I cried exactly 3 times in the past 36 days.
Day 8: The day the evil alien blister from hell burst and I had to walk for miles. I had a 5-minute melt down, put on my flip flops and carried on – miserably – but I got there.
Day 35: Upon arriving in Santiago de Compostela we found our way to the Cathedral and the Pilgrim’s Office. I have to tell you we lost track of the shells and walked in circles tired and frustrated. It’s a bit of a dirty trick. When you reach Santiago, you discover it is still 4.7 kms to the Cathedral. Augh!
Had it not been for Abi’s willingness to stand in line we would not have our compostelas. But he did and finally, it was our turn. The woman took our pilgrims passports, STAMP, STAMP, completo. She wrote Abi Maghamfar on Abi’s compostela. She told me my name in Latin is Patricia and I said, si, but I am Patti. Si, but in Latin you’re Patricia so we have to write Patricia because the compostela is in Latin. No, my name is Patti, I want Patti. The clerk next to her proceeded to tell me again that they must write all names in Latin. Well, you didn’t write Abi in Latin, I said. That’s because he does not have a Latin-based name, you do. She actually began to write Patricia and I cried for the 2nd time. Abi told her she doesn’t want Patricia, she looked up at me irritatingly and said, okay, okay. The woman (another pilgrim) standing next to me said, “Be Happy.” I swear I wanted to smack her down right then and there. I didn’t walk across Spain to not have my name written on that damn paper! 😉
Day 36: The day after our arrival. We went to the Cathedral and mass was in progress. I could hear the voice of an angel singing but could not see her. Trying to take in the grandeur of the Cathedral and just being there in that moment was so emotionally powerful. And then, the gift we only hoped for was given to all those in attendance. They swung the botafumeiro and it was so moving, with the smoke of the incense, the organ music (come on organ music in a Cathedral!) and knowing that we walked in the path of those who walked before us for a thousand years, it was too much, I cried for the 3rd time.
And then just like that it was over. No fanfare, no hoopla and as Abi said no one to put a lei around your neck and kiss your cheek. It’s just over. O.V.E.R. We walked 350 miles in 30 days, plus 5 days of rest and healing. I could have done without the blisters and the pain of said blisters, but in the end everything happened exactly as it was supposed to. We made all the right decisions at the right moments and we have absolutely no regrets. Thank you, to all of you who followed our journey – and offered words of encouragement – as we walked our Camino. It meant so much to us!
So, what’s next?! Tomorrow morning we’ll catch the 6:19 a.m. train and make our way south to Porto, Portugal! Abi is looking forward to a return visit (and the port!) and I’m looking forward to my first visit to the other half of my heritage. My mother was Portuguese, my father was German. Stubborn don’t ya know?! From Porto, we’ll make our way to Barcelona, and from Barcelona to Aix en Provence, France, where we will plant ourselves for 10 days, sit in cafes and indulge in fabulous french pastry while we watch the world go by. It’s a tough gig, but I think we can handle it. After all, we just walked 350 miles across Spain!