like one section was wearing down! 2022 sounds like a great plan. Stay safe!

  3. Merci papa!! This was a great distraction from life. Very inspiring and surprisingly funny. Why aren’t you this funny in person??
    I’ve shared this blog with everyone I know, so it will likely go viral. I only know about 10 people, but I’m sure they will share it with at least 10 people, and they will share with 10 people and so on.