Today 1,059 peregrinos registered with the Pilgrims’ Office in Santiago. Six of them were the Lazios and Carns. To get here, we walked differing numbers of miles — I got in about 367, since Pamplona. The requirement, to gain a Compostela/certificate of completion, is 100 kilometer, or about 60 miles, and they have to be at a minimum from Sarria to Santiago on foot (or horseback or bicycle; the requirements of slightly different for them than for walkers).
Our morning started out cold (maybe in the 40s) with a mist/fog hanging over the valleys.We walked through the eucalyptus woods. One guidebook characterizes them as oases of peace; another suggests that they are invasive, sucking the nutrients from the chestnuts and pines, and dropping sloppy amounts of bark and leaves. But they’ve tall and leafy and smell good. The path itself had dried remarkably well, after four days of rain with only the occasional mud patch to avoid.
For the last day, there were many people along the way, and now and again we would see someone from yesterday, or a few days ago, or even weeks earlier. We sang a Camino song to a sea chanty tune (Regina says for her sea chanty group, there must be something about ships and water; the Camino has water but no ships). The trees shaded us enough that we didn’t have to put on sun screen. But mid-morning, the air had warmed enough from the sun that we started shedding layers of clothing, but later in the afternoon we had to put most of them back on again.
We got to town about 4:00 and climbed a (yet another) steep hill to the place that we’d reserved months earlier — a bungalow on a campground at the edge of the city. It’s “cozy” and it’s certainly fits a “roughing it” style, with minimalist furnishings and rough walls made of pressboard and paint. But it has a heater and wi-fi, and tonight at least we are so tired that we don’t care about much else.
Our next stop was the Pilgrims’ office for our compostelas — our certificate of completion. We waited in line for a long time with dozens of other peregrinos who made their first stop the office rather than a bath or beer. We were given sheets with questions about ourselves (age, country, state, gender, occupation) and a question about why we did the pilgrimage. If one says “religious or spiritual,” one is given the Compostela. I the the answer is something like culture, history, adventure — things like that — one receives a certificate of completion.
We took our celebratory photos in front of the cathedral, ate more pizza and pasta for dinner — good, homemade crust and excellent toppings, and back to our respective domiciles. We’ll meet again tomorrow at 11:00, to get a place in the cathedral from which to share in the Pilgrims Mass at noon. We get to sleep in, and eat a leisurely breakfast, and after Mass, we can shop and sightsee. The camping place will do laundry for us — another luxury.
So we made it — too tired to give much expression to our feelings about the accomplishment — we’ll say more tomorrow.
Thanks to all of you for being such friendly support — it would have been harder to do without you, and a good deal less fun — Teri, Jim, Regina and Anthea
A wooded path.
A wayside stand, full of peregrino delights – fruit, hats, walking sticks, jewelry.
Cat on a wall, waiting for mice.
John Deere, on the move in a small village, filling every inch of the street.
Santiago in the distance, from Monte del Gozo. It was called Mount of Joy because from here one could see the spires of the cathedral — today had too much mist/fog/clound over the city.
Standing in line to get our certificates — took about half an hour to get through.
Peg and Tom at the goal — Santiago Cathedral.
Anthea with her Compostela certificate –leaping for joy with her backpack on.
Teri and Jim in front of the Santiago Cathedral.
Galician sunset over Santiago.