Just as we were leaving the bar it started to rain lightly, and eventually became more steady as we headed off on the trail. But it was a warm day and there was fairly good tree cover overhead so we didn' bother putting on our waterproofs. There were some climbs at first but eventually we took to the roads for a long downhill into Melide. On our way into Melide we encountered a disabled cyclist who rode to different spots along the Camino and gave people stamps for their credenciales, while raising awareness about cycling for disabled people. We had a nice chat with him before continuing on.
|Emerging from the Camino onto a crossing with the road.|
Despite the early rain it quickly got hot now that we were out of the mountains. We had rolling hills the entire way, but plenty of shade, and the camino was nice and wide for the most part, so we made good progress. We had called ahead from Melide to reserve some beds in Santiago so we knew it didn't matter what time we arrived. (We had thought about trying to press on a bit from Santiago towards Finisterre, but decided we wouldn't have time. Plus I wanted to soak up the atmosphere of Santiago a little bit!)
In the afternoon Miguel and I managed to lose Alberto somehow--he was ahead of us cycling through a small town and Miguel stopped to adjust his luggage on his bike. Then we made a wrong turn and Alberto must have been cycling back to find us just at this moment, so we managed to miss each other again. After about five minutes of wandering around looking for each other and missing each other's calls, we eventually managed to find each other again. Shortly after this, Miguel noticed something weird with his rear wheel. He looked down to see that the quick release was completely open and his skewer was actually out of place! No idea how long it had been like that but glad we noticed it before it caused a crash.
|Through the trees, nice wide camino.|
We knew we had a significant hill coming after Arca o Pino which we once again managed to climb in the heat of the day. After a few more ups and downs I could tell we were getting very close. I started to feel really giddy and happy, and suddenly my legs felt they had all the power in the world. Alberto told me were going uphill but I almost didn't believe him because it felt so easy. I guess that's why they call this last hill into Santiago the Monte de Gozo (Mount of Joy)--I'm sure I'm not the only pilgrim ever to have experienced that sensation.
We reached the top of Monte de Gozo at around 6pm and stopped to take some pictures, and one east asian tourist seemed to be particularly interested in Alberto. She didn't speak and English but managed to communicate that she wanted to take a picture with him! Miguel and I found this very funny.
|Monument at Monte de Gozo (documenting the Pope coming to Santiago in 2010, the most recent holy year).|
|Descending towards Santiago.|
After checking into the albergue we quickly headed to the Cathedral with all our luggage still attached to the bikes. We felt that we really had to arrive there, with everything we'd been carrying for the whole journey. Most of the walkers had arrived earlier in the day but we seemed to be in the prime arrival time for cyclists. It was great to watch other people arrive as well as we took the obligatory pictures and revelled in the moment.
|In front of the cathedral|
|Miguel and some the spread of our food at Orella|
We forgot to write the stats down before deleting them, so these are the estimates:
Moving average: 10.9kph
Overall average: 7.9kph
Moving time: 6 hours
Stopped time: 3 hours 40 mins