Saturday, July 22, 2006

Arriving at Santiago de Compostela

On the 26th May 2006 at around 3 pm I finally arrived at my destination, in front of the Cathedral at Santiago de Compostela.

At this spot where the photo was taken is where I broke down (in elation and pain). This is the same spot 4 years ago that I had vowed to come back as a pilgrim. It is impossible not to get emotional. I believe it is the same for all pilgrims.

I have decided to complete the journey by going into cathedral with my backpack and walking stick before heading down to the pilgrim office to get my compostela.

First stop, the Potico of Glory. Built in the 12th century, pilgrims over the years have been leaving their mark from their hands that a depression had form around a particular area in the pillar.

That's the spot. Another tradition is to knock one's head on the other side of the pillar to ward off accidents.

The botafumeiro hanging in the middle of the Cathedral. These were swung across the cathedral with burning incense to rid of the smell from the stinking pilgrims during the middle ages. Now, it is just a ritual during the mass (and in case there there are still foul smelling pilgrims).

Next, down in the basement to the tomb of Santiago (St. James) where his remains is supposedly kept.

Then up to the second floor to embrace his statue from behind.

With my credencial from Roncesvalles, together with the stamps from the places along my camino as proof of my camino, I finally got my compostela. (shells not included)

This one goes out to Evanum (all first name are in latin).

After the pilgrim office, I started looking for a place to stay for the night. Later, as I put my backpack down in the pension it suddenly dawn upon me that I am no longer a pilgrim. I had became a tourist in Santiago de Compostela.

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