🎥 After the Credits Roll

……… you know that moment in the Cinema – where the audience have got up to leave – and half way through the final credits – the film restarts and a moment of closure is provided for those that waited ?

💓👍🏼……. congratulations on your patience ! 😆

The emotional scenes in the Plaza de Catedral give way to ……

A 5 min walk to the Pilgrims office – queue can be 3 hours , but some random Footie ⚽️ final was on 🏆 – so only 40 mins wait – result! . Here to produce the precious multi stamped pilgrims passport – my “Credencialé” ….. more important than my actual passport as this one IS irreplaceable. Show this and if all is in order you are issued with the elaborate “Compostela”. These are my Credencialé – 2 of them due to distance.

I wondered if the final Compostella – certificate of Pilgrimage mattered – “God doesn’t collect stamps ” – “The Way is what matters” – that sort of thing.

…….. decided to be delighted by the whole process anyway ! 👌 Both Illuminated – one in Latin , as is my name -testifying to the religious significance of Camino and the other stating where I walked from , the dates of my Camino and distance – officially 799km. That’s without the detours , alternative routes and sightseeing! 😁

Staffed by volunteers- they see hundreds of people in all states of dress , elation , exhaustion and really do check you’ve actually made the journey .

There’s one common section for all on his checklist – how did you make your Camino ? Tick one.

P✅ B✅ C✅

I raised a questioning eyebrow – he says “Pie ? – Bici ? o Caballo ?” – “Todas” / All – I reply. Laughing & incredulous he says Ciérto ?! /True ? – “probar barco tambien” pointing to a 4th alternative box ; also by Boat ? …. really? – not over the Pyrenees ⛰ mate .

Happy to have my Compostelas I check into a slight 😆 step up from a €10 Alberque – the old monastery of St Martin de Pinario – 100 metres from Plaza Catedral

I love the way Pilgrims get looked after in Spain – if you can prove it with your stamped Credentialé they will give you a simple room in this marvellous place for €24 . I didn’t know that. Always next time👍🏼🙏🏽.

Or 30 seconds away – you could always try the “Parador” which I think is Spanish for Cash Mountain 😆 . That’s where we headed to start our evening with vast G&Ts’ & celebration Fizz ‘ 🍾

It’s been one of my goals of this Camino and fondest memories to re-visit this Parador – This one is the lush Hostal de Los Reyes Catolicos . I was here once before with my Dad 💕 – John Anthony (Tony) Harrison – 1982 I think – on one of his legendary – “Show my Children the World” Tours.

Restrained luxury – corridors lined with antiques.

My Caministas 😘 know this -and we all toast 🥂 – John Anthony !

He’d have loved the Craic*! and the sheer naughty giddy feeling of sitting ( with confidence! 😆) on the residents terrace . Even though we’d not paid the £283 single room rate at this place ! 🤣 Cheers Tony 🥂.

*For the Internationalé – *Craic = Irish : meaning – Fun, Enjoyment,Chat usually mixed with 🍻alcohol & music 🎶

& …..Wow –  after many years I  found these OLD photo prints from “back in the day” ….. same me – (green shirt) – same hotel ……. but 😮! Three and Half decades ago 🌟

….. and if the famous Botofumeiro did not swing for me this time – I’ve seen it at the right time ; below are my blurred film pics – of that trip 36 years ago.

……. and the man himself in Santiago de Compostela on that far off day …..💕

Enough ! …….. back to future …. the bells are ringing for 7.30pm Mass……

……. with enhanced 🥂 religious fervour 😁 ….and the sheer opulence of this Cathedral , the service and the dedications to weary travellers were moving and remarkable .

As the cathedral emptied – now closing time . I wanted to visit St James but the day was over , he was roped off ….. nevertheless in the best “Da Vinci Code” 🤔 dark crypt tradition – I paid my solo respects below the altar.

…… Time had got away with me and by the time I read Pope JP2’s moving message in the darkness ………..

…… exhorting “Old Europe” to use its established power for good – the Cathedral was empty and about to lock up.

I surfaced – and as vigilant Cathedral security waved from the main door 200 metres away that I should hurry ………

I passed under THIS – oddly still , unexpected , more resonant , due to the silence , no frenzied swinging or show …… Small ……. Just…..there…..quiet …Wonderful.

