From Santiago de Compostela

June 15 - Santiago de Compostela - Day 39

Stops since last update: Santa Irene - Monte de Gozo - Santiago de Compostela

Distance walked so far: 832 kilometers - 516 miles

View map of the Camino.

Finally an update, my faithful readers. For some reason I have failed to update these pages since I first posted them. Enjoy.

An octapus fest. Galacia is famous for its octapus houses and this one in Malide is one of the most famous. Six of us enjoy octapus, wine, bread ane each other's company that evening. It's not the first time for octapus for me but it is for some.

Galacia, the province we are in, has its very own flavor (just like most other places along the way). It was so green and alive. This picture is only a poor representation of the many beautiful walkways here.

At Monte de Gozo, the last refugio before Santiago, only 4 kilometers from the cathedral, I rest and clean my clothes and get ready for the walk into town.

The next morning I walk into Santiago de Compostela beliving that I am about to met my goal of walking when I get to the cathedral. I smell ever flower and greet every dog and cat. Tears flow down my cheeks ever few minutes as I recall so many things that happened during the last 40 days.

And I know what the cathedral will look like when I get there because the 1, 2, and 5 cent coins have been reminding me of the looks all across the country. Cervantes looks off the 10, 20, and 50 cent coins.

I first see the cathedral towers down a narrow street.

A short time later tens of large and small spires and a huge stone building appear on my left. It's Santiago's cathedral.

I continue down through tunnel with the bishop's house arching above the wide stairway I descend. Entering cathedral square I walk to the center for a view of the full building. Individuals and groups wander over the square. I stand in awe also for quite a while.
[Yes, the picture is from a different day, but you get the idea.]

Walking back to the first side, I enter the cathedral. It has a cavernous interior. Many people talk as they ambled about in the dark, cool building.

The box of St. James' (Santiago's) bones. I walk through a tight area down a narrow stairs under the main altar. I make that required visit, though I never hug his statue as all pilgrims are supposed to--I just don't get to it while I am there this time.

As a stroke of luck, I get a hotel room on the main square where I can watch masses of people and pilgrims arriving from my balcony window.

The focal point of the day is the noon Pilgrim's mass. Well, it is really not the mass, rather it is the huge sensor that swings the width of the crossing parts of the church from floor to ceiling. Somehow this high carnival in the middle of a holy service fit into the entire spirit of Santiago, a tourist town for better than a thousand years. The town itslef is lined with tourist shops, bars, restaurants, and street musicians.

I have a wonderful movie of this giant sensor swinging from floor to ceiling and back again across the church during Pilgrims' Mass at the cathedral. But be Warned! This file is huge (more than 12 megabytes). It will take a chunk of time to download even with DSL. If you have a 56K modem, you'll be waiting all night.

At night lights play on the exterior of the cathedral.

I stay an extra day in Santiago to rest. But that visit to Santiago does't set right with me. I don't appreciate the tourist and carnival atmosphere. And I cannot rectify that feeling completely. It just doesn't fit the mood of the 800-plus kilometer (500-plus mile) walk to get here, I realize that Finisterra--the end of the world--was really the end of the walk. So on the Finisterra.

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