about 3 miles into Santiago, all downhill to the city boundary.
Through the modern suburb, into the old medieval town.
Following the yellow arrows and the shell, the Pilgrim’s symbol of resurrection or new life.
It is on the sidewalk, the lamp post, a special post. Sometimes it is yellow paint, or perhaps a bronze shell embedded in the sidewalk. It changes as we go through regions of Spain.
Walking into the city, I separate myself from the other pilgrims, wanting to be alone.
Today I feel the love of those in my life who have already passed into eternal life.
Arriving at the cathedral, I go in and it is the 9:30 am mass.
The huge altar piece covers the entire front and sides. Top to bottom angels and figures gilded in gold. It is like the angels paused for a moment, were caught and cast into gold mid-flight. Flitting away, their figure was cast, but their spirit moved on. The mass is Spanish or Latin, but the priests in red or white long, garments were impressive.
The three finger salute, the thumb and next two fingers, are the blessing of the pope. We see it in some statutes and wave it to other pilgrims.
After mass I find the office where I stand in a short line to receive my certificate of completing the pilgrimage, which have been issued for over 1,000 years to pilgrims. I am thrilled, more so than I would have imagined.
The mass for pilgrims is at noon, so I have breakfast and coffee and attend that. The church is filled with pilgrims. The priests name the countries we are from and blesses us. I am beginning to feel Catholic!
Stay on the third floor of the Seminario Menor for 10 Euros. Just inside the medieval town, on a hill overlooking the valley. It is a spectacular building and must have been a seminary.
I spend the afternoon resting, sketching in my journal, washing clothes as per usual, visiting with other pilgrims. One of them goes out and finds the way out of town for tomorrow’s hike, which is not easy, and is kind enough to pass on the information.
Having arrived a week before my plane reservation to London, then home. I decide to walk to the coast, the end of the known medieval world. I was sure I would need days off and be exhausted. But I am excited and ready to walk 55 more miles in 3 days. It is not flat.