Santiago September 23

I thought we would sleep late but we were both up and ready to go for breakfast by 7:30.

What a treat today having breakfast without rushing to “get on the trail.”  About halfway through our meal, however, I realized I felt exhausted. I had very little energy and felt numb. The words “washed out” came to mind. It was as if Jesus were saying, “I carried  you this far, now you are back on your own.” I don’t think I could have walked 200 yards. How fortunate, I thought, that we had these two days just to relax and let our bodies recover.

After breakfast we headed out to find the Pilgrims Office to get our Compostella (official record of completing the Camino).

This took us by the rear of the Cathedral.

We then continued around to the side entrance, which is what everyone must use now because the front of the Cathedral is going through a major renovation.

Luckily, the Pilgrims Office is just down the street from this entrance.

We were two of the first people there and very quickly went through the process of getting our Compostellas.

When we came out we ran into the couple from Amsterdam who had walked all  the way from there (four and one half months) with their dog. Although we had seen them almost daily for the last three weeks, we never got their names, but I was finally smart enough to get a couple of pictures.

The husband was particularly delighted with the “skip and go naked (it’s actually a form of drink)” button John gave him from  Jake’s Seafood Restaurant in Tamworth, NH.

By the time we had finished talking with this couple, the line to the Pilgrims Office was getting quite long.

Off we went to our next stop: the Cathedral  for the noon Pilgrims Mass. We went last night and there was a large crowd (the Mass, though in Spanish, was wonderful) so we knew we better get there by 11:00 if we wanted good seats.

The experience was well worth the wait.

The Cathedral was over flowing with pilgrims. The sanctuary as imposing as I had imagined.

I don’t know if you can see the censer hanging in front of the altar and about ten feet in front of it. Here’s a view from a different angle.

Once the Mass started, the music was excellent, the Liturgy of the Eucharist spell binding (or so it seemed to me), and then right before the final prayer…

I don’t know why, but I cried. This symbolized the Santiago I had been looking forward to. This was a wonderful way to celebrate our accomplishment, with thousands of other pilgrims, giving thanks to the Lord.

This was the right way to end our pilgrimage.