Now What?

The first day after –

I had an early-ish dinner last night by Spain standards (7:45) and was back at my room by 9:30.

A big day yesterday led to a good nights sleep – later than I’ve awoken the last few weeks.  It’s the first day in weeks that I haven’t strapped on the pack and started walking.  And this the thought crossed my mind “now what do I do?”

The pensione has no meals, so I wandered off to the expensive hotel on the square for a very good, but expensive, breakfast.  A treat for me and a reward for finishing.

Wandered the plaza a bit watching the folks arrive and finish the Camino, then went off to the Pilgrim Mass at the cathedral at noon.  Even though I got there a few minutes after 11, most of the seats were already occupied.  It was standing room only.

The entire Camino was such a great experience that I’m still in awe.  I work on words but they don’t flow easily – i feel grateful and privileged to have been on this journey.  Knowing what it meant to me, and knowing how I felt getting in yesterday, I think it touched me more watching folks come in today and greet new friends, family, and loved ones in the plaza.

Mass was interesting – it’s a special Pilgrims Mass that the church does for those arriving.  It was in Latin and Spanish primarily though one verse was read in English.  I need to look it up, but I suspect that they had pilgrims do a couple of readings.  And then the spectacle of watching them swing the Botafumeiro (giant incense burner) from the ceiling.  Of course, a lot of folks videoed that, even though the church leaders ask for no phones to be used, and that made it more challenging for those of us who respect the worship service and the other attendees.  

After the service I took a quick walk through the Galician history museum before it closed.

Because of the transportation challenges, I’ve bagged the trip to Finisterre.  Instead, I will spend another night in Santiago and take the train to Madrid on Tuesday.  Thank goodness for hotel points: I’ll stay in big-hotel-brand hotels the next three nights… compared to spending a fortune at my preferred place in Madrid (it was 7-10 times the cost per night as the places on the Camino).  Gives me another night here and at least one or two of my new friends will be here, too.

Aside from that, lunch, and wandering about town, I got to Alameda Park that has some wonderful views.  Oh, and laundry.  Seems there’s always laundry.  Fortunately there are also laundromats.

Met my friends from Nashville and France for dinner.  While waiting for them I saw our friend the medic from Finland that we haven’t seen for a while – the arrived today.  Hugs all around, and kudos to him for making the journey.  

So great to see all of them and talk about our experiences.  I’m still processing mine, it’ll take a while.  I should see the Nashville folks when they change planes on the way home.

On the way back from dinner I ran across another group of friends & spent a few minutes chatting.  It’s like one big, new family.  And one was the friend from Montana that I haven’t seen for a while, she’s a nice, outdoor-oriented person.

All in all, a good day before we head in our respective own ways.  (I’d say “four corners of the earth, but I don’t wish to give any credence to flat-earth).

It’ll be up and out tomorrow to move to a different hotel in town.

And for today, that’s a wrap.  First day post Camino and it’s still a bit surreal.