The whole journey now seemed complete , fulfilled , a full circle , this quiet minute an appropriate ending …… Even if it did take 36 years to do it . 💕


…. and NOW – it IS time for the final credits! The Caminista roll of honour – all the folk I can remember – you guys made it for me . My thanks , hugs and appreciation…….. “it’s been emotional”

🔘 Ian Harrison ©️2018 🔘

Credits courtesy of Annabel Harrison – tap / copy & expand to see your name – 👍🏼 Great work ‘bel💓💕

This is not – The End

Terminus ⛪

From coffee in Melidé to tiny Ribadiso da Baixo – the usual 20 houses – 5 picturesque ruins – the others revitalised by Pelegríno traffic 👍🏼

Dinner with the Marias’ – well 2 of them , – the 3rd Maria ( Maria Scouse) way ahead now – & Paco ,Sara , Carolina , Tomás & Jeán the French Guy

And my new favourite food from “The School of Tapas” .Yes ! Pulpo y Padron – ( Octopus with padron pimiento peppers in olive oil and sea salt – lush with a G&T !!👌💋

As those in the know giggled at me – I learnt there’s a saying that goes “Pimientos de Padrón ,unos pican y otros no” – (Padron peppers, some are hot and some are not. 🤣 ) – Culinary Russian Roulette for me – jokes on “Iron” as my name is pronounced by all.

Before we hit the road – the following day – we wait ………..as after an amazing 100k walked in 3 days- 5.30am starts , the intrepid duo Martin & Brigitta catch up along with their gang. An amazing feat 👏 🎉 👏 🎉 👏 . Tough people 🙏🏽

On now – fast – I’m on wheels remember – heading towards O Pedrouso – the last nights stop before Santiago. I take a big detour to see some quaint villages and silent candle lit cool chapels. It means the my lot will be ahead of me later so we can stick together on these last days.

……… stop after 2 hours in a fab wayside bar and pinchós hut . Meet Tom and Daughter Ally from Ohio – never met them before – they ask me the usual Q’s – how, why, injuries etc — but stop my reply after 10 secs ….. “we know you !!” and relay my saga of feet , horse , bike , bar , etc . They’d got the info’ from Taz Lass – Donna Brown 2 nights ago. Small world on Camino – what a laugh.

In fact spend too long laughing – so get to know José – the owner too .

………. head back to “The Way” ….. and sure enough after 10k – talking loud and proud in her native Hungarian in a shaded valley by a stream is Brigs – she’s found 2 fellow Hungarians – a rare sight . One a rather sociable hermit called Roland ( guess which 😆 ) who lives there and a random Magyar pilgrim.

Wayside markers start the countdown as the rain sets in ….. a deluge ☔️ ! ….. I’m off …..

And – on again to 3k outside O Pedrouso to a likely looking stop for late lunch 🥗. Turns out to be a legendary lunch – as Paco , Angel and Maria “Flamenco” are there . A memorable “Camino Moment” – a 5 Canã / 5 Tapas lunch playing 🎶 Santana , Chet Baker – ( Gave Paco “la piel de gallina” – Goosebumps!) , Dire Straits , Ella Fitzgerald , Stairway to Heaven , Dave Brubeck , Gary Moore – Parisien Walkways , Mellow Ibiza 🎶 . ……. We talk for hours – share photos , family , the walk – and this totally brill’ pic of Maria “at work” 💕👌💕👌

As the heavens open again ☔️☔️☔️ – the dedicated top team show up …. I buy the beer 🍻 …. they so deserve it ….

It’s getting late ⏰ – Paco , Angel , Maria F ‘ leave – Big goodbyes 👋 we hope to meet in Santiago – Cathedral Square tomorrow- let’s see 🤞.

One more hours travel and we check into our Alberque- 19k outside our Grail .

Hearty Dinner – the Unusual now Usual – Guy – Czech , Tiān -Hong Kong , Tina & Zara – Italy , Maria 4 😆- Spain and finally the United Colours of Benetton ……..

( That’s Us !🍻💋😎)

The Final Dawn ……. and The last Multi Bunk room I’ll see . Exhaustion and Contemplation

….. as Coffee and vast pasties launch me through the lush Galician forest – ace to see Sara “Malaga” on way .

