We sometimes feel you have to be crazy to walk the Camino! It may not be a necessary attribute, but it helps when like minded pilgrims meet and journey together. Our BBF after walking most of the Camino alone, walked most of one day with Pat and Dan, a lovely couple from Canada and Lisa, their adopted Camino daughter from Würzburg. He then decided that he so enjoyed their company that he wanted to walk the rest of the way with them. Pat writes a daily blog of their journey which you can find here www.patanddanmakingtracks.com
We rather feel that one of the reasons Alan did this was because of the emotion he had left at the Cruz de Ferro. The other was because Pat and Dan were just that little bit crazy, like he is. They sing a particular sea shanty along the way to motivate themselves, called "Barret's Privateers." Then when they passed the kilometre stones making the way, they sang a bottle on the wall song to mark the count down of the kilometres left to go to Santiago. But even before they start in the morning the ritual is to adopt the "Superhero " pose before setting off. And do you know what, they do not even feel stupid doing it! Alan said it was because one can only be truly happy in the company of friends, and he had had enough of sorrows and grief and wanted to enter Santiago on a happy note.
Walking now in a group of six (bears included) is slower than when alone, but oh so much more fun. On thelast day we knew we would be passing the 1km marker, so Alan bought and carried a bottle of beer, plus some biscuits to have with the tin of Sardines he had been carrying since St. Jean Pied de Port in France! We did say it helps to be a it crazy didn't we?
So here we are with only one kilometre to go.
The crazy humans danced a sort of jig and sang the bottle song and then drank the beer and ate sardines on toast to mark the occasion. We should also mention that along the way we had picked up another like minded soul called Kim, another lovely Chica from Germany.
Pat and Lisa had heard Alan sing the hymn "to be a Pilgrim" in the church in Portomarin and had asked if they could sing it with him. He loved this idea and so gave them a copy of the words, but Pat being a Superhero, was able to download the music as well. These two chicas had lovely voices and so it was that on the way into Santiago at the chapels they found open they sang the hymn to great acclaim from those who heard it. Alan said it was a joyous moment and one not to be forgotten. The last chapel they found was at Monte do Gozo.
We went directly to the Pilgrims' Office on our arrival and queued for some two hours to get our Compostella. In Latin Alan is called "Alanus"!
Then everyone departed to go to their various hostels, hotels and Albergues promising to meet up later for a meal.
Kim had researched a great Italian restaurant, they were all fed up with Pilgrims Menus and Lisa had said she wanted to eat pasta, but had a pizza instead!
Our first rest day since starting on 23rd April was taken up with some necessary admin as Alan's boots were beginning to come apart at the seams. He also wanted to send back all the stuff he had carried and not needed!!!!
The gang met again at 11:00hrs to get good seats for the Pilgrim's Mass at 12:00hrs
Here we were joined by Judith, yet another nice Chica from Germany. Kim sat in front of us so missed out on the photo.
The service was needless to say in Spanish, but we were all able to follow it more or less. During the Communion itself Alan admitted to being a bit tearful as he found it a very moving moment. Some of the others did too, so he was not alone. At the end they swung the Botafumerio which was used to get rid of the stink of the Peregrinos in the Middle Ages but now is just for show.
We bears were a bit worried as we had heard it had been shot out of the Cathedral a number of times in the past!Lunch was called for after this moving moment. The chicas then wanted to do shopping so Dan and Alan went for a beer, well they said they needed an isotonic drink, over which they set the world to rights.
The evening was now spent in a Tapas Bar.
Where the best Tapas we have had so far was consumed to great acclaim by all. Not cheap, but, oh so delicious. Lisa though needed chocolate.
The others much to Alan's delight wanted ice cream. Bed was at around 23:00hrs which is very late on the Camino where normally the humans are in bed by 21:00hrs!!!
Today our last day in Santiago, we had to visit the shrine of the Saint. We started early and so Alan had another tearful moment when he laid the funeral card for Hanna at the shrine.
This is us hugging the Saint and makes the official ending of our pilgrimage.
We toured the Cathedral Museum and Pat and Alan sang the Hymn in the Cloisters.
Pat and Dan two of the nicest humans! Pat understands us bears too.
We are off to Finis Terrae and Muxia tomorrow and so we must leave you there as there is much still to do.