Saturday, September 29, 2007

Hello from a wet and drizzly Santiago

Yesterday we walked into the old city in bright sunshine. We only had 4.5kms to walk from Monte do Gozo - the Mount of Joy (so called because in the middle ages the pilgrims would get their first sighting of the spires of the cathedral from the top of the hilltop known as Mount Joy). Our first sighting was of early morning traffic, freeway inter-changes and panel beating shops! The route does take one through the old streets and finally through the Porta Camino into the Obradoiro Square. There in the square were Marion Bowles and her friend Fran, frantically waving two large South African flags. After a welcome and a hug we took the flags, retraced our steps to the Porta and walked in a 2nd time singing Shozoloza!

We checked into the hotel, collected our baggage from the Post Office and went to the pilgrim’s mass at 12h00. It is a very moving mass and the singing of the nun reduced most people (including Mr Finn and Marion Jackson) to tears! After the mass we went to the pilgrim office to collect our certificates but the queues were out the door and in the street so we decided to try later. We met Marion and Fran again at 3pm and walked around sightseeing until dinnertime, which we had in a pub called Derby’s. At about 20h30 we went back to the pilgrim office and stood in a shorter queue to get our certificates. Finn, Marion and Anneliese got the Compostela - based on a 14th C document in Latin - proving that they had walked at least the last 100kms. They were very proud of their achievement. I asked for the other document, which is issued to pilgrims who do not profess a religious motive for walking. I also had a chat to the lady in the office about the new rules regarding the credentials. She assured me that all confraternities and associations will be contacted about the new rules.

We had a nightcap before going to bed at about 11pm.

This morning we woke to grey skies and drizzle. Marion and Fran met us at our Hostel for breakfast and they have all moved on to the cathedral where Finn and I will meet them later on. We are hoping to do our night tour this evening with a mid-night visit to a nightclub where they perform a firewater ceremony called the Quimada. Will let you know how that goes. It is the first day in almost 7 weeks that we have not had to get up early, pack a backpack and hit the road - very strange to be walking around with no backpack and no sticks.

Love to all,
S A M and Finn


  1. I am not sure that "Congratulations" is the right word... somehow doing such a long walk in the footsteps of so many other pilgrims over the centuries seems too big for a modern 'congrats'. There must be a sense of achievement, and a mixture of glad/sad feelings about finishing.
    I have enjoyed being able to follow your journey on your blog. Thanks!

  2. Anonymous4:14 pm

    Well done to you all. Such an achievement! Now the feet can come up and all the injuries heal. Enjoy the rest of you stay. Rayna.