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Published: November 23rd 2016
Ultreia - Greeting used by pilgrims during middle ages
The hiking sticks symbolic of the camino over the centuries. Word is a mix of Latin and old French language. 'Go upper, go farther."
4 October 2016, Tuesday, Ride back to Santiago. 2 1/2 hours by taxi instead of 4 days walking.
This last blog is sent the day before Thanksgiving! A good time to express our thankfulness for a safe journey and our blessing to you all.
Rain - we awake to rain and again think how fortunate we were to have had such good weather! Our breakfast turns out to be very nice with some of the best tortes and pastries we have had.
Our spreadsheet clearly showed no luggage transfer. We initially thought it did and had bought bus tickets, then, we decided lugging bags on a bus was not our idea of a fun day. So at 0700 Harlan was up, walked down to the bus stop in the rain to try and sell our 15 Euro bus tickets to Santiago for 10 Euros each. Many people said. "no they would pay 15 euros and buy on the bus." But, finally Harlan was able to convince a young woman to buy one ticket. Two others quickly followed, relieving him of the tickets and cutting our loss to only 15 Euros not 45.
We had called Loncho taxi
service with whom Karen had ridden with from Negreira to Olveiroa. The son of the owner of the taxi company met us at the hotel at about 1000 and we loaded bags and back packs and were on our way. The day stayed rainy and cool as we moved along the highways and freeways into Santiago back to Hotel Pazo de Altamira. We left our bags at reception and went to have lunch while awaiting our rooms to be ready.
In the afternoon we went to the big church in the university district, Igrexa da Compania, where there was an exhibit on the Codex Calixtinus. This former Jesuit church has been deconsecrated and is now used as an exhibition hall. The Codex was an anthology of a number of books that included details and advice for pilgrims following the Way of St. James to the shrine of the apostle. The work included descriptions of the route, works of art to be seen along the way, and the customs of the local people.
Dinner was at a good tapa restaurant. For 10E we picked a wonderful selection of tasty little plates, so artistically presented. It was hard to practice
a little will power as all the food was so appealing.
5 October 2016, Wednesday, day in Santiago de Compostela.
Amazing how walking around town you will still cover 4.5 miles. It was nice to sleep in and not have bags ready by 0800.
Breakfast of coffee, bread, cheese and ham (have we mentioned this before) oh, and a tomato today. We left for the cathedral to get an early seat for Father Joe's 1030 English language mass. Alas, upon arrival we learn it is Father Joe's day off, so we went directly to the Pilgrims Museum.
This museum covers the history of pilgrimages from early Greek and Hebrew days. Worldwide religions and the pilgrimages for each of them on many continents are featured.
It is very well done. There is, of course, more on the historical references to the apostle James the Greater and his mission in Iberia after the death of Christ. Much of what we saw and read here was the same information as we used for our five week Lenten series at church.
Will try to include website of museum. (www.museoperegrinacions.xunta.gal) We spent 3 hours viewing the exhibits on 4
Hotel Pazo de Altamira
As seen from the market
floors. Karen here: I think the museum did an exceptional job of depicting James in his many persona: "his image was adapted to the different devotional and political needs of the moment, by combining different aspects of his status as an apostle, pilgrim and knight."
In the oldest images of the Saint he appeared very like the other apostles - tunic and cloak, holy book, bare feet or sandals.
By the 12th century he was portrayed as a pilgrim using a long staff, hat, cape and scallop shells.
The third model represents him as a Christian knight. The Christians were having a hard time driving the Moors from Iberia and James was seized upon as a perfect soldier in the fight against the infidels. He would be depicted on a white horse with a shield, sword and standard leading the Christian troops. A totally different image from that of pilgrim or apostle.
Earlier this year we had a little discussion with our pastor as we would discuss each week what we would be covering for each coming segment of the Lenten series. He was not so comfortable about talking about James being portrayed as a Moorslayer.
