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Final endings: cycling around Bilbao

Outside the Guggenheim Bilbao Spain

Final endings: cycling around Bilbao There had been so many endings to this trip we lost count in the end. But this was it; our last few hours in Spain. As we handed back the van, we knew we only had ten kilometres to go to get across Bilbao to the ferry in Santurtzi. As […]

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Van holiday

In the back of the van

Van holiday It was one of life’s ironies. We completed over 1000 kilometres of cycling without incident or injury, then Stuart hurt his back trying to accommodate a fat lady on the bus. It then took him an hour and a half to hobble across Santiago to collect the van that would transport us back […]

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The end of the Camino is nigh!

Finisterre End of Camino de Santiago

The end of the Camino is nigh! Can you see that sign? Can you read the distance? It says 0.00km. Fantastic. It can only mean one thing. We made it. We made it! To the end of the Camino. To the end of the medieval world. To Finisterre which literally translates as the end of the earth. […]

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Burnt offerings: Marking endings

Family celebrating on beach

Burnt offerings: Marking endings It’s pilgrim tradition going back through the years that people burn their boots and articles of clothing when they get to Finisterre. There’s even a grate built into the mountainside to accommodate this. “I’m burning Daddy’s grots,” says Matthew, peering into a pannier and pulling out a pair of well worn […]

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30 days and 30 nights

Heading to the sea at Cee, Northern Spain

30 days and 30 nights It’s a full 30 days and 30 nights since we left the sea behind us at Hendaye and headed inland to pick up the Camino, shortly after meeting our first fellow pilgrim. Tonight we reached the sea once more at Cee, having crossed the whole of Northern Spain. We missed the […]

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Endings and beginnings

Family arrives in Santiago de Compostela

Endings and beginnings Some say the end of a pilgrimage is really a new beginning. But when is the end? Is it when you arrive in Santiago? When you get your Compostela? After the pilgrim mass? When you get on the plane, bus, train or car home? The beginning of what? And what is it […]

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The closing ceremony… Santiago pilgrim mass

Family arrives in Santiago de Compostela

The closing ceremony… Santiago pilgrim mass Carved wooden confessional boxes line the walls, each occupied by a priest in white robe and purple sash. People queuing can request their dialogue in any European language, but for many the hug or clasped hand in response to their confession seems as powerful as the words. The pipes […]

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Just another church? Santiago Cathedral

Cathedral Santiago de Compostela

Just another church? Santiago Cathedral At first glance at it was nothing special. We approached it down a side alley, at lunchtime, as the daily pilgrim mass was spilling out hundreds of people from a side door. It didn’t have the gothic magnificence of its sisters in Leon or Burgos, nor their clean, restored and […]

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Moments of arrival at Santiago Cathedral

Santiago Cathedral

Moments of arrival at Santiago Cathedral It was just a few moments away. I was supposed to be finding out what time the pilgrim’s office was open but I couldn’t resist a quick peek inside Santiago cathedral. I just wanted to arrive, to be in the place we’d travelled so far to get to, without […]

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Mon Joie! Arriving at Mount Gozo

Mon Joie - on the Camino de Santiago

Mon Joie! Arriving at Mount Gozo Mount Gozo is said to be the first place on the final stretch of the Camino de Santiago from which you can see the towers of the Cathedral of Santiago. It is your first glimpse of the point and pinnacle of this incredible pilgrimage. So of course there is […]

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