Friday, May 31, 2013


After breakfast we met at the Monte de Gozo reception and started walking. It had been drizzling so everything was wet. After walking for about 45 minutes I called Luis and asked him to fetch the Irish lady.
We stopped at the little cafĂ©-bar opposite the Porta do Camino to wait for her but she called to say that with the rain coming down she was waiting for us under the arches in the Cervantes square.
Bob went marching into the town on his own. "Every time I've walked into Santiago I have managed to get lost". He told me yesterday.  I just hoped he didn't get lost this morning.

The others walked through the Porta (the old gateway) and we walked together into the old city.  We found the Irish lady waiting for us and 6 of us walked to the cathedral.  When we arrived at the side door of the cathedral, I suggested to Reinette that she take Janet and Pat to the square to see the front of the cathedral.  I sent a message to Johnny Walker, letting him know that we had arrived. He said that he would be with us in 2 minutes.
Just then Bob arrived, 'I managed to get lost again!" He said.  Bob had missed the arrows and shells in the pavements and had walked away from the cathedral. Reinette, Janet and Pat came back and then Johnny Walker arrived. He told us that he had reserved a bench for us in the front row and that the group's name "Camino Caracoles 2013" would be called out before the mass.
We had time to check into the hotel and leave our backpacks with our other luggage which had already been delivered.  Then we all went back to the cathedral which was absolutely packed. Johnny was there to guide us through the crowd and we took our places in the front row.  The botafumeiro was hanging above the altar so we knew that it would swing after the mass. I don't think I've ever seen the cathedral so crowded and the security personal had to constantly move people who were sitting in the aisles, blocking the passages.  There were groups of young children sitting on the floor in front of the benches. The army were sitting in the enclosed area where Reinette and I had sat two weeks earlier with the Pilgrim Office 'Amigos!'

We felt like VIPs sitting in the front row.  A young man read out the names of the countries pilgrims had arrived from the previous day.  He then read out the names of some of the groups that had arrived - including Los Caracoles 2013!  We felt so proud of our little group


The mass lasted about an hour and then Johnny lead us outside, through the gift shop so that we wouldn't have to negotiate the front stairs.  We followed him to the Pilgrim's Office and we were led through the waiting queue to an office downstairs. 
Johnny had arranged for the Compostela certificates to be prepared and one by one, the walkers sat at the desk and answered the questions required to earn the certificate.  It was quite an emotional moment for Pat who had asked for her late brother's name to be included on the document - and for the Irish lady who accepted a memorial Compostela in her late husband's name.
Bob proudly displayed his completely full credencial.
After a group photograph, we all went to the Casino for a celebratory lunch. 


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