My Camino is over. After arriving yesterday, we had a walk about, a great dinner of canapes/tapas, then went to bed early. We were both quiet with less chatter between us, and it was a strange feeling to know that after walking for a month, my trek had come to an end. I felt a bit of sadness, but the biggest physical/mental feeling was a mind that was less full. I can’t really describe it – even after rereading this paragraph and trying to be more succinct, I can’t. Peaceful. Complete. I not only erased a chalkboard, but I wiped it down with a wet cloth too.
We attended Pilgrims Mass today, and I ran into the German man from week two (?) – was really nice to hug and congratulate each other.
I took the Eucharist which I haven’t done in almost 40 years. The hour ceremony was very moving, and the attendance at Mass was impressive. Now this is St. James Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, so I expected large crowds, but to actually be there and take part in the energy was something I won’t forget.
I was amazed how few people took pics during the service (as we were instructed against in many languages at the start), so that level of respect was moving in itself, but a full caveat is the no-photo rule went out the window when the Botafumeiro was lit, hoisted and swung along the transept (we chose our pews well – excellent vantage point). In medieval times this incense burner was used to expel smoke and fumigate the Pilgrims, and it soon morphed into a belief that prayers were being carried to the powers that be via the smoke.
I’ve always wanted to see the Botafumeiro in action, but read that it only flies on Fridays, and our one day for attending Mass upon arrival was a Wednesday, so I had no expectations. But there it was, I believe for two special groups in attendance: a youth Church group from Spain and a German Church group (choir) – both of whom took part in the service.
The Camino experience really hit home today, during the Mass. All the non-mojo we felt yesterday was replaced with a true sense of fulfilment, accomplishment and wonder. After Mass we walked the streets of Santiago, did a bit of shopping and then it was time for me to head to the airport for an early evening flight. It wasn’t until I was hugging Kara goodbye that I realized why Pilgrims decide to walk a few more days to Finesterre/Muxia, after they arrive in Santiago – they don’t want the journey to end! Next time, Michelle – next time.