Journey's End : New beginningsMay 14 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C
Slightly giddy with the excitement last night, we went out on the town, back to the cathedral square for better pictures, then into a beautiful church that had been closed earlier - a wander, window-shopping, and to look for a restaurant. We chose a teeny-tiny place where there were just two tables out front. We got the table for one and three quarters that butted into the side of the building. It was even hotter at 7pm than it had been during the day, so we were more than happy with this, and the added bonus - we were able to catch up with our Israeli friends later - I spied them strolling by as we ate. We had chosen a gorgeous tapas menu without a dessert, deciding to have an ice cream for pudding, from round the corner (spotted on the way in).
This morning we got up early to get to the certificate office for 8am. As we came down the hill, I said, "Aren't we disciplined to get here for ten to”. We rounded the bend to find that unfortunately there was already a substantial queue, of other people even sadder than us and, when we all filed in we realised that we were in the same place in the line as we had been the night before! Luckily this time though, we were out and done in under the hour, as the man on desk number two was pretty nifty with his form filling. We opted for ‘todos’ - the certificate of distance, the Compostela (religious document), the special tube holder, and a freebee ticket for church entry. This was all good because we could now do breakfast.
Next stop the cathedral - smaller than anticipated inside, but not disappointing. I lit my candles to remember much missed family members - June, Horace, Emily and John. Certain of them would have loved to be here with us in this special place. And one extra candle for the living. We looked at the glitzy and painted bits on the columns and ceiling, then passed down into the crypt to see the casket of the remains of St James, plus a plaque to commemorate the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1982. Officially, this is the end point of the Camino Way. We had arrived! Up the other side, and up the steps for the final ritual - to hug the statue of St James. I just put a friendly hand on his shoulder, leaving Chris to do the cuddling.
As we emerged into the heat of the square, we heard the buzz of voices - a large crowd of school children and their teachers had completely filled the steps to the East of the plaza. The local Christian school was celebrating 300 years since the death of John the Baptist de la Salle, after whom their school was founded. There was singing, readings and pronouncements - it was all very cheerful. A very entertaining half hour was spent, sitting in the sunshine, watching the teacher/pupil relationship - a very familiar scene, wherever you are in the world. There was the teacher in unsuitable shoes (far to cool for school), and the throwback from Fame with red curly hair and matching round sunglasses. Miss High-heels was in charge of handouts, and Curly was on behaviour management. Young male PE LSA was looking after the boy with a broken arm - I hope it wasn’t his health and safety failing.
All perfect timing for a quick coffee before the special ‘Pilgrims’ Mass’ at midday, in the St Francisco church, followed by lunch. By this time it was extremely hot, so we retired to the hotel to cool down, before returning to the square, where we were serenaded by a band at the town hall. A trip on the little white tour ‘train’ showed us all the sights of the city. Still seriously hot at 6pm, so we were ready to ‘go home’ again before dinner - same restaurant as last night, seafood themed. Cheers.
El fin del Camino.Read more