I left my well-worn hiking shoes in Santiago.
In medieval times, Camino de Santiago pilgrims burned their clothing at a cross outside the cathedral. They bought new clothes at the nearby marketplace, signaling a new beginning.
I dumped my Merrells in a trash bin.
There was part of me that wanted to keep them, but I realized I was already taking enough back to California.
Camino friendships, amazing scenery, the Spanish people and so much more will be with me forever.
I walked nearly a million steps in my trekking shoes.
But the things I brought home are immeasurable.
We returned to the cathedral at 6pm for the final rooftop segment of our cathedral tour. After climbing 105 steps, we expected to be led out onto a courtyard type area atop the cathedral; a place where we could safely take in the view of the various towers and the surrounding Santiago cityscape.
The views were truly amazing, but imagine our surprise when we found ourselves walking across what seemed to be five inch thick granite shingles! We all quickly took a seat as our guide explained the history and different architectural styles that comprise this beautiful cathedral.
The rooftop tour is not for anyone with a fear of heights. Pilgrims are no longer able to place their hand in the Tree of Jesse, the central column of the Door of Glory. If you look closely in the bottom right photo, you can see the imprint of the hands of millions of Pilgrims who have arrived in Santiago.
Categories: Camino de Santiago
Tags: backpacking, Camino Frances, churches, Galicia, hiking, photo, pilgrimage, Santiago, santiago cathedral, Spain, St. James, the way, travel, walks
Sue and I sat with New Zealand friends Geoff and Sue for the Pilgrim Mass at the Santiago Cathedral. Seats face the altar from three sides. The giant incense burner is above the altar.
We joined about 1,000 at the traditional Pilgrim Mass at the Santiago Cathedral Tuesday. It was a moving ceremony, highlighted by the swinging of the giant incense burner (Botafumeiro) by six robed attendants. They pulled on ropes strung over a pulley high above the altar.
We sat close to the altar, under the path of the burner, which was originally used to fumigate smelly pilgrims.
A nun's pure, angelic voice and a massive pipe organ filled the cathedral with music. Catholic pilgrims received communion. Pilgrims from all over the world were welcomed.
It was a heart-felt punctuation mark for our Camino de Santiago.