Friday October 22, 2010
Day 36 on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela
Santisos to Santiago
Dear Blog Readers,
Begin the day at kms. 12 marker from Santiago around 8:20 a.m. after the usual breakfast at the hotel. Stop to take photos standing before a large rock with SANTIAGO printed on it, signally we are now in Santiago territory. I place a kiss on the cool rock and burst into tears. I bawl like a little child all the way down the hill, pass the Santiago airport, up the other side of the hill, and through the forest.
I don´t know exactly why or for what reason I am weeping - but I can only presume that in my wildest dream I did not think I would actually make it unscathed - no blisters, not accidents, no injuries to speak of. Rick takes my hand and admits he is sorry he had to take the bus one day as he would have like to feel he had walked the whole route.
Needless to say I cannot recall mush of the next three hours. I know we trek up and down again and that I stop at Monte do Gozo, to see a large monument left by Pope John Paul II dedicated to the pilgrims. This stop is a bit of a zoo atmosphere. We must pass three parked buses with their loads of tourists jockeying for photos of the monument. I quickly take my photos and continue down the last mountain into the lower region of Santiago. As I walk down a street, I see my friend Roberta waiting, camera in hand. She presents me with a lovely pair of gold Camino shell earrings. More tears threaten.
Rick joins us and together we walk up the Camino, through the Arch into on of Santiago’s Squares. To our left is the Parador Hotel in a large Monastery and before us is the Cathedral with a huge St. James statue high above. Loud noises fill the square as across from the Cathedral, they are constructing a large stage next to the City Hall for the Pope´s visit in November. We soon find the same is happening all over the city including inside the Cathedral.
Several Camino friends rush over and there are lots of hugs, kisses and tears. I am happy to see Marcella, who is about to leave Santiago, and Tanya from Ireland and the two Slovakian sisters (one who knew everything about Canadian hockey). We have completed the Camino and we rejoice. Tomorrow Roberta, Rick and I will attend mass in the Cathedral. We say good bye to those leaving and go in search of the crowded building to receive our Compostela - a scroll given to all those who complete the pilgrimage. I am surprised to see my name written in Latin on my scroll. I have succeeded in my quest to walk a 788 pilgrimage!
Blessing from Santiago,
My personal thoughts for today - I want to say ‘Thank You’ to all who offered me encouragement along the trek - also super thanks to all of you who sponsored my Camino with a donation to Raise a Reader. Thank you, thank you. I have placed the rocks given to me at the portal of the Cathedral - may all your prayers and mine be answered. I entered the door of pardon to hug St. James (from behind) he faces the pews in the Cathedral and pilgrims approach from behind the altar. I whisper my tearful thanks to Him for keeping me safe and uninjured for the trek.