I walked into Santiago yesterday, so strictly speaking I’m no longer on the Camino. I walked on my own from where I had stayed last night, 20 Kms away. It was an easy walk. Said my rosary as I walked in the dark through the woods. Not that many people around, but it was 6.30 when I left. Got to Mount Gozo, which means mount of joy; it’s the first time you get to see Santiago. However, it was misty and so I didn’t see Santiago, 4 Kms away. Met Kieron, from Ireland. I’d met him in my hostel two days ago. He was excited to tell me that he’d come to the hostel to get wifi (it’s a problem in so many places) as he was applying for a job and that he’d got it. I felt so happy for him; it was a blessing. I’ve come to expect them.
Walked on for another hour through the busy modern streets of Compostella. Eventually arrived in the historic centre. Managed to find my way to the cathedral. A crowd of Americans called my name and cheered as I walked into the centre. It was an emotional moment. I welled up about an hour later when Kieron said “well done”. It was wonderful to be there and to see others arriving, some laughing, some crying, but everyone had arrived, some limping. We laugh at what we call the ‘Camino walk’: most of us are stiff and sore, so we waddle. One girl wanted me to take a photo of her jumping for joy.
The first thing to do was to get our certificate, this took a long time. You get a number and wait; it’s worth waiting for. Fortunately thanks to modern technology, and my phone in particular, you could scan your number and then watch as it slowly gets to your number:1280. this wasn’t till 6.30 in the afternoon. I went to mass in the evening. Visited the Carmelite nuns, whose Convent is close to my hotel. I’m treating myself to a hotel. I’ll visit the cathedral and St Jame’s tomb tomorrow; that’s the main reason why I’ve walked this way.
My American friend, Ken, treated me to a meal at a plush restaurant adjacent to the cathedral. He had walked all the way from France (st Jean Pied de Port) ; I don’t think his achievement had sunk it. It was a lovely way to spend what had been a special day, one that I had been waiting nineteen days to experience. I’m looking forward to the mass for pilgrims and of course to visiting the tomb.