Favorite corner room overlooking the market
Hotel Pazo de Altmira in Santiago de Compostela
Well, my training as a historian came to the fore and I thought how was one to explain all the statues and art depicting this side of James. Unfortunately famous people, icons, will be used in many ways for many purposes! Just imagine James the evangelist looking down and seeing himself being portrayed as a bloody killer! Such is history, sometimes twisted by church and state to suit their own purposes at the moment. Many regard history as dull but start digging and one will find the causes of much of our history to be not what it appears on the surface! Harlan here: and history is also written from the perspective and bias of the writer to the exclusion of many other facts and factors. Can you tell I was NOT a history major!
Back to Harlan: Then after a White Horse Tavern soup and salad lunch we worked on the blog and packed awaiting our 1930 rendezvous with Bob Carlsen, Rachel and Pam. We would then go to Restaurante Porta Faxeira for dinner. Now you might be thinking, "And who are these people?" Bob started reading our Camino Frances blog last year and had been in contact
with Harlan the last year as he prepared for his Camino. Rachel is a good friend of our daughter-in-law. We had met her in North Carolina during the past year.
We met by the horse fountain near the pilgrims' entrance to the cathedral. Seems most folks believed it was in the big square in front instead of the southeast side but we all managed to find one another. Rachel was first so she went back to get Pam. Their Irish friend was a no show. Bob was a little harder to find. I saw his Green North Face jacket above and walked up to ask if he were Bob so that worked. We then walked to the restaurant.
We had a table for eight but Bob did not have his wife as I had thought and Rachel's friend from Ireland who they met walking the Camino did not come until we were almost finished eating. I ordered a bottle of Cava, a sparkling wine like champagne, Then we had dinner. We learned that Bob was a retired civil engineer who had worked with the military on many facilities projects around the world. He had spent most of his
Hotel dining room, restaurant and bar
Hotel Pazo de Altamira where we would have breakfast
career in the Washington, D.C. area. He had been following our blogs from last year and communicated with us and then with Rachel. The Camino Grapevine is a wondrous thing! Due to an injury early on his Camino he saw more of many of the places along the Camino Frances than we had.
Rachel's friend, Pam, is from Texas and if I remember correctly, recently retired. They had a wonderful Camino and we shared stories about people we had met or heard about and sometimes both; we met folks they heard about and vice verse.
Karen again: Two writing one blog is quite an undertaking! So many have queried, "Are you going to do another Camino?" And the truthful answer is, "We do not know!" After our first Camino I would most definitely say, "No!!" But the lessons and insights for that journey took awhile to percolate through our beings. The Frances and Portugeuse Caminos are so different they can not be compared. I think there are unique experiences to be gained on each, as well as lessons to be learned from each. We wait to learn our lessons and insights from the second journey.
end this 'last supper' in Santiago (we left our hotel at 0435 the next morning for the airport) I wrote some words to "I did it my way."
And so this journey's done
We traveled on Camino byways.
We left each day at dawn
and walked to find our next albergue.
We met new friends each day
and bid them the 'Buen Camino' phrase,
and so to all we say,
I did it my way.
DEDICATION: To our two granddaughters - Madeline Knight and Emily Quinn, may they have pilgrim feet, love for their
fellow pilgrims through life and curiosity that will enrich their lives. Buen Camino to each of them.
P.S. Traveling home Karen gets off the plane, in Chicago, to help our daughter for several days as she has broken her wrist. Four days turns into fourteen days and, still in pilgrim mode, she has only what is in her backpack 😊
P.S.S. Five days home, and still recovering from mountain climbing, sloshing along the beaches of Spain and Portugal, and counting down the kilometres, Karen dashes into Costco to
pick up a forgotten item. A lad charges into her and in an attempt to not knock him over, she tries to "dance around" him, loses her balance and falls to the cement floor resulting in a broken hip. The good news is Karen had an excellent surgeon and now believes she has an outstanding caregiver at home. He is also a good cook! We are truly blessed! May you have a happy holiday season and Buen Caminos!
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