TO SANTIAGO – JULY 3RD

Today was the day!

Just like every other morning we awoke in our albergue and packed our sleeping bags and liners. We sorted through our clothes, smelling them all to find the least stinky ones to wear for the day.

The only noticeable difference for Karis and I up until this point, was putting on our flip flops, and packing our boots. Mom hung on to wearing her boots for one more day. She has a nasty sore toe. The whole end fell off this morning and she has a terrible, deep crack on the underside.

We had five kilometres to walk until we reached the cathedral. Such an easy morning stroll. We stopped for breakfast after 4.5km and then continued in. The cathedral is breathtaking. Even though they are doing construction on it now, it is unbelievable to see.

It was neat to see the many pilgrims rejoicing in front of the cathedral. People that we have seen along the way. Three men that were in our albergue room last night had met up with some pilgrims that they obviously had met throughout the previous weeks and were cheering and taking pictures together. Great to see the excitement.

We continued on towards the pilgrim office – a short walk past the cathedral. We were very happy and relieved to see that the line to obtain our Compestella was quite short. We filled out a form stating our name, country, city and province, starting location and reason for completing the camino. (Religious, spiritual or other) at first, when I was passed my Compestella, I thought she had written my name wrong. Right as I was about to ask her to correct it, I realized that it was written in Latin. I shall now be called Joannam Catharinam. 😉

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Once we received our Compestella, we made our way to Saint Frances church which houses monks. There we were able to collect a second Compestella. Having completed our walk on a holy year, this was a rare gift.

Karis had been wanting to stay in a Pension throughout our camino. (A room in a house) Today we decided to stay in one. We found it while walking downtown by the cathedral. An almost unnoticeable staircase leading up between two stores. As Karis and I were looking in a store window, Mom disappeared up the staircase. We followed and found her talking with a Spanish lady who spoke with a flurry of words we could not understand. She showed us to a room with three single beds. Mom and I were happy (enough). The price and location were fabulous and compared to some of the places we have stayed this last month – it was great! Karis wasn’t as impressed as us, but it’s growing on her!

After cleaning up and leaving our packs, we set out to wander the streets. So many camino gift shops. Beautiful gifts and Spanish crafts. We had lunch in a very good restaurant and wandered some more. We watched what we assumed was a Spanish music group filming their music video. That was fun!

So many churches, monasteries, old beautiful buildings. As we walked through a side door of a church, we were surprised to find that it was the cathedral. We hadn’t been in yet. Absolutely exciting to see this. We plan to go to mass tomorrow evening so we will have a better experience then, but we did see/do all of the “pilgrim rituals” while we were in there. We walked past the pillar with the worn hand print (pilgrims are no longer permitted to touch it), observed the stone statue of where you collect your wisdom by taping your forehead three times against the statues forehead, hugged the Saint James statue and walked down underground to see Saint James’ shrine (saint James was one of Jesus’ apostles)

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After many more hours of walking throughout the streets, people (pilgrim) watching and snacking on fruit and ice cream, we are settled back in at our pension. Mom and Karis are asleep as I blog, and I can hear the many people below us in the streets through our open window. Excited for tomorrow, which will probably be my last blog day. Almost time to head home. What a journey.

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