Big Girls Don´t Cry
Santiago de Compostela Travel Blog› entry 29 of 43 › view all entries
21st July, I have arrived but today is just too emotional to get my thoughts straight. I was walking in to the city this morning and thought I might call my Santiago blog by the title above. I am sitting here in an internet café and that same song has just come onto the radio. There has been too much Camino Magic lately. I simply cannot get my thoughts together to write today. I´ll update tomorrow
It is now the 22nd July and I am back to Earth again.
Yesterday was totally overwhelming and I was awake for a total of 24 hours! It all began on my last evening in Outeira with Beatriz. We had a wonderful chat about how we felt during the Camino and both agreed that we were not looking forward to the next day and finishing the Camino.
´There are now more questions to ask myself. It has been the journey of a lifetime and also the journey about a lifetime. I am not the same person and my life will never be the same again. Who will come and who will go? What will cease and what will begin?´
My walk into Santiago was ¡sola!
It was perfect for me and the morning passed slowly as I expected. It was as if my body knew it was the last day to walk and had already started to slow down. My mochilla weighed a ton, my shins felt like they were studded with glass and I just couldn´t get into a rhythm.
Around me were dozens of young Catholic kids, in high spirits from the 100 km thay had walked (the minimum to obtain a Compostella from the Church). Other faces were solemn or ecstatic: groups, couples and other solo pilgrims experiencing their own version of ´arrival´.
You must pass through 2 entry portals, the inner one is several hundred years older than the ´new´facade. Once inside, the first pilgrim tradition is to place your hand on the Tree of Jesse in thanks of a safe journey. There have been so many pilgrims touch this exact place over centuries that a handprint has been worn in the marble! To my horror, the Tree was enclosed by a barrier due to maintenance work. It is one tradition I could not carry out but I followed this with the final 2 acts of ´arrival´.
The first is to walk past the crypt and pass the casket with ´remains´of Santiago taking a few precious moments for thanks.
I was still wearing my mochilla and reluctant to take it off. I exited the Cathedral briefly to get my Compostella and new Latin name fro the Pilgrims Office. My new name is now Gratium Bennett! I have my Compostella tucked safely in my mochilla. Back to the Cathedral in time for Pilgrims Mass at 12.
Mass itself is in Spanish and it was amazing that the prayers were sung by the same nun as my previous Camino. The Cathedral is absolutely packed with tourists, locals and pilgrims; some having just taken their final steps straight into the mass. How can I possibly explain the atmosphere? There is nothing like it I have ever sensed before. I use that word on purpose as it is a compete opening of all your five senses. My life on the Camino was now complete but I will always be a Peregrina. . . . and I will always cry