Day 9: Santo Domingo, 21.3 km

We crossed 200km today!  This time last week we were just starting out, and although it wasn’t that long ago, it feels like a lifetime. I’ve met so many people, seen so many ailments, seen a few trips end due to them. It’s only a week, but so much has happened. I feel like I’ve known these ladies for a long time. They’ve been such an incredible first Camino family, and although we’re all headed separate ways tomorrow, I’m so glad to have had the time with them that I have.

The hike itself today was more of the same, but a relatively easy 21km. Though no matter the length, the last two kilometers are always brutal. But as a celebration of crossing 200km, and as a bit of a farewell we’ve all booked into the Parador. It’s a small luxury at €30/person, but it feels extravagant. It’s incredible how luxurious a private bath feels after only a week of communal living. Though even in that we’ve been quite lucky.

Because we prebooked we leisurely meandered in, which, honestly has become the norm anyway. Everyday we leave later, and take more breaks. We’ll see if that trend continues once I hit the more popular areas closer to Santiago. Included in our leisurely stroll today was a late morning picnic at the top of a hill before the decent into Santo Domingo. We’d heard picnics were popular on the trail, but had yet to indulge in one, today was our first. And I certainly hope not the last. The pilgrims that seem to enjoy themselves the most also seem to be the ones taking impromptu picnics and lie-downs in the grass. I can see why. And I’m learning to be more relaxed and not think about the next town, or worry about accommodations. The Camino is an excellent remedy for my type A brain.

We found our way in the early afternoon to the Parador, pictured above, showered in the gloriously private baths and had a late lunch. We spent our last day all together the way we did the first day we all met, sharing wine, food, and complaining about what hurts. I’m going to very much miss these girls, but I’m so excited for Madrid tomorrow! For normal clothes and food choices, and mostly, of course, to see Alex. I’m also hoping the three days off will allow my body to recover so I can start fresh in Leon. Im luckily without blisters, but not without aches and pains!

It’s been a great first stage, better than I could have asked for. But now, on to Madrid!


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