After this it was time to go find some food and begin the traditional celebrations. So I headed back to...
The only thing was I hadn’t walked into Santiago with anyone so I went on my own comfortable that other pilgrims would show up. As I was ordering I heard a discussion about the Arles route and a question from a French woman concerning why no one walks the Chemin where she lives. I entered the conversation and suggested that I’d just walked it and she immediately invited me to join their table, which I happily did. It was really nice to sit with 5 other peregrinos and do what peregrinos do...talk Camino! They had all just walked in on the Via de la Plata, so I had questions about changes since 2014. Women from France, Canada and Finland (who gave me a lovely hug at the end of the evening) a fellow from Holland and another from Spain. There was interest about our Camino For Alzheimer’s as the disease had unfortunately touched the lives of several at the table. We managed to consume many tapas and somehow even more wine! I also met three American ladies from the Frances who wanted to know more about our walk, so it turned out to be a very social evening. We later said good night and found our ways home.
Last night was just another bed, about the 55th different bed, and as such I didn’t sleep as well as I thought I would, but I compensated by staying in bed until after 9. I felt a bit heavy and clumsy when I got up and realized it was just my body and mind relaxing after pushing itself for weeks. It felt like it was supposed to be doing something else. Walking maybe? They serve a great breakfast where I’m staying and after a second cup of tea, that was amazing, I headed outside for a look around and to get some chores done. Most of those completed it was time to wander the unique old town and I bumped into my old friend Shinji who it turns out also walked in yesterday, as did David who was the fast walker I shared much of a day with last week. He saw me arrive in the plaza yesterday and took the photos of me that I posted.
He was still carrying his pack because he stayed in an albergue last night and thought he had to take it with him. So I assume he lugged it around all day, poor guy. We parted ways at the Cathedral where you are not allowed to enter with a pack any longer. I assume he found somewhere to spend the rest of the day. He’s chosen a 7 am train to Madrid tomorrow and I’ll be on one at the more civilized time of 9:50 am.
With the outside clean, the inside is now being restored. I guess it provides me with another reason to return here in a few years:)
The apparent final resting place of St. James who is specially celebrated each July 25th on my birthday. Clearly I was destined to walk to Santiago:)
Apparently my body was still craving food after having had breakfast just 3 hours earlier so I visited my next favourite place to munch.
The key to getting a seat is to arrive just before mass at the cathedral ends at 13:00 so that you have a chance of getting a table. I need not have hurried.
Of course it’s off season with very few walkers coming in each day compared to the height of the season when thousands arrive daily. The menu is still brilliant with huge portions and a great selection all for a minimal €10 including water, bread, dessert and wine!
Just after I ordered the soup and cod, my friends from the previous evening walked in and I was invited to again join their table. A very Camino thing to do, and appreciated. I was going to write this post over lunch, but the opportunity to sit with others was much more enjoyable.
The cod was amazing!
And I had the moistest Santiago cake I’ve ever enjoyed. I know all my Camino friends would want to be here to enjoy this feast...and probably a few others too!
After lunch we went to the Pilgrim’s museum which is quite good and wandered reading and viewing all the historical stuff. This is a china drinking flask shaped as a scallop shell. I’d like one of these.
Now I’m back in my room where there is great wifi and it’s now 17:30. Shortly I’ll repack my gear, this time for travel and then head back to the tapas bar to hopefully meet my friends or find others and hear about their experiences.