We are trying to catch up to some of our other Camino friends to arrive to Santiago (22.1 more km) together. They had not gone to Samos and were then about 5-6 km ahead of us for the last few days. Last night they had stayed in Arca do Pino 3.2 km ahead of us. This was then a good place for our breakfast in the Patisserie, but they had already left town by the time we got in.
The next major town is San Payo in 6.6 km and then just past the airport is Lavacolla in 3.2 km. Walking past the cafe here we heard our friends calling out and so we finally had caught up to them. It was now ponchos on again as we approached the city.
Just after Lavacolla there is a river. This river is mentioned in Picaud’s pilgrim guide as follows:
“and there is a river called Lauamentula, because in a leafy spot along its course, two miles from Santiago, French pilgrims on their way to Santiago take off their clothes and, for the love of the Apostle, wash not only their private parts, but the dirt from their entire bodies.”
As well as being a hygienic necessity this was a pilgrim ritual to cleanse and purify themselves before reaching the cathedral.
We arrived to Monte do Gozo in another 6.5 km. “Monte do Gozo (Hill of Joy) is a hill in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain. It is known for being the place where Christian pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James) get their first views of the three spires of their destination, the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. At 370 metres (1,210 ft), it is the pilgrims’ last hill and last stop before reaching the cathedral, with about an hour’s walk still to go, and by tradition is where they cry out in rapture at finally seeing the end of their path.”
There is something very special about walking into Santiago whether you are religious or not. In fact we were all a bit teary at first sight of the Cathedral spires.
Walking under this arch there was a bag piper playing. It was very emotional!
We were met in the main square by some of the others who had arrived the day before. This included Franco from Italy.
Unfortunately the Cathedral was covered in scaffolding.
This plaque is at the center of the main square.
This is one of the Paradores and I think is 500$ a night!
“Paradores de Turismo de España is a chain of Spanish luxury hotels. The enterprise was founded by Alfonso XIII of Spain as a means to promote tourism in Spain, with the first hotel opening in 1928 in Gredos, Ávila. This state-run business has been profitable. The hotels are often located in adapted castles, palaces, fortresses, convents, monasteries and other historic buildings. They add to the attractions of heritage tourism and provide uses for large historic buildings. The Hostal de los Reyes Catolicos in Santiago de Compostela is considered to be one of the oldest continuously operating hotels in the world, and one of the finest Spanish paradors.”
Next we headed down to the new pilgrims office to register for our Compostella. These are our completed credentials.
The second credential we bought because we were running out of spots!
After handing over our credentials for scrutiny and answering the question “did you walk every step?” with an honest YES we received our Compostella and a distance certificate.
Celebrating with Daniel and his first beer in 6 weeks.
Santiago is a lovely town full of tourists, but without the negative touristic feel.
“Tarta de Santiago or cake of St. James, is an almond cake with origin in the Middle Ages. The filling principally consists of ground almonds, eggs, and sugar, with additional flavouring of lemon zest, sweet wine, brandy, or grape marc. It is a round shape and can be made with or without a base which can be either puff pastry or shortcrust pastry. The top of the pie is decorated with powdered sugar, masked by an imprint of the Cross of Saint James (cruz de Santiago).”
Enjoying some more Galician style octopus.
“This is prepared by first boiling the octopus inside a copper cauldron. Before actually boiling it, the octopus is repeatedly dipped in and out of the boiling water, held by its head. The objective of this operation is to curl the tips of the tentacles. The tentacles are preferred over the head, which sometimes is discarded. After the octopus has been boiled, it is trimmed with scissors, sprinkled with coarse salt and paprika and drizzled with olive oil. ”
And now for the first ice cream in 6 weeks as well.
Some new duds for us!
Hanging out in the square to congratulate today’s arrivals!
“Kebin” Costner and Marie from Japan.
All of us lined up early to get seats in the Cathedral for the pilgrim’s mass.
“The Botafumeiro is suspended from a pulley mechanism in the dome on the roof of the church . The current pulley mechanism was installed in 1604. It is made of an alloy of brass and bronze and is plated by a very thin 20 micrometre layer of silver. It was created by the gold and silversmith José Losada in 1851. It has a golden sheen.
The Santiago de Compostela Botafumeiro is one of the largest censers in the world, weighing 80 kg and measuring 1.60 m in height. It is normally on exhibition in the library of the cathedral, but during certain important religious occasions (or when wealthy pilgrims pay 400Euros) it is brought to the floor of the cathedral and attached to ropes hung from the pulley mechanism.”
These are said to be the bones of St James.
Five Camino Neil.
Celebrating with the gang with Cava and tapas.
Afterwards we moved down the street for cheap beer and tinto de verano on tap.
Saying goodbye to our Camino family!