Well, our last day...
Our goal, the Cathedral in Santiago, is only an hour or so away.
This was to be a wonderful and emotionally packed day!
We left around 8:30 AM in order to make it into town, visit the
Pilgrim Office, and attend the noon Mass for pilgrims which is
held daily in the Cathedral.
Dave leaving the restaurant at the alberge complex in Monte de Gozo.
Curious stone sculptures along the way into Santiago encourage pilgrims onwards.
On the left, a sculpture of a Knight Templar, as if guarding the pilgrim
on the final day. Sign reads, "El Templario Peregrino" (Templar pilgrim).
On the right, an old stone holding up a chain fence.
Note the carving of a pilgrim on the stone.
On the left, a monument to famous pilgrims. On the right, a close up
photo of one side of the monument.
On the left, the "Iglesia Parroquial de San Lázaro" (Parochial Church of
St. Lazarus). This church stands as witness to the leprosarium that
existed here in the 12th century, sufficiently far outside the medieval
city walls to ensure contamination did not spread.
On the right, a clean-out cover "Saneamiento - Santiago de Compostela"
with the map of Galicia on it. Nice contrast, stone and weathered metal.
On the left, Doug is standing near a beautiful rest area covered in
wisteria, and on the right, a little further through the streets of Santiago.
On the left, a major intersection outside the old city near the bus terminal.
In the center, a street in old Santiago. Note the posts between the sidewalk
and the street. These are required to protect pedestrians from the cars
roaring up and down the narrow cobblestone streets! On the right, Krisz
took this photo of one of the streets in old Santiago.
We did it!
Doug and Dave doing high-fives in the lovely Praza das Praterías
with the Cathedral of Santiago in the background.
Upon presentation and certification of each pilgrim's Credential,
the pilgrim can obtain a Compostela certificate and stamp from
the Oficina del Peregrino (Pilgrim Office) proving that they had walked
at least the last 100 km (62 mi) along the Camino to Santiago.
Those who came by bicycle had to have ridden at least the last 200 km (124 mi).
Doug got permission to stand behind the counter in the Pilgrim Office
to take the following photos of our friends getting their Compostelas:
L-R: Marion, Dave, and Angelika
L-R: Willy, Kenny, and Cecilia
L-R: Krisz, Manuel, and Marine
L-R: François-Joseph, Geneviève de la Marnierre, and Marie-Madeleine de la Tribonnière
L-R: Renaud, Cyrille, and Loetitia
Exterior views of the Cathedral de Santiago.
More exterior views of the Cathedral de Santiago.
Exterior views of the east facade of Cathedral de Santiago.
L-R: Doug and Dave, Cecilia and Judith, closeup of Cecilia and Judith from
the Praza do Obradoiro towards the west facade of the Cathedral.
A view from Cathedral steps, west facade, looking down on the Praza do Obradoiro,
the "Golden" plaza of Santiago, usually thronged with pilgrims.
There is a webcam on the Pazo de Xelmírez building opposite the Cathedral.
Doug and I appeared on this webcam and were seen by Maria back home!
More views of the Praza do Obradoiro from the Cathedral steps. On the far right,
where the flags are flying, is the Hotel Parador originally named after Ferdinand
and Isabel as the "Hostal dos Reis Católico" (Two Royal Catholics Hostal) who
ordered it built in 1492 as a pilgrim hospice.
Mass at noon for the pilgrims in the Cathedral de Santiago.
This had to be the emotional high point of the entire Camino.
The Mass, St. James's final resting place, the swinging of the Botafumeiro,
and finally, Marine Liquard singing, a capella, Gounod's Ave Maria.
It was an experience which cannot be captured with words and photos...
Views inside the Cathedral. There is a webcam inside the Cathedral as well.
The center photo shows the view from the lower nave towards the altar.
Before Mass, Marine gets permission and instructions from a nun on where and when
to sing the rendition of Gounod's Ave Maria at the end of Mass.
Beneath the main altar is the final resting place of St. James, the Apostle Major
(Santiago in Spanish). Saint James was the son of Zebedee and brother of John. It
was James, John and Peter that were invited by our Lord Jesus to His transfiguration.
The same three were taken aside by Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane to be with
Him in his agony in the garden the night before He was crucified.
Many of our friends were seated together in the left transept. We lined up for
Communion to receive the Body of Christ.
Willy, Marion and Dave receiving the Holy Eucharist.
Near the end of Mass, the priest announces how many pilgrims received their
Compostelas since yesterday's Mass, where they started from, and what their
country of origin is. After that, there is the swinging of the Botafumeiro. The
Botafumeiro is the world's largest thurible (incense censer). The 40 kg (88 lbs) of
incense and charcoal are lit, then it is hoisted by eight clerics via ropes and
pulley, and is pushed to get it started swinging. Once started, the men pull alternately
on the ropes until it makes an arc of some 65 m (213 ft) across the transepts!
Views of the Botafumeiro cable system up in the dome.
Other views of the Botafumeiro cable system up in the dome.
This is a YouTube video of Dave's and Doug's movies edited into one composite video.
Thanks to Doug for a great job editing and producing this wonderful video!
It includes the swinging of the Botafumeiro and the Ave Maria by Marine Liquard.
After Mass some of our friends gather for a group photo in the Prazo Obradoiro.
In the photo on the left, a teary-eyed Marion is comforted by teary-eyed Grandpa,
François-Joseph. Their reactions were typical; many of us ended up in tears at the
end of Mass following Marine's beautiful Ave Maria!
On the right, from L-R: Willy, Loetitia, Angelika, Cecilia, Cyrille,
Marie-Madeleine de la Tribonnière, Marion, François-Joseph,
Geneviève de la Marnierre, Marine, Judith, Kenny, and Renaud.
This too was also a difficult time, since we would not all be together again.
So to our fellow pilgrims, Doug and I say, "buen camino", we love you all,
and we will never forget our special time together.
On the left, Michel Baud, the doctor who left home with nothing. Center, Mary in
foreground and, in the background, the Dane who played the clown in Ribadiso!
He also appears in the Communion photos at Mass. I wish we had gotten to know
him better! On the right, Mary meets Willy for the first time after Mass!
They are both from Dublin, Ireland.
Although we never learned their names, there were these two kids on the Camino
with their grandparents (in the photo is, presumeably, their mother). They were
invited to go on the Camino and jumped at the chance. They were little troopers!
On the left, Mary and the young lady. On the right, the young lady with her
grandmother, who also walked the Camino.
We went back into the Cathedral to look at it in more detail. As we were
doing so, a tour group of Polish visitors were also there.
From Doug and Dave,
To our family, friends and welcomed guests, thanks for viewing these
webpages of our adventure. This ends our 15 days on the Camino.
If you are interested in hiking the Camino as well, please see our
links page for useful websites. Go ahead, you can do it!
It is an unforgetable experience of a lifetime!
We are putting more photos up on this website of our visits to Finisterre
and Madrid (see the photo index), but you will have to wait
until July, 2007 before they are uploaded.
We need to catch up on other business!
God bless all and have a "buen camino".
*K - Photos courtesy of Krisz
*L - Photos courtesy of the Liquard family