Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Madrid: Anyone need this?

Sunday, July 28, we left Santiago by train heading for Madrid. This is our second full day here, but we are just checked into our ★★★★ hotel.

But before we left our old hotel, of course we brushed our teeth. I had a little toothpaste left from my Camino stash. Monica had run out and we stopped last night for sunscreen and toothpaste.

Monica used her paste this morning. It turned out to be denture adhesive!

Camino: Santiago de Compostela -THE DAY WE GOT IT ALL!!!!!!!

July 28, Sunday
I was awakened by my daughter at 7:30 am. This was my day to have "a lie in", as my husband would say.

She was filled with loud talking, teacher volume; and, I didn't even realize it was her. "Maybe the maid," I thought as I heard the door unlocking.

I was supposed to meet Carey at the 10:30 mass. Monica and I were in the cathedral around that time, but I didn't see Carey. A group of monks were singing what I call "the pre-show".

I felt the pull of Carey's energy, but I didn't see her. Monica and I walked around, went to hug the Apostle, and then to the crypt for the relics. I'd done this the day before, but, it's not every day you get to hug an Apostle, and Monica had never done it at all, so we were going to do it again this morning. We wanted one more time to feel his broad shoulders and jewels and to see what he sees: the church, what all we mortals and pilgrim's are doing. He sees so much. Like the cathedral police doing crowd control.

Then we visited the relics, and I lit a row of electric candles for all the people I loved present and past.

I must have attended 4 masses hoping to see the Bontifumerio swing.  Monica had heard it would swing at noon. I was ready to leave, and she said she thought we should wait. There were no seats so we sat on the floor and waited, and the people just kept piling in.

Our persistance paid off. At the end of the mass, out came 6 men in maroon robes with scallop shells (could have been more). These guys are pilgrims first, and they apply for the job and get training on how to get the huge incense burner loaded, hoisted and swinging the length of the transcept.

Long term pilgrims are prone to moments of spontaneous crying, and that had already happened to me a couple of times that morning. This time it was a rush of feelings and tears. Happiness, awe, relief, who knows?

We felt this part of our pilgrimage complete.

We just had time to go back to Do Bispo for tapas and a drink, gather our bags into a taxi and get to the train station.

Photos: The men getting ready to hoist the incense burner, the burner resting after doing it's job, and the watchful eye of God.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Camino: July 28, some thoughts

Here's the order of things when a pilgrim finally enters the cathedral: you place your hand on the central column of the 'Door of Glory'; then walk around to the back of the column and touch your forehead to that of the statue of the master sculptor - he shares a bit of his genius; next walk to the altar and enter a special door which allows you to climb a few stairs to get right up behind the statue of St. James the Apostle and whisper in his ear the reason you came all this way, or thank him for your safe delivery, or say whatever you think appropriate. You can climb up on one step and put your arms around him, or lay your head on his shoulder. Finally, you climb down and go into the crypt and venerate the relics.

You can no longer place your hand in the handprint or butt heads with the sculpture. We were a little disappointed by that, but I have to say that hugging the Apostle is a very cool and fun thing to do. It can also be a powerful thing.

As for the relics, you don't see the actual relics, just a lovely altar with a silver casket. Whether it's truly James the Apostle cannot be certain. The bones were lost and found in the 900's by a farmer. But the Bishop declared them St. James, and a church was built, and the pilgrimage began.

But visiting the relics was important for me whether I believed or not because without them, there never would have been a Camino.

Hugging the Apostle sure was a lot like idol worship, and I enjoyed looking out over his shoulder at the church and people and whispering in his ear - just like I did to the Nandi statue in India.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Camino: foot report July 28, Sunday

I'm on a train to Madrid. I think I should have been on one to Lisbon. We booked the train yesterday in a moment of "indecision", after really having talked little about where we'd go after Santiago and before Madrid. Price was an issue.

This gives us 8 days in Madrid. I was up late last night looking for a tour from Madrid. Janet, my friend from French class tried helping me from America. In the end, I think I found the tour too late. No matter. Pilgrims travel not one day at a time, but one footstep at a time.

This train left Santiago at 14:50 and arrives at 20:19. My pilgrim feet are onboard in the sandals I brought from America.

As I said, the pain in my healing feet was reawakened by my walk to the Finisterre lighthouse and back. Insult to injury takes place again in Santiago on the medieval stone streets and in two museums last evening.

If I stand too long, or pound the feet onto the surface too long, my toe hurts. I think it's just the pressure of weight trying to find it's way out. The heel of that same foot hurts again. Maybe I have a bone spur, or plantar faciaitus? But the last few evenings I am getting a tingling sensation just infront of my heel in the soft part of the foot. Nerves? Pilgrimitis?

Camino: Finisterre, sunset!

Carey and I walked from the church to the Atlantic side of the peninsula. It was a gorgeous evening. Sunset is always beautiful with clouds.

Martin had asked me to test the temperature of the water. Carey drew a labyrinth, and we walked it.

The only folks there were the 'hippy tent people camper pilgrims' and their dogs. One boxer had a collar sporting a large scallop shell. Lovely to see.

