Thursday, October 12, 2023

The Finale


Day 70 - Santiago de Compostela

    We made it.  It was such a blessing to have Calvin, Sassa and Manny walk the entire last day with us.  Toast with fresh salsa spread was the breakfast of choice for most of our party.  The name of the town we stayed was Lavacolla; it was the customary place where pilgrims bathed in the stream before their final walk to the cathedral. 

     Because of our short distance to the end, it was a smaller crowd this morning, which was fine with us.  Much of our walk was through forest and farmland.  Some of our friends passed us and everyone was in an excited mood.  A few miles from the city the trail crested a ridge and provided a view of the city.  The last miles were almost effortless, as our bodies and psyche sensed the end.

     Entering the cathedral square, serenaded by bagpipes and holding hands, brought a flood of emotion and euphoria.  It was hard to believe that the journey was finally over.  The square was filled with elated pilgrims; cheering, hugging and taking pictures with everyone. Many just laid on the cobblestones against their packs and sat in silence, soaking in the majestic cathedral and the end of their quest.

     The official certification process at the pilgrim office went surprisingly quick.  The lady who helped me was extremely talkative, spending 20 minutes talking to us about our accomplishment and what to expect when we get home.  We were given official certificates; one to declare completion and one to document our 1000 miles.  We celebrated with our last pilgrim menu at lunch, and then found our apartment.

     In the evening, we toured the courtyards of the Ritz Carlton hotel next to the square, and walked to a park that overlooks the cathedral complex.  We topped the night off with pincho and vino bar which features a buffet of little portions.  

     Tomorrow we say goodbye to Calvin, Sassa and Manny who have been such a blessing in our final days of the Camino.  Esther and I have been brainstorming words that encapsulate our experience these past two months.  So far we have come up with ‘Amazing, Challenging and Rewarding’. We are extremely grateful to God for the opportunity to have this adventure, and for giving us health and safety these last 70 days.


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