DAY 32: Friday, June 26 2015 Santiago, Spain

After a luxurious long sleep and a wonderfully relaxed breakfast, we were off to the Pilgrim’s Office for our Compostelas. The line up was not too long. We were in and out within 45 min, much less time than the several hours about which we had been warned. We had the distinction of, today, being the oldest pilgrims to receive a Compostela for walking the entire Camino. A young Boy Scout from Portugal who was there with his troop asked to have a selfie with us. We can imagine the commentary to his presentation “….and these are some old people from Canada.”. The Mass was long and primarily in Spanish and Latin, but the meaning was clear—- gratitude for a safe journey, prayers for a good life on earth following the steps of our Lord, and life Eternal. With Mass there was also, communion. It was amazing how efficiently 2500 could receive the sacrament without the loss of sincerity. Truly, practise makes perfect. Centred at the back of the high altar there is a large statue of St. James. There seemed to be movement there. Every once in a while the top of a head would appear and then disappear. The oddest happening was when a pair of hands would encircle St. James’ throat. Finally, after our being quite diverted from prayer with watching this, Rod solved the mystery. There is an area to see both the sepulchre of St. James and the statue. All during the service people were entering a door behind the altar and either kissing the statue of St.James’ feet or embracing him from behind—the latter, from the pews looked like they were choking St. James. Surely, the church officials must know this happens…or are we the only ones to find this distracting….and we must admit, sort of funny? The cathedral is a large, cross shape with a very ornate altar. The organ pipes, alone would fill our little church in Ladysmith. St. James is variously depicted throughout the cathedral as either a gentle pilgrim ( sometimes by his expression he looks lost) or on horseback killing Moors with a large sword. At our service the cathedral was full with many standing or sitting on the floors. There seemed to be as many tourists as pilgrims. Regardless, it is a prayerful place and exudes a sense of awe. After the service, the prayers we have carried from home were put in a small wooden box and placed in the sacristy. They will be opened, read and prayers will be offered for each individually. Again, thank you for entrusting your prayers to us. After a little shopping followed by dinner ( remember dinner is at 8pm and later in Spain) we went to a Galician Folk music and dancing show. It was free and in a quaint old theatre just a few blocks from our hotel. We think it may have been a quasi political rally for an independent Galicia judging from the emotion and response of the audience. The musicians played drums, the gaita, an accordion, and tambourines. The melodies were all reminiscent of Gaelic music, the lyrics in Galego, and the dancing was a mix of lively footwork, individually and with partners. The solo dance resembled an Irish jig. The crowd and performers related so well that the gaiety was contagious and we enjoyed ourselves very much. Walking home we looked skyward for stars since this is Compostela, “the field of stars” but there was too much ambient light…..perhaps tomorrow night we will see the stars.

The view of the square in front of the Cathedral  of Santiago, the exact
The view of the square in front of the Cathedral of Santiago, the exact ” kilometre 0″ of the many different caminos that cross all of Europe. The day we arrived almost 700 pilgrams were recorded as recipients of the Compostela, the certificate of completion of the Camino.
What is special to us – this is the view from our room! We were able to do a lot of pilgrim watching.
That's Delana in the center, we are in the lineup to receive our Compostela ( certificate of completion).  What a picturesque area to wait!
That’s Delana in the center, we are in the lineup to receive our Compostela ( certificate of completion). What a picturesque area in which to wait.
The alter area of the cathedral.
The alter area of the cathedral. See the silver botafumeiro in the centre.

 

 

 

Pilgrams of all cloths attended the Pilgram's Mass
Pilgrim of all faiths attended the Pilgrims’MasS
The Galetian celebration we attended at a small local theatre. 25 singers and more than 15 pipers, drummers and dancers entertained a very local audience. How fortunate we were to have been told about it. We suspect we may have been the only non-locals in the crowd.
The Galician celebration we attended at a small local theatre. 25 singers and more than 15 pipers, drummers and dancers entertained a very local audience. How fortunate we were to have been told about it. We suspect we may have been the only non-locals in the crowd.
Pretty hard to see a field of stars with the Cathedral illuminated!  Note the difference between the newly cleaned tower and the middle, yet to be refurbished.
Pretty hard to see a field of stars with the Cathedral illuminated! Note the difference between the newly cleaned tower and the middle, yet to be refurbished.
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