We sat looking west and told tales and watched the glory of the setting sun. It slipped below the horizon which around 10 pm.

Camino: Finisterre, afternoon

Finisterre means end of the world. In medieval days it was the end of the known world for most.

It's a three day walk from Santiago to Finisterre with 35 km on the first day. I always wanted to walk it, but the longer the Camino continued, the clearer it became to me that I couldn't walk it. At least not after we arrived in Santiago. And, by that time, the desire to walk there was gone. I couldn't even look at the maps of where we'd been. I had a hard time seeing the yellow arrow or scallop shell marker that showed us the way. My mind didn't want to think it had to walk. Yet, if I'd had the desire to break my feet some more, I am sure my body would have endured. Strange thing that.

The bus was great. And we easily found a room despite all the talk that there were few rooms.

Carey and I split up with the understanding to meet in the old church for 8 pm mass. I walked to the lighthouse and got into a 12c Romanesque church on my way back downhill. On the way downhill, I also got hit in the arm by the side mirror of a camper van that couldn't be bothered to slow down or move over. Thank Santiago that the van wan't traveling very fast. It never stopped.

I had dinner including a marisco soup with too much pulpo for my taste. I had ordered the menu del dia, three courses with wine or water and bread. I didn't expect an entire bottle for just me!

The walk back uphill to mass was worth it. It lasted no more than 20 minutes. The small church was filled capacity. Mass ended with the priest leading the congregation in a lovely him. These folks really sang, and even broke into harmony. What a gift to hear that!

Camino: Finisterre

On Friday, July 25, Carey and I went on the 9 am bus to Finisterre. We stayed one night. The views from the bus of mountains and coast were a breath of fresh air literally and figuratively after 3 days in Santiago. A pilgrim gets used to the countryside.

I walked after lunch to the lighthouse. 3.7 km one way. My healing feet were awakened, unfortunately. Half way there was a pilgrim sculpture. And I was thrilled to see the 0.0 km marker!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Camino: July 24, Santiago

We went to the 12 o'clock mass today hoping to see the Bontifumerio swing through the cathedral and spread a cloud of perfumed smoke. It didn't happen. Instead?, it swung at the 6:00 pm mass.

We here that it will swing at 10:30 mass tomorrow. I hopee so. It's St. James' feast day tomorrow. There was to be a light show on the cathedral and fireworks.

It was all cancelled because of a train wreck 10 minutes away. We are hoping that none of our pilgrim friends were on the train. 30 people were killed and 250 injured as of a few hours ago.

Very sad.

We were waiting in the square for the light show when we got the news. We sat with Father Ken (on the left) who we'd met along The Way. He's a great, very down to earth, funny priest. He was one of 22 priests from around the world up on the altar today.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Camino: best tapas

My dinner: patatas bravas - very spicy, a small filet on a crunchy bread with a grilled and salted pepper, and what I'll call, "the St. Jacques": two large shrimp- no heads, and a scallop. Best tapas place I've eaten!

Camino: celebration

I had to get out and do a little celebrating tonight. Monica slept and I found Uli, her group and a full moon.

Camino: which is Santiago?

Fun with photos in Spain.

Camino: last day of walking

Carey and I slept late this morning. Ear plugs and an Ibuprofin with a little codiene gave me a sound night of sleep after the previous night with the bugs keeping me awake.

We stayed in a Pension, privately owned. This nice family wete there, before us, and as we crawled in after our almost 30 km day, the sight of a happy smiling 9 month old baby gave us strength and made us smile. Our gift of the day.

Today they were out on the Camino. The young boy played his guitar while walking to dinner last night, "Smoke on the Water". So when we saw them walking today, we sang it for them and made them smile.

Loved the signs today. One telling me not to stop walking, and the other saying we'd arrived at the edge of the city. Just outside the cathedral, I saw a statue of Ghandi. "I want my picture with Ghandi statue." I walked over and started to lean on the statue, when it moved and talked to me, I jumped back and screamed! It was a live mannequin. "He looked at me and said, "That was the best reaction I've ever gotten." My heart was thumping.

Last, here are our beds tonight. We are in them now, but I'd loved to have gone to the cathedral.

Tomorrow we meet Uli and Carey at 9:30 am for breakfast. Pilgrim mass is at noon. And Giant puppets after that.

We made it! I can't say how incredible it feels.

Camino: walking to Santiago today

20.1 km to the Emerald City today! So hard to believe. We did almost 30 km yesterday.

I love the Camino sign with the palette head! And had fun walking in a eucalytis forest yesterday and watching a couple herding their cows.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Camino: Misty mornings in Galecia

Each morning we head out into the morning mist. I didn't sleep well last night, if at all. Mosquitoes!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Camino: Day 37, July 19

We have about 60 miles left to reach Santiago.

We are stopped short of Portomarin because the places we called have no beds, and if we find no bed, we'd have to walk another 8 km.

We are in a low Galician mountain paradise with fresh cherries and foot massages!

We are a group of happy pilgrims from US, Scotland,