Today we make the final push towards the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.
The distance is too far to make it there for the Pilgrim Mass at noon, but somehow I have this idea in my head that I should try and meet Sandra from Saskatoon. Maybe I can still make it for when Mass is over? So instead of taking it easy today, I am pushing it. Problem is, I did not have a good breakfast. I only had a tiny slice of bread for breakfast and when my blood sugar starts to plummet, I buy two apples at a stall close to the airport. I even get a nice scallop ornament with my stamp as well. I hear the planes, but never see the airport.
So at noon I reach the Santiago marker instead. Two Asian ladies ask me to take their picture and they return the favour. None of us use one word of English; only a lot of smiles and gestures.
By the time I need a break there is no café in sight. I sit down at the side of the road and eat the other apple. Beth and Cynthia pass me, restoring the natural order so to speak. Patti and Aquacena come by and we walk together until they take a wrong turn. No matter how hard I blow on the whistle to warn them, the wind is blowing in the opposite direction and they cannot hear me…
When I finally find a cafe, I see Tanja and Pam walk by. It is so weird, the stamp here insists on putting down April 2023 even when it looks like it should stamp the correct date. Later when I meet up with Laura she says she noticed it too. Camino magic?
I eat mainly egg and no starch, so I stop again and this time I have a croissant. Not being able to speak Spanish is not helping at all… Patti and Aquacena stop by and eat some lovely soup and salad. Laura joins us as well and we have a nice long rest before continuing together.
At Monte de Gozo (Hill of Joy) we meet up with Marina as well as Wendy (with her umbrella) from Alberta. She is Marina’s guardian angel for today. Marina has had a tough journey. She was ill when we started in O’Cebreiro and her foot has been giving her trouble for a while now. Today her shoe seems to be giving in. My one day of relative suffering is nothing to complain about. She had no choice in her affliction, while I feel I did it to myself.
We all have different obstacles to conquer. I admire Marina for her steadfastness, grit, determination as well as her insight, acceptance and contemplative nature. She showed us that obstacles are just that. It does not mean they cannot be maneuvered, side stepped and overcome. Here we are defintely rewarded in that we feel stronger when we persevere and reach the goal. Funny how that works…
We arrive at the Cathedral, the end point of our Camino by following the flags along the Rua de Entromuros. The size and age of the city is impressive and overwhelming. We are in awe and feel small and insicnificant.
The Cathedral is basking in the evening light and the ‘El Obradoiro’ Facade looks fantastic without any scaffolding. We are so fortunate to be here. We are happy we made it, but also sad that this journey is over.
I kept up with the rest of my group today, but I am tired and famished. I can only grab some tea and doughnuts before collapsing on my bed. I am not able to be part of any pilgrim reunion tonight. I am missing out…
So I Skype my parents instead. Here we are in the same time zone. We feel so much closer. It is just amazing that they can share this fantastic moment with me. I show them the gorgeous view of the ancient Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela I have from the window and they can even hear the clanging bells. Live!
I have arrived and I am happy.