I want to walk into Santiago – so design my final day around this . Feet still a bit “dodgy” 🤨

I push it as fast as I can through dark wooded paths , past singing large groups of Pilgrims – loads of excited Teenagers in School groups – and am 7 km outside Santiago by 9.30am.

I want to see first distant view of Santiago from the huge modern monument at Monte do Gozo.

It’s not so inspiring- bit of a monolith – but walk 10 mins to these 2 Acuña Pelegrínos – same sculptor whose statue we sat on in León in front of the Parador – and the view is usually better .. ( but not today 😆)

…….. and the lovely Donna Brown arrives !! – that girl gets about 👍🏼.

I push the bike and walk with Donna a bit – discussing her Charities – she’s aiming for $5000 Aussie Dollars 💵 for 2 mental health and suicide prevention charities…… Lend a hand to Hugo and Speak up – Stay Chatty encourages men to talk about their issues ….. great causes .

I push on and catch first site of the magical Cathedral .

I mentioned I’d had to design this last day . So avoiding the traditional end point in Cathedral Square – ( I want to save that moment to be with my fellow travellers ) – i return the bike . I Double the foot pads and strap up my feet , backpack on – find my boots fit after a week of swollen double size clown feet – hurrah ! Grab a taxi and head back up the trail . This is one day I need to walk.

I meet them 3 hours out – and we start the final 15000 steps

And we start to see sights

As Carolina hugs trees …………… Trees hug me 😆😆🤣😆🤣

And past historical buildings and quaint streets we arrive at this tunnel …….. heart 💓 pounding – after 800 K and a million steps …… the end is through it .

The very moment ………..

A magical meaningful moment , last steps walked with Brigs – ……. with me from Camino #1 – the very beginning in the French Pyrenees ……..thanks – its been a blast …… and I’m there ……. 💓💓💓😢😢😢😢😢 – hard to breathe..

So are many familiar faces – ( We missed you Carmen😘)- it’s a Camino reality that however unpredictable the way is – you’ll end the day with friends.

And the photos , the relief , the celebration , tears , hugs , sheer disbelief, joy and sadness shared , lifelong friends , pain , endurance , searing experience, laughter , memories – flood out & out , and on & on .

…….. The fantastic 4

And ………

And ………

And …………

And finally – That picture !! The one you hope for . If everyone you had really spent time with ; on Camino , not just acquaintances , those you REALLY talked and shared hundreds of kilometres with ; deep hot happy days with ; was there – this group would be 48 dear friends , happy pelegrinõs – MINIMUM

……. You know who you are .

….. Love you all X

The Final Countdown

……a milestone – for sure ! …. that’s the last 100k . A popular route & distance for people wanting a taster of the Camino .

…… taking my leave after a second night here at extraordinary La Casona de Sarria –

A warm farewell from entrepreneurs – Marcela , Pamela and Silvana . Great company 😘

And a new bike to replace the last one #seenthefuture 👌 #teslabike — rockhopper ✅

I now have the finest foot kit on Camino – and with one final check ………

With the help of a new pair of “LikeNikes” 😆 to replace the boots ….

…… after the England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 game – it’s a judgement call when I meet the only Croatian guy for 100 miles !! But with Google translate we agree it was a hard won result and extended the hand of friendship …… ( he’s at least trying to look sad for me 🤣)

…… onwards – see Tatiana and Kenny – she’s in difficulty- cant walk . I take her Backpack to her overnight stop 12 k further on –

Where she and Kenny …….

Treat me to a massive Breakfast BLT mmmm

Their Camino ends here – she can’t go on – they catch the Bus to Santiago . I’ll miss them

Open invite to their homes in Paris and the South of France🙏🏽💕

25 k further reach Portomarin and see Carolina crossing the long river bridge and as always on the way happy to meet up with Sara – teacher from Malaga

…. then again – Donna from Tas’ shows up – it’s a real part of the Way that people in the same wave – even days apart – keep meeting . Great lunch .

Amazing – choice €10 inc 🍺!

