The day broke clear for our final steps to the Cathedral in Santiago. Viewed on a map, this was always the goal . But the destinations within each of us were many, varied, and often different than what had been “planned”.
Our hotelier provided us with a nice breakfast and heartfelt wishes for the day and the future. Irene and Manuela left early but not without departing embraces. We walked the final 12 km with our Canadian friends, Tom and Nanci, alternating between periods of conversation and the silence of contemplation. 14 days, 250 km, and approximately 420,000 steps…
The entry into the Cathedral square was familiar, and I couldn’t help but look for the faces from 2013… Kris, Maggie,Jacobien , Henk, Christine and Gaby, Roberto, Jack, Jenny…. you were among those in my thoughts and carried in my heart from that Camino. You are now joined by the 2018 members of my Camino family. Also with me in spirit were each of you who have followed our progress through my “Thoughts”, a number that passed 10,000 visits to those posts on that day.
The line of pilgrims waiting to receive their Compostela was intimidating, but the efficient Pilgrim’s Office had us in and out in 45 minutes. Somehow, the woman who greeted me at the counter was able to look into my eyes and extend her hand to me, “Congratulations and welcome, sir.” as if I were the only reason that she was there.
Certificates in hand, the four of us adjourned to a nearby cafe to toast our accomplishment. Out of the thousands of pilgrims milling about emerged some who we had met on The Way, notably Faris and Stanislaw, our friends from Germany. Absent were Ina and Reiner who returned home earlier in the day, and Kirsti, Sirkka, and Jim, who we still hope to see. We planned to meet for dinner and I to celebrate with my favorite Galicia dish, Pulpo (grilled octopus).
Today, May 4th, we will attend the Pilgrim’s Mass at the Cathedral. Perhaps they will swing the Botafumeiro. They will announce at Mass the number of Peregrinos who entered Santiago yesterday, the places that we are from, and where we started the journey as viewed on a map. Of course, the starting places within each of us were many, varied, and often found to be different than what we once believed.
Peace Everyone. Pete
PS. We fly to Dublin Ireland on Sunday and start the next chapter of this Journey. Until then I will likely take a 2 day vacation from my thoughts. Thank you for following.