Here we are as we get ready to set out, my Camnho family, from the past few days, Sellas, Kirsten, Celine and Ulrika, Brigite was missing when I took the photo.
It was dark when we set out, but as we approached the city we still needed some stamps in our Pilgrim Passport for the day, one from a cafe and one from the pilgrim office.
Everybody is in high spirits, whatever pains, blisters etc are all forgotten. Our eyes are now on the city and reaching the Cathedral. Several people are emotional.
We see the sun rising over the city. As we enter the city we find a cafe open, and stop for breakfast, coffee con leche and pastries. And a stamp for our passport.
My guidebook said when I set out from Lisbon that the distance was 396 miles, I have now as I enter Santiago de Compostella walked 451. Today, we only walked 11 miles after walking around the city. We set ourselves up to have a short walk today to enter Santiago de Compostella. I have booked an airbnb for my self for two nights, then will walk onto Muxia and Finisterra.But today is all about Santiago de Compostella.
We arrive at the Pilgrim office and already although it is early there is a line, at the height of the walking season they receive over 2,000 pilgrims a day. They are approaching a record for this year. As I said, there are multiple routes you can walk, all of different lengths and from different directions.
Here I am on the left after waiting in line with my Compostella, all in Latin including my name. Protected in a holder to keep it safe. I also have a new, clean pilgrim passport for my journey to Muxia and Finisterra
The Compostella is on the right. Sellas, who is the transgender person I mentioned has asked for the document in "his" new name Silas and they did this, so he is very emotional as he did not expect them to grant this.
The main square outside the cathedral, I am posting a video below, outside the cathedral and during the mass with the swinging of the Botafumeiro, the large censer.
There are too many people, I am overwhelmed, but it is a very happy, loving time, every body is emotional.
A marker in the square. We wander around, looking at the city, the tourists the town is filled with who have not walked the Camino, pilgrims, citizens, priests, nuns, so many people.
We line up for the Pilgrim Mass and enter the Cathedral, and make a quick tour around before the service begins looking at the altars. It is very beautiful and crowded. We sit down and while we wait I write up my feelings about the day so far.
After the service we find a restaurant for lunch, Silas is catching a plane this afternoon as is Celine so it is with a heavy heart we all say good bye to each other. Ulrika disappeared, Brigitte met friends in the city.
There is so much choice of food in the city, it is hard to know where to look. The cheese shops are wonderful.
As are the Tapas bars, as I am walking around I bump into the two Dutch ladies Yvonne and Ingrid, so gladthey made it here too. I see many people or hear about people from my Camino, who got here earlier or arecoming in shortly.
The food is delicious and entering a tapas bar for dinner I come across the South Koreans at the table next to me.
I realize I am tired, the realization I have accomplished what I set out to do is wonderful, and I find it all almost an anti-climax.So, I am looking forward to the final stage to Finisterra.
The food choices are overwhleming, and delicious. That is Octopus on the counter,but there are sardines, eggs, meat, tuna, vegetables, so many choices I am glad I have given myself a day of rest to enjoy the city.
As I walk back to my apartment, I come through the square, it is almost deserted now, the peopleselling souvenirs are gone, just a few straggling pilgrims. It is beautiful.
I think back, not only on the day, but the whole journey, glad to have done it, overcoming the challenges. I think of all the people I have met, the views I have seen, the people who helped me along the way, knowing without them I would not have finished. I think of Andre, and send him a photo of me in the square outside the cathedral as he had asked me to do so he knew I had finished. It is a wonderful feeling and I know I will sleep well tonight.
Now to bed, till tomorrow, which is forecast to be rainy.