My original “extra credit” waking goal was to arrive in Santiago and spend two days here and then walk for four more days to visit Finestera and Muxia.
These are the final destinations for many pilgrims. Watching the sunset in these places can be breathtaking and spiritually revelatory. It brings special closure to the Camino as well. I have rented a car before and done this. Today, I will do it again.
I ran out of days and do not have time to walk to these special places. That will remain a future goal for perhaps another Camino. Having taken an extra day in San Sebastian and Bilbao and then learning that the Feast of Santiago was approaching and That I could be in Santiago for it, I chose to focus on enjoying this opportunity, which I will probably not have again.
The bishops arrive for the feast day!
Unlike three years ago, I feel strong and ready to go further. I may have had some plantars fasciitis by the time I arrived in Santiago in 2013. My feet ached every morning for weeks after I finished the Camino when I first awoke each day, and then they felt better as the day wore on. I also arrived in early October when it rained every day as I walked through Galicia and each day while I was in Santiago. Thus, I had a bad cold by the time that I arrived and decided that I had walked plenty.
During my time here, it has been a joy to reunite with Pedro, Emilio, Jake, Judit, Sophie, Salvatore, Kate, Wanny, Laura, Michael and others. Jake sadly had his phone stolen from a chapel on Monte de Gozo – just four kilometers before reaching Santiago. He had plugged it in thinking that no one would steal it, especially from a chapel. How sad that someone would do this. He had 2,000 photos on it. I had been warned that Santiago would be crowded for the feast day and to be careful for thieves.
I had visited several museums here on my previous visit and did not see the need to do that again. It was also 85 degrees out and not the kind of whether where you wanted to be in a dark museum. The one exception that I made was to revisit El Museo de Popo Gallego – the museum of the people of Galicia. This museum captures the old customs and ways of the people in this northwest corner of Spain. What’s amazing is that many of the farm tools, horse-drawn carts, horreos, fishing tools, etc. are still being used today. Time has not changed things greatly in this area.
The greatest experience for me in Santiago was to concelebrate three times at three different Pilgrim’s Masses. Yesterday, I was even asked to place the incense into the beautafumera before it swung in the final Mass for the Feast of Santiago. What a wonderful moment.
The biggest joy for me came when a sort of spiritual revelation was given to me yesterday. It is difficult to describe this other than to say that it was a clear message to me that one can never put anything before God and fully experience God in one’s life. It’s when we say “YES” to God with all our heart, mind and soul that we experience the fullness of God’s presence and start to hear God speak clearly to us. This is the message that I need to carry forward with me.
With love and prayers from Spain,