The Camino Frances took me 38 days to walk over 800km. It was two days longer than I’d originally planned but ultimately, I do wish I took 45 days to do it. The extra time would have allowed me to have full rest days in major cities as well as time to do more of the mini side trips off the main Way. That is the main thing I would have changed about my Camino if I could. Lessons learned!
When I arrived in Santiago, I had two more days before my flight out of Spain. I had these two extra days because I had originally planned to walk to Finisterre. However, because I finished two days late, I was one day short to do the walk (takes three to four days to reach the coast/Finisterre). Revising my plans, I splurged on a hotel and explored Santiago (despite the rain) on one of the days and took the bus out to Finisterre on the other day.
Santiago is a great city but because of the rain, I didn’t see as much as I’d have liked. However, I did go to the Pilgrim’s Mass at the Cathedral again (got lucky – saw the botafumeiro swing a second time!) and I did a pretty neat tour of the Cathedral that included a walk on its roof. I also met up with a friend of mine from Japan – by sheer coincidence, her Sarria-Santiago Camino ended in Santiago about the same time I arrived. The extra weird thing is that I had met her seven years before at language school in France, the same trip where I first learned about the Camino and saw my first painted yellow shell!
My life didn’t change dramatically because of the Camino Frances but I think it has influenced me in many ways. I’ve always been an independent person but I think I am now a more confident independent person. I’m a more open person. I’m more serious about setting and meeting goals. I’m starting to actively pursue what I love and putting my writing and photography “out there”. I’m back to being physically active (after walking over 800km, 10km races and a half-marathon are actually achievable!). The downside to having done the Camino Frances is that I now have the bug. Rarely a day goes by where I don’t think about it or have something random remind me of it. But that’s okay. I’ll just have to do it again, one day. I think, though, next time I’ll do the Via de la Plata from southern Spain as it is not as busy as the Camino Frances and is longer. And longer is good, right? Right??