Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Wrapping up the Camino

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One more Pilgrim statue!

The Camino is now completed for us. We arrived in Santiago on Tuesday - Sept 25th. This is well ahead of our original expectation. Our last three days were in drizzle or pouring rain. We ended up taking a hotel with a bathtub! Fantastic! Our first order of business was eating, as we only had hot drinks all day to get in out of the rain. We then collected our big boxes that we had mailed from Pamplona and went to collect our Compostella and had a quick walk through the Cathedral.  In the evening we celebrated joyfully with about 40  pilgrim friends in a seafood restaurant.  
The next day we attended Mass in the Cathedral which was wonderful. I was so happy at the end I wanted to clap but thought it not appropriate. When the entire congregation started clapping I was happy to join in and clapped like seal. ( this is me very happy) . Before the mass began a singing Nun came to the dias and did a short singing lesson to prepare the congregation to sing the chorus of an anthem.  ( which was then very beautiful during the service with her singing and a choir and full congregation joining in) At the beginning of the mass, the priest did a Pilgrim's blessing which listed the Nationalities and number of Pilgrims from each country. This tally is from the previous 24 hours of  Pilgrims registering to receive their Compostellas. (certificate)
The swinging of the giant silver incense fumar over the congregation was very special.
We could not understand much of the service as it was in Spanish, but it was still a  beautiful experience.
On this second day we also moved to the Monastery for a room there. Wonderful beds with great linens, big treat. We will stay there for our last few days as well.
Many pilgrims go on to Finesterre  ( end of the earth), just like in the movie; and so must we.
I went by bus to a little town called Cee, 12km before Finesterre with a new friend Magdalen from Slovenia. We had the evening and our alburgue there and walked to Finisterre the next day. Beautiful coastal walk with a long stretch of beach in bare feet of course.
Lori  decided to walk the 120 km with the Australian family from Santiago. She was up for the extra walk but my feet were not, so we each went our separate chosen paths.  Funny enough we both thought we would be going to Moxia ( pronounced moo-she-yah) and we both did not make it. They finally decided it was too many long walks and for me the bus was not running to there on the week end.
We did however get to connect all together again for another slap up seafood feast in Finisterre. A surprise and happy reunion. Having iPhones and many WiFi spots has been a huge support for us. I would never travel without one. 
I did the walk to Faro for the sunset and ritual clothing burning with Magdalen and closed the local bar drinking hot milk and brandy. I am so happy I met her, and just in the bus station as I was leaving Santiago. This is the magic of " The Way". You make new friends every day. I would have otherwise found the Faro celebration lonely.
Lori did her Faro celebration with the Australians the next day while I was busing back to Santiago.

As I write this ( Oct 2nd) Lori and I are on a five hour bus ride to Porto, Portugal. It is raining, so a good day to spend traveling. Everyone gushes about how wonderful this city is, so I think we will stay at least two days.
Stay tuned for the next chapter of our European Adventure.
We had a late night out again with our  Pilgrim friends, including our dear Australians ( Julie, Collin, and their daughter Kelly). It is hard to say good bye. El Camino is bitter sweet for this reason only. Many email
addresses have been exchanged however, so hopefully we can stay in

Here are a few pics from both of our Finisterre  experiences .


photo (57) On the way to Finasterra

photo (59) Walking the beach to Finisterre with Magdalen.

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photo (56)

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I waved to all my friends and relatives in North America while sitting on the edge of Europe.

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