Never really thought thought I’d make it
But I’m sitting in a bar in Santiago while a Spaniard smokes outside the open door and still manages to blow smoke INSIDE
But my new found spiritually means I take this in my stride…..
After resting up in Monte del Gozo last night, it was a short 4km stroll into the city for The Fellowship.
We came in individually rather than in a grou.p.
I don’t know how the others reacted but I’m ashamed to say I was a little overwhelmed
The Cathedral comes upon you almost unexpectedly You round a corner and there it is.
I found it difficult to take another step and had to have a few moments with hands on knees and then covering my face as I thought about -well a lot if things really
A tough climb from France across a mountain path into Spain; my first Albuergue experience in a monastery; Pilgrim menus, bedbugs, hot days, , a night in a village almost alone, the milky way, sunrises, sunsets, tipico liqueurs, Spanish brandy, another tough climb to the highest point, awkward Galiciian barkeepers, cool fountains in hot deserted villages, acts of kindness from strangers, cheese,chorizo , a 25. Km Roman Road with just me on it.
And friends, who after just 4 weeks I may never see again and will miss more than I thought was possible.
The great thing about this Camino is the way others accept what you want to do
So if you want to walk solo (and most days I did) you can do just that.
If you want to be part of a group then that works out ok as well.
Most of us attended Mass in the Cathedral where we were lucky enough to witness the swinging of the giant incense burner called the Botafumeiro.
It took about half a dozen men hauling on ropes to get the thing swinging high into the nave, almost as high as the ceiling.
It was originally used to mask the smell of sweaty pilgrims.
It’s now used to, well, mask the smell of sweaty pilgrims.
An awesome sight. The thing swung directly over me. You feel like its going to smash into you
When the men stop pulling it, the burner eventually slows and then their top ‘keeper steps out like he’s Casillas in a penalty shoot out.
He waits for this giant silver football to swing back towards him..grabs the chains on the side and brings it safely to a halt
“yeah well I was pretty confidant I was gonna stop it Gary,” he said in a local TV sports interview
“It’s like what I always say, Gary, a keeper can’t really lose in them situations. If he stops the incense bowl then he’s preserved a 500 year tradition. If he gets it wrong and gets it on the face , well it’s a one way ticket to martyrdom innit?”
Think my final post will be a shout out to those who , in their own ways , made this one of the best experiences of my life