Published: June 4th 2012June 4th 2012
We actually reached Santiago on a very wet Saturday morning on June 2nd, but we decided to stay just outside the old city as we wanted to walk to the cathedral with the dawn on Sunday morning. I´m sure thatr this was the correct decision as the rain had stopped on Sunday and we didn´t have to walk in with the hoards of other pilgrims who were arriving on Saturday! Anyway, true to form I´ll give you the day by day details for the final part of the journey!
Fri June 1st Arzua - Arca de Pino 22kms
Had a nice walk in the morning and had breakfast in Calzada, but after that the rain started.
It was incredibly humid so we just covered the rucksacks with waterproofs, not ourselves. We had a lot of thunder but no lightning. I think that John Brierley (author of the book we´re using) had got his distances all mixed up. He must have been very tired by the time he reached Galicia and I can sympathise! we came across the Japanese couple who we hd kept meeting intermittently along the route ever since Logroño, which now seems an age away!
Finally reached the albergue Porta de Santiago which was very nice. After showers and clothes washing we went for lunch. As we´re in Galiciia, I thought I´d order langoustines. They were the most enormous I´d ever seen and there were loads of them! Washed down with a couple of glasses of Albariño, they were heavenly!! Spent the afternoon reading as it was just too hot for anything else.
Sat June 2nd Arca de Pino - Santiago 21kms
On the road by 7am. We were quite surprised by the pleasantness of the walk through Eucalyptus woodland. Saw the Canadian ladies at our breakfast stop. Wewalked past santiago Airport, but as it was very cloudy, we couldn´t see a lot.
It began to drizzle as we climbed the final rise of our Camino - the Monte de Gozo. We decided to share a long promised Soberano (Brandy) with our hot chocolates. It was rather wonderful and gave us the energy to pound the pavements of the suburbs of Santiago!
It seemed very strange to actually arrive in Santiago. I wasn´t sure what I felt, it was a weird mixture of emotions, but I felt that once we reached the Cathedral it might be clearer. We booked into a very nice albergue in St Lazaro and had a quiet afternoon, reading.
Sun June 3rd Santago Cathedral - The last entry!!
As I mentioned earlier, we walked into the cathedral area early in the morning asnd it aws certainly very quiet. We canme across Dan from Ireland who´d been in santiago for a couple of days. we reached the cathedral and it seemed a bit forbidding in the cold grey morning light. We booked into a very nice hotel San Miguel, having rejected the rather run-down and smelly albergue at which we had planned to stay!
We decided to go to the 10am mass because there was going to be a choir singing and a Cardinal from Montevideo (not sure whether it was Spain or South America!) officiating. What a difference light, beautiful music and people made to the atmosphere in tyhe cathedral! It was absolutely packed! The choir were superb and sang a Haydn mass with which I´m not familiar, but the wonderful accoustics of the cathedral certainly did it justice!
At the end of the mass the great Bota Fumeiro (with which those of you who watched the film "The Way" will be familiar. For those who didn´t, it´s the huge Censor for incense which is suspended from the ceiling) was swung across the nave. Traditionally it was supposed to have been used to dull the stink of the newly arrived pilgrims!! It´s only rarely swung now, so we were lucky to see it! After mass we went to embrace the statue of St James and had to remember to give a special embrace for the people back in Grañon who had helped us out all those weeks ago!!
We then wet to the Pilgrim office to get our Compostelas - A certificate written in Latin to prove that we had completed the Pilgrimage. We felt quite proud of ourselves! After that it aws back to the hotel for a long soak in the bath!
The real highlight of the day was when we realised that there was goig to be a concert in the Cathedral that night -a performance of Monteverdi´s "Vespers"! I can´t think iof a better and more beautiful piece of choral music to be performed. It´s one of my favourite pieces and I´ve had the privilege of having sung it twice. Needless to say it was a fanastic performance and I think that it is a fitting highlght on which to complete this Blog. Thankyou to all of you who have had the patience to read it!