I “slept in” on Saturday morning until 7:30. It was glorious. At this point sunrise isn’t until nearly 9am so it is easy to stay in bed since it is so dark! Plus, I could hear the rain and wasn’t looking forward to another wet day. But, at least I wouldn’t be walking in the rain today!
I took a shower…the first morning shower since I started the Camino. A shower is such an important part of my home morning ritual, but it just doesn’t work on the Camino. Typically in the morning pilgrims roll out of bed and get walking. But the best reason I know of not to take a shower is because it saturates your feet with water and makes them more susceptible to friction and blisters!
I made arrangements to meet Lynn from Schenectady for the noon Pilgrim mass and I wanted to go to the big food market before then. I also had to move to another pension since I couldn’t get a room at the same place for two nights in a row. But, I couldn’t check into my new place until the afternoon so I checked my pack at the post office.
Yes, you heard right! The post office in Spain, called Correos, has a whole division that caters to pilgrims. They make it very easy to ship stuff from a post office along the Way to Santiago as I did in Burgos with my IKEA Frektah bag that I will use to check my bag and poles when I fly home. They also provide stage to stage pack transfer service. And, in Santiago they offer pack and luggage storage for €2.50 for the first day and €1 for each day after that.
I headed to the market and as luck would have it went past a side entrance to the Santiago Cathedral and went in. This year the cathedral is undergoing interior renovations so it is not being used for any services. It definitely is a construction site but at least I got to see it. I lit a candle for my dad and took some pictures. I could have stood in line to hug Saint James but didn’t feel moved to do so.
It is disappointing that I won’t get to go to a mass at the Santiago Cathedral. But I knew this long before I started the Camino this year and it is OK. A highlight at the pilgrim mass is the swinging of the botafumeiro which is a huge incense burner that “purifies” the congregation as it is swung with the help of 8 priests high overhead.
By the time I got to the market, I was getting wet and hungry so I ducked into a cafe that had a Taste of the Market breakfast buffet. For €12 I had a plateful of different cheeses, quince paste, chorizo and sausage, jamon and bread.
I quickly ran through a couple of buildings at the market. It only made me sad that I couldn’t buy food to cook. The veggies and meats and cheeses were all beautiful.
The pilgrim mass was at noon and I wanted to get there early since it gets very crowded. It was great to see Lynn and we got to chat before the service. She had to end her Camino because of the problems she was having with her knee. I think it was a smart decision but a very difficult one. She is a runner and is in very good physical shape and never expected to have to cut her Camino short.
The service was nice but nothing will compare to what I experienced in O Cebreiro so I probably will not attend any more masses on the Camino. By the way, Kate who I went to the O Cebreiro mass with was in the town for two days so she went to the mass the next night as well and reported on her blog that it was completely different from the night before. It was a different, older priest and the service was more traditional. Clearly the planets were aligned for me in O Cebreiro!
I saw lots of people I knew at the Santiago Pilgrim’s service including Team BTV, the three ladies from Burlington who I hadn’t seen since I was riding the horse up to O Cebreiro.
I am hoping we can all get together after we get settled back in Vermont to talk about post Camino reflections.
I also saw Shirley who I hadn’t seen for several days but was such an important part of ending several long days in a row during my last week walking.
She said she hardly recognized me without my hat!
After the service I had to move to my new pension which felt like it was miles from town. But in fact, it was just a short walk and I had a beautiful view of the Cathedral from my room.
I called my mom because today is her 85th birthday!!! We talked for a long time. My biggest concern with going on the Camino when I did was that I would miss being with my mom on her birthday, and her 85th at that. She was very understanding, but I still felt regret that I wouldn’t be there.
Six of us made plans to meet for dinner and on my way I dropped a bag with things I wouldn’t need for my walk to Fisterra and Muxia at the Correos. I wanted my load to be as light as possible.
Dinner was good. The Menu Del Dia included a bowl of mussels, cockles and scallops, a scallop dish and fish for the main course, Dorado.
On my way back to my pension, I bumped into Claudia from Toronto and Karen from the UK. I was thrilled since the last time I saw them we were riding the horses to O Cebreiro. It is funny how everyone seemed to get disbursed after that point.
Claudia told me her mom was still in the restaurant so I went looking for her and in the process bumped into several other people I know. This is how it works on the Camino!
It was great to see Loretta and her two friends from Quebec City! But, I was tired and ready for bed so I headed off for a good night’s sleep.