On the Plaza


Monday, July 18, 2016
Santiago de Compostela
Day 48

A day to savor Santiago. After breakfast, we went shopping. I bought a ceramic statue of St. James wearing pilgrim attire. I really like it, but of course buying a ceramic item is crazy. I’ll be lucky to get it home unbroken. I also purchased a number of small souvenir items for gifts back home.

Mass was at noon at the cathedral. I had asked if the famous San‐ tiago Botafumeiro (a thurible, which is a censer that releases incense) was going to swing at any time on Monday or Tuesday. There doesn’t seem to be a regular schedule for the Botafumeiro.

One of the cathedral assistants told me that some groups pay to have the Botafumeiro swing, but such times are unpredictable. Lucky pilgrims just happen to be in the cathedral at the right time. I wasn’t lucky. The assistant suggested that I try again the following morning. There was a large number of African pilgrims in the cathedral, including a youth chorus that sang during mass.

We ate lunch at a café right on the cathedral square. I had sangria and read my book. A guitarist strummed and sang. James went to speak with him and to examine his guitar. This is what I love: sit‐ ting in a Spanish plaza with a beautiful view before me (the cathedral and all the activity on the square), with a jug of sangria and a good book. Heaven. The pilgrims arriving at the cathedral—journey’s end—were all joyous, taking photos and embracing and laughing.

St. James awaited us. When the pilgrim rush thinned out, we went into the cathedral and got in the queue to hug the statue of St. James and see the crypt and tomb where the saint rests.

After paying our respects to St. James, I did a bit more light shop‐ ping, then back to the square to listen to music and watch people. A delightful day.

9,986 steps today

To see additional photographs, go to https://wp.me/P7rs4v-sY.

Author: Camino for Boomers

I am the owner and editor of Bayou City Press in Houston, Texas. As a Foreign Service Officer, I lived and traveled all over the world for 33 years. My new book is "Savoring the Camino de Santiago: It's the Pilgrimage, Not the Hike."

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