What is the sequence of places Santiago visits in Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Yours is actually an interesting question.  In fact, I am wondering if it is a "trick" question.  Why?  Because even though the final part of the novel's journey is in Santiago finding the pyramids, the epilogue of the book reveals his return to Spain! 

First, it is important to note that Santiago's journey outside of his hometown does, indeed, end with finding the pyramids.  Unfortunately, he is mugged at that very moment.  Santiago tells the thieves of his dream of finding treasure and the thieves (or at least one of them) shares their dreams of finding treasure as well.  The irony of the dream is that the dream of treasure is about a little church in Spain and the treasure buried there.  Santiago promptly interprets this dream as meaning the treasure he seeks is actually in his own hometown church!

THUS, the actual end of Santiago's journey comes in the Epilogue when Santiago is no longer in Egypt, but has traveled back to Spain and finds the treasure.  It is here, of course, that Santiago utters his famous line:

I'm coming, Fatima.

Truly, and in this way, not only have Santiago's dreams become reality, but they have become a reality in his own hometown.  It is this journey back to his hometown that ends Santiago's quest.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In the volume I have, there is a wonderful map at the back of the book that shows Santiago's trek from Spain to Egypt. It is interesting to note that the journey somewhat follows a parallel line of the Mediterranean Sea where many Biblical stories are set. As mentioned in the novel, Africa was only about two hours away from Spain and one could look out across the water and actually see the other continent. The beginning of Santiago's journey seems relatively close to home compared to the length of distance and time that it eventually turns into. The time at the Crystal Merchant's shop is 11 months, the caravan is a few more months, time at the Oasis lasts a few months, and his time with the Alchemist before reaching the Pyramids is a few months. When all is said and done, it's not only places that matter, but the distance and time spent that create the journey, too.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial