Getting ready in the albergue at Arca. We made a crucial decision
today to go only as far as Monte do Gozo so we could get up the following
morning and hike the remaining 4.6 km (2.9 mi) into Santiago and arrive
by 10:00 AM. This correct decision had far more beneficial consequences than
we could have imagined; this day & night in Monte do Gozo was monumental in
its own right! In this photo, Cyrille Liquard is preparing his backpack.
More on the delightful Liquard family later.
As we walked near Amenal, we went through more eucalyptus forest. The trees
are harvested, as seen on left, for ornament, timber, firewood and pulpwood.
Here we arrive at the marker which shows the outer suburbs of Santiago!
Putting pebbles on key markers is a pilgrim tradition.
In the left photo, we enter the village of Lavacolla. From the Latin, "wash your
butt", Lavacolla is where the medieval pilgrims were admonished to wash their
body parts before entering Santiago! In the right photo, a beautiful yard has
a stone well with a stone hood (look closely); quite unusual.
Nothing could have prepared us for the entrance into San Marcos and the Monte
do Gozo area! It turned out to be the feast day of St. Mark (San Marcos), so
the village of San Marcos celebrated with fireworks, Mass and procession, and
a major entertainment tent with bands, bars and crowds. How did they know we
were coming?! Marion on right, whooping it up.
On the left, Angelika stands behind Cecilia, enjoying the wine and music!
On the right, the pilgrims, drifting in from the Camino, gather under the
entertainment tent (from left to right: ?, Marine, Kenny, Marion, Willy,
Angelika, Cecilia and Dave).
At one end of the tent a group of entertainers was playing lively
Spanish music until 4:30 PM. At the other end, a second stage was being set up.
Both stages had live music, alternately, from about 7:00 PM to 2:00 AM that night!
We and the other pilgrims danced and celebrated during both time slots!
We got to the albergue in Monte do Gozo before it opened. The albergue was
built in 1983 for the Pope John Paul II visit. It can hold 800 pilgrims!
Left: Willy and Dave chew the fat. Right: Willy and Krisz waiting.
Left: Manuel (albergue volunteer and Benedictine novice) stands with Willy
and Krisz just after the albergue opened around 3:00 PM. Right: Willy,
Marion and Dave enjoy each other's company.
Left: Kenny checking his camera photos. Right: Kenny joined later by Cecilia.
Left: Pilgrims walking down to the albergue complex. Middle and right: Views of
the huge, tiered albergue complex. The complex also include a plaza with shops!
Here in the albergue plaza is a nice statue of a pilgrim gal cooling her feet in
the fountain upon which she sits. Below, on the fountain base, Dave compares his
hand print with that of Pope John Paul II made in 1983.
A sign shows the map of Monte do Gozo area. On right, view back to the northern
hill of Monte do Gozo from the southern hill.
The most obvious monument, on the northern hill, is the monument to all pilgrims.
Left: Dave climbing up for a closer look. Right: pilgrim cyclists stop for a view.
A close view of the monument shows four panels. Two panels depict Pope John Paul II
"Pilgrim on the Camino of Santiago de Compostella".
The other two panels depict St.Francis of Assisi as a pilgrim on the Camino, and,
a map of the Camino shaped like a hand.
Left: Locals taking advantage of the winds on the hill to fly kites.
Right: After the low clouds lifted, we had our first view of Santiago and
the Cathedral (three spires in the distance)!
The monument on the southern hill is extremely impressive and emotionally moving
for most pilgrims who take the time to walk over and see it. This hill has
provided pilgrims their first glimspe of the Cathedral of Santiago on the Camino
since pilgrims first arrived in the 9th century!
On the right, Dave provides a reference for the actual size of this monument.
Views of the pilgrim monument from different perspectives. The pilgrims point the
way to the Cathedral of Santiago wherein lies the remains of St. James the Apostle.
The faces on the statue are a mixture of extreme joy, prayers of thanks to God
for having made it safe thus far, and anticipation of reaching Santiago. It is
significant that there are TWO pilgrims, because sharing friendship and kindred
spirit along the Camino is a major part of the whole Camino experience!
Willy, on the left, points to the pilgrim statues. On the right, Dave caught
this photo of a Japanese film crew taking video of the statues.
For dinner, Dave made reservations for 20 pilgrims (17 actual) at the restaurant,
"Suoso" in San Marcos at the recommendation of Manuel at the albergue. He told us
that the food was all hand prepared and delicious; he was correct! We had a
delightful crowd and a memorable dinner with friends from three countries!
Around the table clockwise, starting at Dave in the left photo, are:
Dave, Willy (Ireland), Doug [taking photo], Marie-Madeleine de la Tribonnière
(Loetitia's aunt, France), François-Joseph Liquard (Loetitia's father-in-law;
"grandpa", France), Marion (Germany), Loetitia Liquard (Marine's mother),
Angelika (Germany), Kenny (USA), Marine Liquard (Loetitia's daughter, France),
Cecilia (Germany), Geneviève de la Marnierre (Loetitia's mother, France),
Michel Baud (France), Cyrille Liquard (Loetitia's husband, France),
Renaud (Cyrille's brother, France), ? (France), Arnaud de Mareüil (friend
of François-Joseph, France) and back to Dave.
Closer images: Left photo; at table right, Dave, Willy, Doug, and Marie-Madeleine;
at table left, Loetitia, Angelika, Kenny.
Right photo; Willy Doug, Marie-Madeleine, and François-Joseph.
Left photo: Marion, Loetitia Right photo: Loetitia and Angelika
Left photo: Angelika and Kenny Right photo: Marine and Cecilia
Hot soup being ladled out to Cecilia and Geneviève.
Left photo: Michel Baud and Cyrille Right photo: Renaud, ?, and Arnaud
Left photo: Dave holds the crowd's rapt attention! Why? Dave speaks no French,
and the crowd can't all be fluent in English?! Maybe they're all thinking,
"How long can an American talk over dinner?" ;>}
Right photo: At the end of the dinner, Cyrille read a poem. Later Renaud did
the same. What a wonderful idea, composing poetry for such occasions! Marine
translated to English and German so we could understand. Wow, what a gal!
After dinner, the San Marcos party was heating up, so naturally, we joined in!
Our group dances and has a great time. On the right, Dave swings Marine around
in a kind of Spanish jitterbug while Marion sway to the beat of the music.
It is said that one can tell how civilized people are by the way they take
care of their elderly, handicapped, and those who can no longer produce.
By that standard, the Spanish are very civilized. Doug caught this photo of
mentally challenged children who were brought to the party to have fun dancing!
Doug edited this composite video of the party at San Marcos, afternoon and
evening shows are included in this one video, including a popular Galician
group that provided some of the music, "Orquesta Olympus".
Another memorable story of this wonderful day: Marine expressed a desire to
sing the Ave Maria (by Gounod) at the noon Mass for pilgrims the following day.
Not sure of the exact lyrics or music, family and friends gathered
around her to help her and encourage her. Willy knew the Latin lyrics and
Marine managed to find the music by cell phone and she was set.
Listen to tomorrow's video to hear exactly how talented Marine is!!!
Night falls on Santiago. We go to bed. What a day!!!
*L - Photos graciously provided by the Liquard family.
*K - Photos graciously provided by Krisz.