Day 37- October 23, 2017 (I took some days off to nurse a cold and a stomach virus)
Ligonde to Santiago de Compostela, Spain
The approach to the Cathedral in Santiago is from the back, and the entry to the square is through an ancient arched passageway dating back over 1000 years. Many people were standing under it to have a picture taken to show their completion of their camino.
I was told by someone I could not enter the Cathedral with my pack so I quickly went to a hotel just a few blocks from the Cathedral and got a room. I immediately left my pack and set out to explore the Cathedral.
The Cathedral is less impressive than some I had seen. The Cathedral in Burgos had definitely been much larger, but this felt much more personal. It is possible to walk up and behind the main alter, looking down on the main floor of the Cathedral. Looking down from behind this intimately carved and gold leaf sculpture offers quite a unique vantage point. Under the alter a very small door leads down into a dark passage. This is where St. James’s remains are said to be laid. A tiny silver casket is located behind bars and is softly lit. Pilgrims spend a minute or two looking, praying, or contemplating their journey in this place.
All-in-all very impressive when you consider so many people make this journey to come to this very spot.
After leaving the cathedral, I went to the pilgrims office to get my last stamp on my credential passport and to receive my Compostela, A young woman asked me where I had started, and do I also want a certificate of distance, to which I righteously responded “YES, it was 500 miles!” That declaration was my reward for many, many miles of discomfort. I felt proud. My name was written in Latin on my Compostela with the date of completion. It’s now officialI.