May 25th ~ Santiago, Spain
Finally – after all of our struggles to get here, we were having a chance to explore Santiago and revel in Karen’s success of completing her 500 mile Camino trek. Of course the place to start our exploration was at the Cathedral where it all ended.
“The cathedral is the reputed burial-place of Saint James the Great, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ. The cathedral has historically been a place of pilgrimage on the Way of St. James since the Early Middle Ages, and marks the traditional end of the pilgrimage route.” ~ Wikipedia
For once in my life I took few photos inside the church and simply let the enormity swallow me up. This was a time for reflection and sharing a special moment with a dear friend as she guided me from place to place inside. We took time to light a candle and say a prayer for our friends from Guatemala who were experiencing a health crisis. Next we visited the crypt of St. James which is under the main altar.
“The crypt, below the main altar, shows the substructure of the 9th-century church. This was the final destination of the pilgrims. The crypt houses the relics of Saint James and two of his disciples : Saint Theodorus and Saint Athanasius.” ~ Wikipedia
For many pilgrims who take on one of several paths of the Camino, this Cathedral is the culmination point. This is where they are all headed. The Pilgrim’s Office is where they receive their compostela (certificate of completion of the pilgrimage). To earn the compostela one needs to walk a minimum of 100 km or cycle at least 200 km.
Next door to the cathedral is a pilgrim’s museum which Karen and I spent some time covering the three floors while the guys went back to the hotel to relax. Here are a few pictures I snapped inside the museum. I thought that the collection of walking sticks that had been donated at the end of the walk was poignant. The word written above the sticks is ultreia which is used as a term of encouragement between pilgrims.
“The name Ultreïa is a mix from latin and an old french language. It used to be shouted between former pilgrims of the Middle Age as a wish of an unfailing courage. The true words seem to be ““E ultreïa, E susseïa” as : “Go upper, go farther!”
These days, buen camino is the most frequent pilgrim greeting along the Camino de Santiago in Spain.
The weather finally cleared up for us and we walked through narrow streets in search of a good meal and then returned to the cathedral area for more exploration and pictures.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful that we were able to celebrate an amazing accomplishment with friends who mean the world to us. Although Tim and I did not participate in the actual walk, we still could appreciate the planning, effort, exhaustion, determination and plain old hard work that went into making this happen. Congratulations to Karen and Dick for earning their compostela!