As I’m on the bike a take the way a further 18k through streams , rocky paths and dirt tracks ( it can take it )

To a lovely overnight stop at St Xulien .

and spend a proper wild evening with David in the shades – Harvard Business school – and Oligiér – of a proud Spanish / German / Tangiers family super bright guys

Tough to get up after this 👀 … but onward. Medieval bridges

Wooded paths and fords through streams – lovely

And regular bars – a feature of the last 100k route .

And beautiful 8th century churches – I have time to see them all now rather than pressing on when on foot .

I see little Frederika – Hamburg – we gave her a birthday party 2 days ago – …. she’s had amazing unlikely adventures ( Raves , Danger sports , Techno🎶 festivals 😮 ! ) in retirement .

And reach Melidé about 2 days out from Santiago .

It’s early but the cafe culture fills up soon after …….

….. and who says I can’t have peaches , Santiago cake and a Canã – small beer for breakfast! 👌

…….. last 40 k ……. it’s getting close .

⛪ ⛪

🎶 River Deep – Mountain High 🎶 :- 👣 or 🚲 or 🐎

Where to start 🤔? Get a coffee- it’s a long one ☕️.

Ok there are 3 ways allowable to make Camino – and gain your “Compostella” – the elaborate certificate at the Cathedral Pilgrim Office in Santiago. If feet are not cooperating then you have the centuries old way of Horse or Donkey or a recent introduction- a Bike. Anything else does not qualify- and as I’ve made 650k mark I’m not going to start calling an Uber now ! 😆

So what to do when I’m in the valley of Las Herrerias de Valcarce and the next day has a notorious climb to O Cebreiro ? Decisions to be made over dinner in the marvellous Albergue Casa Lixa .

Camino makes resourceful people such as Lucia (Parma , Italy) Julia ( Germany) and Maria …. from Astorga but speaks Scouse 🤣 and knows Southport well ! Plus Abby i think (USA )

Decision made ! – oh yes …..

Bloody terrifying 🤣 but a memorable way to officially enter into Galicia !!!

…….. Into Hilltop village of O Cebreiro and my first taste of Galician “Pulpo” at the top of the Mountain with people I met along the way .

Mika on the right – Icelandic – via Doctor in US army , Neurologist , retrained as Psychologist – genial genius

Robin – Without a word from me – Nurse from Düsseldorf- (accent😆) Zomething is not right with your foot “Iron” ? ( breaks out Medic Kit 💕)

Love Camino people and Robin and Hannah his girlfriend are so typical . They camp as have little money – but share what they have . I repay with Ice Cream and Beer 😎.

I’m staying on top of the Hill tonight – it’s super quaint – this is the supermarket!

My Alberque too is really good – friends of Victor – the horse guy – Good man to know ✅

Next steps ? – the following day I see a sign for bike hire – it’s a clear choice – especially when I see the downhill route profile – Hurrah !

I leave late morning as I have an amazing brunch reunion with Brigitta , Martin , Donna , and Co’ – all too short as I’m cycling and I’ll comfortably cover twice the distance . Swear to meet in Santiago as they take scenic different route to me and I have the speed now to build in rest days .

Onto the Bike – such a comfort – feeling good – beautiful view above clouds

– a few hills …… and yes !! – 20 minutes of happy freewheeling- a 10k downhill into …….. Oops the wrong valley. 😳 i wondered what those Farmers were waving 👋 and shouting as I shot past ! 🤣 . Ok what to do ?

👍🏼 Same farmers 20 mins later – hitch a ride back up – me AND the bike – lovely people .

…. shoot through Triacastela- get word friends having Lunch – lovely salad and Cerveza with Tatiana and Kenny ( Belgian Military attaché – Paris !!) and Carolina .

…. and on another 25k and into Sarria . Pushed it up a couple of hills 🤪 . But feeling fit and back on schedule

– ….big town – yummy sweet things my girls would like 👅

And into the most hospitable family at Alb’ Casona de Sarria. Booked me another bike , ran me to get foot checked by Doc’s ( all good healing well , no worries , “Bike good , Walk no for 3 days ” – ok I can do that ! 👍🏼 , ) nice to get the all clear officially.

