The last two days have been pretty lazy, so I decided to write about them together.
Monday, we slept in and didn’t get breakfast until 9:00, at the cafe where I ate breakfast every day when I was last here. Then we wandered the streets, running into Nina and crew long enough to take a picture in front of the cathedral. At noon, we watched a display of giant head…things dancing in a plaza, then met fellow pilgrim Gail for lunch. After lunch we did a little shopping then went back to the hotel for a siesta (just resting, no sleeping). We watched a protest about Galician independence from our window before going back out for the evening.
We met Stephanie for dinner, then headed to the plaza to wait for the big visual/pyrotechnic show, which started at 11:30. We got there at 9:00 and it was already packed, and getting more so. We sat on the ground until the police made everyone stand up, then we sat again about an hour later. We passed the time talking with a woman from California who had just learned of the Camino upon arriving in Galicia and a man who had just completed his third one.
The show itself was spectacular. The fireworks were stunning and the light and picture show was amazing. No 4th of July show could possibly compete.
Today, we slept in somewhat before getting breakfast at the same place as we did Monday. We were at the restaurant before 10:00, and to get there we had to go around the line of people waiting to get into the cathedral for the noon mass. By the time we left breakfast and headed toward our first museum, the line had greatly grown. After leaving, about 15 minutes before the start of mass, the line still stretched down the street.
First, we visited the Museo das Peregrinacións e de Santiago, which explores the growth of Santiago as a city, the history of the Camino, a bit about the building of the cathedral, and (in a temporary exhibit) a 1400 kilometer pilgrimage in Japan. The museum was free today, although they seem to have forgotten that, so one of the employees had to track me down to refund our entrance fee.
Next, we headed just outside the old city to the Museo do Pobo Galego, about the Galician people. The museum is a maze of spaces inside an old church. At one point there are three spiral staircases all originating at the same spot and leading to different places! (I did not enjoy those—my heart rate climbed dramatically in my fear.) All the exhibits were described in Gallego, but we were able to follow along with the pictures and dioramas. Entry was also free today.
After the museums we grabbed lunch (more effort than anticipated since the first few places we tried were full) then rested at the hotel. In the evening we set out to find a cheap bag so we can check our hiking poles at the airport (rumor and the forums have it that most airports are fine with them as carry on—except Santiago). We did a little shopping and joined the line for 7:30 mass at the cathedral, where we met Stephanie again.
Unfortunately for us, they did not swing the botafumeiro, but the mass itself was nice. We had dinner after with Stephanie, then we said our goodbyes as we all are leaving tomorrow.
Our flight is tomorrow afternoon, with an overnight in Dublin. I may or may not post a final reflection about this Camino, but if I don’t, thank you for joining the three of us on this long and amazing journey!