Friday, August 4, 2017

The finish line?

Walking in the dark for the first time this morning - gray skies, in a forest, official sun rise not for another 30 minutes. Many of our compatriots started with headlamps every day. We saved this fun for last. And only so that we could get our destination, the cathedral of Santiago, by 11 am. We had high hopes that the noon mass would include the swinging incense burner known as the Botafumiero.

It drizzled on us most of the morning, very similar to our first day on the Camino - a wet pair of bookends for our journey. We wondered if we would see many others from the trail in the church or in the square. The answer was almost everyone: The seminarians, Padre Keith, John and Kathy, the two girls from Villafranca, British Steve, Canadian Sean, John the Interpeter, Mark and Joanne (whom I had kinda forgotten from pre-Burgos days), and even Marie made an appearance after having already gone to Finisterre and back. Of recent memory, the only people we haven't run across yet are S.J. & Scott, Kelly Montessori, and the Unsinkable Molly Brown.

As an aside, you'll note I have quite a few nicknames going on. They just help if you haven't gotten a name. Here are some more:
Potbelly and wife
Italian f**kers (quite literally, in the next room)
Oscar Hollywood and family
Knee braces
Hungarian Donkey People
St France
White hair hippy
Surly youth
Italian Horde
The Germans
Irish lasses
Kat from Catalina
Irish Sean
The other Seattleite

Back to our story...

Janine was happy to have completed her 500 mile journey - especially grateful that she managed to keep going despite a bad knee (and blisters and back problems and shin splints). We rewarded with the Botafumiero and getting mass from Padre Keith. A second reward came in the reward of some timely advice - A Michelin restaurant named Casa Marcella which was just opening for lunch Oysters, Mojito Melon, Cucumber soup with almonds, Ahi with Fig, Hake in Red Sauce, Duck skewers, and Passion Fruit Sorbet - sorry no pictures!)

Botafumiero in Action

My shorter journey (we'll call it 400 miles) was a mixture of rewards and struggles. The injured ankle dominated my first two weeks and guided me off onto another adventure - I'm so happy I broke away because it put me in such a better place for the last 300 km of the walk. No big insights though - I think I'm fairly introspective most of the time and no big aha's. It's probably left me a little more relaxed going into the school year, although all of that may be undone by amount of trains, planes, and automobiles that are going to happen in the next two week.

Tomorrow, a day without our packs and a bus ride to the sea - our travel plans are taking new shape.

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