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Published: October 24th 2016
Today I woke after a pretty restless sleep. I can only put it down to the end of the Way as i had a comfy bed in a nice room. I had breakfast in an empty eating area, ( the receptionist said they rarely have people eating at 7.15am), and made a few calls to family.Missed mum but I tried.
After breakfast I wandered through a sleeping Santiago and savoured what is the best time of the day. The light, or lack of it, highlights the many ornate features adorning buildings, statues, light posts , in fact, pretty much everything. The opportunity to visit many sites that are normally busy exists and you have ample time to really take in the town. I couldn't even drop off my backpack, it was so early; I had to wait until 9am.
While it was so early, I took the opportunity to book into San Martín Pinario, an old seminary now functioning as accommodation. It is beautiful and I secured a single 'pilgrim' room with its own bathroom for €23 a night, breakfast included; the word 'pilgrim' is the only cause for concern here. Will I be peeling potatoes or washing pots
to make up the difference? Jokes aside, to me it's like a poor man's Parador. I can't wait!
I met John at about 11am as planned, he likes a bit of a sleep in, and we went to the midday pilgrims mass. It was conducted in Latin and I regret to say that the 2 years of 'tuition' from the Salesians in my developing years, ensured the mass may as well have been in korean for all the good it did me.
Fortunately, as I'm sure often happens these days, some kind soul , or flock of souls, my term again but Macquarie will adopt it in due course, paid for the mystical Botafumerio to be lit and swung high above our heads. Traditionally, the Botafumerio was used in pilgrim times to rid the cathedral of their smell and to assist in fumigating their infested bodies; possibly not much has changed. Large groups of tourists are usually responsible for the payment ( about €300 I believe), and why not, if you're on a short trip you really want to see it all. I was approached today by an elderly British lady today ( she could have been younger
than me, I'm no judge) who threw me a strange question. "Where does the Camino start?". I told her mine started in France but people come from many places. " No, Where does everyone it start right now?" Oh, I see, well hers started next to me on a side road and, following my directions, finished 200 meters away in the Plaza. She happily headed in the right direction and completed her walk. I'm realising more and more that this is different for everyone; even those who walk side by side.
Proof of this occurred as I was ordering lunch today at a Bar near the entrance to the beautiful gardens. I saw a man sitting alone enjoying a cervarza larga, a large beer, and eating a roll. Bloody Ken Taylor, a 76yo Scotsman on his 9th Camino. He was here in 2014. I approached him and he couldn't believe it. This is a man who can't get enough of the comeradery, friendship and sense of spiritual purpose that the Way provides. This year he is doing the Portugese Route all the way to Muxia, so we will stay in the same village tomorrow night, Negreira.
everything the Camino means to me, and his thoughts and advice are gold. His life has been enriched by the Way and he always says it's his last Camino, and he always returns.
Well, I'm heading out for dinner. John's not too hungry but something light must be nearby, adios for now, Steve.
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