Late night coffee and laughs with owners – Sisters – Marcella on right – well after other Pelegrínos have gone to bed . (Rest day tomorrow 😃)

Which leads me to now – sat on the corner of Main Street and Callé José Antonio – close enough to John Anthony ! – Cheers Dad 🍻

Where I meet Arnie – coincidence – last seen with his wife Anna in Leön !! We swop war stories over coffee as he broke his foot ! While a small dog takes a liking to mine 😊

Feeling Good , Feeling Fit …… 👋 until next time xxxxx

Feet , Feat & Football & knights Templar & Cruz de Ferro

2 Days Worth here – Well – it’s been a day – watched the match in a bar of localness! I asked if I could cheer without offending anyone 🤣 . Sat with 2 Belgians who are as happy as I am . We may meet them soon ⚽️

Cruz de Ferro – a simple high point and most important along with Santiago- this is where you leave a stone with your troubles written you wish to leave there –

Thanks to the Hobart – Tasmanian girls for this pic – nice

From there to Manjarin – an odd permanent shrine to the knights of St John – shades of Davinci Code .

Into Alpine like villages – El Acebo and Molinaseca

Where “Taz ” from Hobart , Tas meets up in a super riverside bar .

I diverted from plan due to my feet – Famous in my group by now – as Dos Diablos 🤣 …messy

– and in such a Camino Way had a top evening in the Alberque.

– Masa from Tokyo

And Mowoko – where we talked about a Camino in Japan that my sister and I want to do …… suddenly this lot comes out – but not from the Japanese couple

…….. Each page below are one per temple – a stamp and calligraphy over 88 nights and 1200 k in Japan – wow 😮

……… but from this random Spanish man Alfredo – who overhears our conversation .

……. And remembering this is a smallish Spanish village – guess who he turns out to be?


Knights Templar theme continues over early morning coffee .

Including this bloody marvellous Templar castle in Ponferrada

Good Bars too by the look of things – but no time to stop today…

As we enter the Bierzo Wine region with the early grapes just showing .

– and amazing winery murals

But the early morning is just glittering ……

Each step a test ….. but rewarding xxx.

Into the Mountains

Hospital de Orbigo to Fóncebadon.

Apologies for getting behind on the Blog – I blame it on blisters the size of bouncy castles ! #officefeet

From a famous bridge – across a long dry river – another made famous from the “Way” movie

Through villages where walls are made from ……… well ……. Termite Mounds ?

Past shrines whose serious purpose is made more memorable as the statue is dressed as Elvis

And adding to my list of admirable fellow travellers with Philip (Stav) and Sally from Sydney Aus’ who are amazingly travelling with a 1 and 2 year old the whole 800k ✅

I’m sure this statue below has a more important reason than boozed pilgrim impressions 🤣

……. But let’s face it when the local bishops palace is Astorga is a Goudi ! …… they may overlook my heresy 🍷😆

……. at the end of the day – Las Aguedas in the village of Murias de Rechivaldo ( nice 2 horse town 🤨)

With the Mexican Girls – amazing part of the group – Angelina and Christina – from Mexicali – not far over the border from SAN Diego – love their stories

And back to the Kindergarten where Johannes with the best sausage and cheese joins us for second breakfast

The strong characters of the group and constant company – Martin Boettcher – Architect & Artist from Frankfurt and Carolina Mateos – Horsewoman and Violinist with the Basel Chamber Orchestra . ….. Oddly with my deep knowledge of their professions 🤣 we get on famously!!

The way gets harder and 30 plus K a day becomes 25 as the path escalates through 1800M

Into Fóncebadon where Booking.com have made a mistake with my booking 🤨💥

The cold sets in as you can see from martins arctic gear as we get higher

Until we arrive at our destination for the night . B*%#! Knackered 🤣

…… until next time 💕

To León and Beyond

Getting here was fun – especially at 180 MPH – love these trains …

….. and starting where I left off in Sept – was a must – # Camino Law No 1 – …. here on this same bar .

……… 6.00 am came with that first steps anticipation from the Alberque – waking way before the Sleeping city .

….. heading for trad’ breakfast of coffee and tortilla

… taking Trek advice from one who’s been here before me ……

……. and onwards to a compulsory stop 20 k further on …

Before the first nights stop in a village near St Martin called Villavente.

A tough first day …..,,,,

that creates its own reward of hearty food and iced beer at Alberque St Lucia – deserted this night – 5 good people only as the Pamplona / St Fermin wave is still two days behind me.

and bed by 9.30 before curfew lights out .