The walk to Santiago de Compostela this morning began in a dense fog. Not my brain…the weather.
As you get closer to town the trinket shops begin appearing.
Several people now walking without shoes (a custom). At this shrine, pilgrims leave excess gear. Shoes, shirts, hats, bandanas, bras, etc.
The mist eventually turned to rain. Not a hard rain but enough to be a nuisance.
The “Hola” smile of the day goes to this gentleman. He stopped me and was trying to tell me something. I eventually figured out he was conveying that I was really close to the chapel.
What exactly is a pilgrimage? I’ve been thinking about that quite a bit the last few days. You can find many definitions. I am going with “a long journey to a place that is considered special”.
I’d originally considered a pilgrimage to be solely a religious journey. If that were truly the case, I’d estimate that fewer than 10% of people I’ve met would be considered pilgrims.
The cathedral at Santiago is special because, for many people, it signifies the accomplishment of a goal. For some, it is a huge accomplishment.
You can sense the excitement level rise when you first glimpse the spires of the cathedral.
The cathedral was built in the 12th century. It is currently undergoing a major restoration and the majority of it is closed. There is normally a daily mass for pilgrims. This has been moved to other churches about town.
The cathedral is huge and has a very large plaza in front.
The plaza was significantly less crowded than I expected. Probably due to the rain.
My “pilgrimage” does not end here but I did take some time to reflect. I made 3 resolutions to myself so far on this journey:
1. Say hi to as many people as I can each day. Especially those who are by themselves. It’s easy to do and you never know who needs to feel as though someone cares about them.
2. Help the immobile be more mobile. I am planning to go to senior citizen centers near our home and volunteer to take those in wheelchairs out for walks. I’ve seen lots of people being wheeled in Spain. Many of them smiling. Plus, I’m a pretty good walker.
3. Do my part to make our environment clean. I plan to keep trash bags in my car. When I see an area with a bunch of trash, I will stop and clean it up. I’ve always been disgusted by the sight of litter. Why not do something about it.
Those are my goals. I’ll keep you posted!
Now, on to the end of the world. Santiago is in the rear view mirror.
Leaving Santiago takes us back up into the hills.
Somebody painted some really nice murals on these buildings.
I fly out of Porto, Portugal 4 weeks from today. I plan to walk about 300 more miles. Doing the math it appears I’ll have plenty of time to sit in different coastal towns drinking beer. I’m pretty good at that, too!!
I love the look of these old stone streets but they really hurt my feet.
Happy trails and buen Camino!