The last day arrived. Finally! Despite all the odds and what everyone thought, I made it… At 5 a.m. of Easter Sunday we still had a long way to walk before arriving to Santiago, but at that time I was already sure that it was possible, that I succeeded. And, indeed, I did.
Because the hour changed that night, when we left the shelter it was still dark and although my heart was beating like crazy inside my chest due to my childhood fears and phantoms, I kept walking. Along with Alberto we led the way through the sleeping woods. The light he had to crank every two minutes and the light that came out of my mobile were hardly enough to guide us and to keep us save from falling, but the voices of the other pilgrims just behind us help us to stay focus. And so we did… we stay focused hour after hour (despite the talks we were having, distractive and fun enough for the last stage), until we finally arrived to Santiago.
Alberto and the memory of our talks will always stay with me and mark the moment I arrived to Santiago de Compostela for the first time after having done the way. He will always be the person that was beside me that day, in that moment, and I will always thank him for having kept me amazing company.
But once we arrived to Plaza del Obradoiro, the main square in Santiago, just in front of the Cathedral, where all the pilgrims arrive if they follow the path, we met all the other pilgrims. Some pilgrims I met along the way, in previous stages and that I lost contact with along the way, were already there and the ones that were just behind Alberto and I were also slowly arriving. There was a moment, just before the Easter mass when my recent past, my present and my future, came together. It was magical!
The mass was also beautiful (quite tired though, because the Pilgrims Mass, how it's called the mass from noon, is not actually for pilgrims; in fact is for everybody else but for the pilgrims, because everyone from Santiago and tourists are there much earlier than the pilgrims, so they get the best seats and spots and some of the pilgrims give up because they can’t stand staying on their feet for one full hour after having done several kilometers that day and the previous days), but the best was yet to come… the moment we all sat. But not at any seat, at a big table. All of us. The pilgrims from my past and my present (and my future, because the majority of them stayed in my life and became close friends) were all there, sitting at a table with great food, beer and laughs. It was unforgettable. It was truly as a celebration, because even though no one called it that way, we all knew that inside of every single one of us, a party was happening. Every single one of us was tremendously happy and thankful for having accomplished such mission.
Some left Santiago that same day (like myself), same stayed for a couple of days, booked a room in a well deserved proper hotel and finally slept in a proper bed and some kept going, even further, to the very end of Galicia. But no matter where the finish line was for each one of us, all achieved our goals and that’s why that lunch, on Easter Sunday, on a humble restaurant in Santiago de Compostela felt like a huge celebration. The biggest in which I participated so far, even if we were only 14. The lucky 14!