The last day of the actual pilgrimage was one of anticipation. Hiking along we waited for the first sighting of Santiago. Pat and Jean looking for the top of the cathedral.
Along the streets of Santiago, we walked and I watched and waited.
Soon, I could see the prize ahead.
To say we were overwhelmed by the size, beauty and grandeur of the cathedral would be quite an understatement!
There really are no words that will describe the magnificence of the buildings that make up the Cathedral of Santiago.
***** My heart was very full of gratitude and joy. *****
The following day, we made a plan to go to the Pilgrims Office and to present our credentials.
Our pilgrim passport had been stamped at most places where we ate, and especially where we slept.
This became the "proof" that we had at least hiked the required path to receive our Compostela.
The journey was complete but we planned to stay a few days in Santiago, and take a day trip to Finistere before beginning our trip back to the states. Finistere is considered by some the westernmost point in Spain.
But it was time to begin our return and it started with a long bus trip from Santiago back to Lisbon. We enjoyed the city for another day, and thought of all that had happened since September 2, and our start of the Camino Portuguese.
This enjoyable day included a trip to the botanical gardens, and the pond just outside of the gardens.
The always interesting Banana tree.
A lovely pair of Black Swans.
Our flight back to Boston included a stop in the Azores, in the city of Ponto del Gado. It was an unexpected treat to visit here. Very quick stop for an overnight, but a quaint look at this island paradise.
The lovely footnote to end our trip was the fact that everywhere we went that final day, we saw the Bird of Paradise in bloom.
Well, there will be much reflection and writing about the time on the Camino Portuguese. It was a lovely journey in so many ways, but the image that stands out the most right now includes the faces of the lovely Portuguese people and the other pilgrims, and all the help they offered to us. We were provided with everything we needed along the way.
Special thanks to our friends Pat and Jean for including us on this journey of self-exploration and spiritual awareness. We will always be grateful. Thanks for all the moments you waited for us to catch up to you!
And as always, my special thanks to my partner who has walked beside me many miles and many years. Bom Camino!
Tomorrow, we will enter Santiago as Pilgrims who have completed the Camino, Santiago de Compestela. I am happy it will be Sunday when we arrive. We have hiked through 70 kilometres of Spain (about 50 miles) and noticed some changes from Portugal. More Cathedrals, more crosses along the Way, almost no road walks, fewer cobblestones, and perhaps better coffee. Continuing the posting as I have been doing, I will share a few annotated photos of our hiking time in Spain:
Hard to see but five here in one spot.
Some more vegetation - Fig tree
Vegetable used in every soup. Somewhat like our Kale.
Gathering the grapes. This man insisted we each have a bunch to eat!
Pictures On the trail.
Corn storage crib
Name of a very sweet chapel we visited
Town across a river
The walk inside the town
Jean was taking a picture of Latona playing her imaginary guitar and "On the Road Again".
Now a special thing to share. We were told by another Pilgrim that we could take an alternate route called the Variant Espiritual and travel a portion of the Camino by boat. It would take us through a bay from Vilanova de Arousa, an estuary and then up the Ulla River to Padron. We would be able to travel the water route used to bring the remains of St. James back to Spain for burial.
In addition, we were able to see the mussel farming platforms that are numerous and belong to families of the area. This prevents large corporations from trying to usurp the business.
*****Here is a quote from our brochure. "In 44 AD the estuary of Arousa was crossed by the ship carrying the body of the apostle St. James. His remains were taken by his followers, who led by an angel and guided by a star arrived at the coast of Galicia and climbed the bed of the river Ulla until reaching the village of Padron."
We saw the historic sites as we traveled up the river toward Padron.
So tomorrow is the big day. We finish the actual hiking into Santiago with about nine miles to complete our Pilgrimage. I wish I could tell you all I have learned but I am personally thankful that this Walk is one of faith and forgiveness!