Woke up a bit earlier at 6:30 so I could arrive in Santiago by late morning. After a cafe con leche grande from the bar across the street, it was walking by flashlight on wooded unpaved trails until daylight around 8:45 am. Then past the airport runway and Mount Gozo. This was where the medieval pilgrims got their first view of the cathedral, but with the growth of the city, it is now almost impossible to see from there. I did not see it until I was in the old part of the city, nearly another hour of walking through the suburbs. Eric twisted his ankle, so I came in alone, about 13 miles.
The albergues are all beyond the city center, so I had a pension in mind. As I neared, an older lady approached saying she had rooms for rent. I took a look and it was very nice for 20 euro-she and her husband were very friendly and accomodating.
Since it was only 11:30, I hustled right over to the cathedral for the pilgrim's mass. By the time I arrived it was standing room only with at least 1200 people in attendance. Of course, not all were pilgrims. The bishop and eight priest's said the mass, thenun with the beautiful voice sang, and the botafumeiro (a large incense burner) was swung. This was done in past times to cover up the smell of stinky peregrinos and I certainly was one myself today!
This cathedral and the mass definitely was lively and hectic with pilgrims taking pictures of the church, tourists taking pictures of pilgrims, and the local townfolk tolerating it all. Compared to the sterile museumlike cathedrals in Burgos and León and their no photo signs, this was an active, interesting, happening place. I picked up my compostela after mass so I now have my official notice that this pilgrimage is complete. It was also fun to remeet many of the fellow pilgrims that I had gotten toknow over the past few weeks.
It has been almost five weeks since I have been in a motor vehicle. I am happy to say that I travelled every step of the 500 miles on foot and carried my backpack every bit of it.