Photo Essay: A Pilgrim’s Arrival in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia (Northern Spain)

I was travelling through Santiago de Compostela recently and tried to capture the moments of pilgrims arriving at their final destination after hiking the Camino. I was one of them myself, earlier this year, and I found myself reliving my own arrival.

Pilgrims arriving in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Northern Spain

The scene that resonated with me most – a satisfying but lonely arrival.

It was a peculiar feeling. I was elated to be finished, to have accomplished what I’d set out to achieve (125-ish km), but I was also overcome by a sense of melancholy because it was all over and I had to return to my ‘normal’ life.

There was this huge sense of loneliness, of having finished my big adventure and not having anyone there to share the moment with.

“What now?” I asked myself. “Where do I go from here?”

Eventually, though, I bumped into new friends I’d made on the hike, which in many ways was even more special.

Pilgrims arriving in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Northern Spain

Hye had just finished an 840 km hike along the Camino for the second time. “No more Camino! No more!” he laughed.

Pilgrims arriving in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Northern Spain

How I’d subconsciously hoped my arrival in Santiago would look.

Pilgrims arriving in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Northern Spain

Another satisfied customer of the Camino de Santiago.

Pilgrims arriving in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Northern Spain

Altogether now…

For me, arriving in Santiago de Compostela was one of the most memorable moments of my life. For the locals of this beautiful and ancient city, it was just another rainy Friday.

Read about my life-changing Camino de Santiago adventure (and see the hundreds of photos I made along my way).


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