San Marcos to Santiago on October 23rd

We had arranged to meet the Australian brothers on the way into Santiago.  They asked if we could walk into Santiago with friends.  That was such a nice thing that the four of us were really touched.  So, we got up early and started walking the last five or so kilometers without breakfast.  We had to stop at the Pilgrim statues at Monte de Gozo.  This is where the Pope visited Santiago and celebrated with thousands of Catholic youth and others.  We left in the dark and found our way.  Ag spotted the statues in the morning light.  Pictures and then to Santiago.  We took a shortcut that worked out and we were early but the brothers were waiting.  We walked to cathedral and more pictures.  Ag was not feeling great but we were happy to have finished.  Breakfast of coffee and cake.  We found the hotel and it was not ready for us.  We went to the Pilgrim Office and got the compostelas and a certificate showing we walked 775 kilometers from St. Jean Pied de Port to Santiago.  We think it was more.  The compostelas are in latin and so are our names.  Nice.  Our hotel was ready when we returned in an hour.  Ag wanted to rest so I went out to get two BLTs at an Italian restaurant that we will go to tomorrow night.  We left for the 7:30 mass at 6:30 and got seats where we could see the botafumiero.  Mass was packed.  There were bells at the consecration and smells when the big incense burner was swung up to the top of the cathedral. Looked better in the movie but still impressive.  Ag left the cathedral before mass started because she wasn’t feeling well.  After mass Linda, Helen and I met the brothers at the Parador.  This is a five star hotel that they booked at a pilgrim rate that was still pretty steep.  After fifty days of bunk beds they felt they deserved a nice place for the end of their Camino. They will walk to Finisterre and Muxia over the next six days.  That will take them to the sixty days they allotted for their walk in Spain.  We missed Doris but Susan met us at the Parador.  Tam and Harry won’t get to Santiago still tomorrow.  James and Lydia came by the tapas bar to say hello and goodbye.  They’re sorry to have missed Ag.  They leave for Madrid tomorrow then Morocco then East Asia.  Nice.  Linda, Helen and I made it back to the hotel after a wrong turn.  We will go to the mass in English at 10:30 and then some sightseeing.  Another grand day on the Camino.

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