Sunday, July 24, 2016

We Made IT...Never a Doubt

The night before we were to walk into Santiago de Compostella, we stayed at this former manor house. It came complete with it's own chapel, (pretty impressive). The house and grounds definitely spoke to ages past but it was extremely welcoming, comfortable and a great "last night" inn. The courtyard and gardens begged to be strolled and enjoyed. Unfortunately, time did not permit the exploration that they deserved.                                                    
We awakened on that morning of the final day of our walk and to a person, we were anxious, exhilarated, thankful, and all agreed with the adage of strangers becoming friends via shared space, time and experiences.

                          and then, we were off...For those of you who know me personally, you know that I live very close to San Marcos, Texas. So, when I saw the sign on the right above, I had to memorialize it.


 As we entered the outskirts of Santiago, we were welcomed by beautiful arches, sculptures and beautiful frescos. I was wearing my "Texas Aggie" windbreaker again during this final days walk. When I arrived at the first park, a young woman came running up to me and introduced herself saying how wonderful it was for her to see someone from "Aggieland." She explained that she grew up in College Station and that her parents still live there. (The Camino is rich in its ability to bring strangers together.) Gotta love that Aggie Spirit!!

 The city of Santiago is pretty large. There is a university there and, much to our dismay, at times, there are fewer Camino markers therein. The one below, the small shell in the stone, is a typical marker in Santiago. Obviously Santiago is a very old city. There are small, narrow winding city streets that are inviting to explore. I found the quilt covered bench particularly welcoming. It was done in honor of the Perigrinos along the Way.

As we got closer to the cathedral square, we passed through a stone arch and were welcomed by the sounds of a bagpiper and a soloist...what a way to enter the square!

 And then...we were there!

The Cathedral is undergoing some much needed renovation and repair, as evidenced by the scaffolding and tarpping around one part of the exterior. We were so excited! If you look closely at the pic on the right, (those are my very dear friends, Dick and Laura, they and their children are part of my extended know, that one that you choose for yourself). You'll see that we are wearing matching caps. They were gifts from my friend Candee, (another of my chosen family members). The red crosses are made from microbeads that she wove on a loom then attached to the caps. Similarly, she gave each of us a "Cross of St. James" that she decorated with wire-wrapped beads. Dick brought his along with him and carried it along the Camino with him...very special. This pic is taken immediately outside the door to the cathedral...we are obviously very excited!


Sadly, I have no words to adequately describe the incredibly beauty of the cathedral, nor to accurately convey the emotion of being there. As we found seats and awaited the mass to begin, we were cognizant of the myriad of languages being spoken around us. It simply added so much to the experience.
The video to the left was taken at the end of the mass. In it, you'll see the very large Botafumeiro which is a famous thurible used in the cathedral Santiago de Compostela.  I took the video from the main perspective of facing the altar. It swings across the altar above the transept and almost touches the ceiling...AMAZING!!!


If you look closely                                            The middle pic above marks the entrance to the
at the picture of the                                           sepulcher where the remains of St. James are 
altar. You'll notice a                                          held...pretty incredible.
statue of St. James
directly above the altar.
This is the statue from
behind. People
are encouraged to hug the
statue and offer a prayer.

Well, that was almost the end of our incredible journey. We decided to finish our journey the next day with a tour to Finnisterre, (literally, the end of the world). So, I'll have one more post about our amazing trip...stay tuned.



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