let me start off by saying that I am writing these diary posts from my cell . So please excuse the format, look, possible grammatical errors, and feel of this presentation for normally I would have a laptop but wanted to disconnect is much as possible while walking the Camino de Santiago
Finally we made it into the small town of Salcedo. Tonight will be our last family dinner before heading into San Diego tomorrow. The thought of this ending kind of saddens me.
August 1, 2016: Salcedo – Santiago
It was a cold slow-moving morning. I have never liked when a vacation, adventure, or anything fun comes to an end and this was no exception.
So we trudged from town to town in the cold stopping from time to time to eat, rest, or just because.
One of the highlights is near the end called Monte De Gozo. It’s a monument to St. John Paul II and St. Francis of Assisi that overlooks the city of Santiago.
From there we made our descent into the city. We walked through the suburbs following James which is good since the markings were few and he had been there twice before.
Finally we entered Old Town Santiago. The old town is classic which I love. We would wander through the small streets amid the big crowds making our way to the cathedral. Finally we walked through the city arches into the main plaza before the cathedral. It was weird as I looked around at the random pockets of people and the million emotions that were flooding the streets. Some hugged their loved ones, others cheered, a few cried, and all while I sat in silence just observing.
From here we found our pensione and cleaned up before returning to the square to make our way to the pilgrims office to receive a certificate of completion.
From that point, James and I ran into previous characters from The Walk including Athena, Emily, Marie, Denis, Brian, and many others. It was great to see them all again and in such a happy moods.
That evening, James, Brian, Denis, and I celebrated with lots of beer and laughter as we all relaxed… Damn Irish!!
August 2, 2016: Santiago de Compostela
This morning was kind of a dream. I woke up around 8 a.m. and just kind of laid in bed. It’s kind of weird not getting up and walking. Around 10:30, I packed and went to the cathedral. It’s kind of an old-looking Cathedral inside compared to the others we had visited but it was nice nonetheless. After walking around, I got in line to see the Sepulchre of St. James. You enter from behind the Altar and climb first up to the big statue where I touched it while others hugged it. Then you go down beneath the altar to see the tomb of St. James. You enter into a small room where you look through iron bars at his tomb. To be honest, it was kind of anti-climactic for me. I guess I will always remember the walk far more than the destination.
Then I went to the pilgrim mass at noon. We were all there. The mass was nice but the highlight was at the end when they swung the giant incense burner. As everyone watched it all, I finally felt something…a second of soft happiness.
After mass, I ran back to my pensione to grab my gear. It was time for me to leave. I said goodbye to Susanne and Ayeisha first and then James and Saoirse. They all meant a lot to me on this walk and it was hard to say goodbye as I hug them. Perhaps I will be lucky enough to meet them again in life but for now, they will all be great characters in my life story.
Now it is time to walk the Camino Finisterre & Muxia.
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