Our final morning's walk felt like a breeze, as we wound our way down into the city. It felt a little funny to be in the midst of a city again--with traffic and traffic lights and lots more concrete.
As we got into the city center, the spires of the cathedral became visible. And, though our journey had be shorter than many and our perspective is already skewed by our contemporary world, I admit to an awe-inspiring sense of wonder as we drew near the majesty of the cathedral.
Our finals meters were accompanied by a bagpiper, reminding us of the long and deep connection between the Celts and Galicia. Odd as it may seem, the bagpipes were right at home in that stone walkway. (You'll notice, though, that there was no kilt involved here...)
As we got the plaza in front of the cathedral, it felt wonderful to look up at the intricate facade, and to imagine ourselves in the same place as so many generations of pilgrims before us.
We made it in time for the Pilgrim's Mass, but, to our dismay, discovered that the Botafumeiro--the gigantic incensor in Santiago's cathedral--would not be used that day, as it was being repaired. Still...the mystery and wonder of mass together with pilgrims from all over was inspiring. Unlike hikes in USAmerica, where we finish and drive home (maybe stopping for a burger...), it was a delight to stop to worship together in community at the end of the journey.
After mass, we went to the Pilgrim's Office to show our credentials and receive our Compostela certificates. And, we enjoyed most of the day exploring the old parts of Santiago on a wet, rainy day. (Also, before the day was over, we were successful both at finding a geocache AND one of those commemorative Estrella Galicia beer mugs...)