Camino de Santiago Day Thirty-seven and Thirty-eight: We made it!

A Salceda to Santiago de Compostela

We decided to walk 22km to the outskirts of Santiago and walk the last few kilometers in the morning.

Neither of us could sleep, so we got up, packed our mochilas for the last time and walked to the old city at 5am. It was dark and rather than being joined by other pilgrims, we passed a few late night partiers and a woman walking her dog. It's not the entrance into Santiago we pictured, but we were all alone in the Praza do Obradoiro in front of the Cathedral.

It was June 17thirty-eight days and 780 kilometers since we started May 11, in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port.




We were two of the first ten pilgrims in line for our compostelas, which meant we got tickets for a free lunch at the historic parador. Peter from Australia showed up and introduced us to Michael and Linda from Washington DC, who also got the lucky tickets.





Peter also knew Ted and Darlene from Winnipeg, and gave them contact, since my phone died and we couldn't contact them. But we enjoyed breakfast together, sharing our thoughts and feelings about each of our pastoral sabbaticals on the Camino. We first met on Day Seven walking into Logroñoa month agoand they have remained one day ahead along the Camino. We are grateful we had a chance to reconnect.

There's no way to plan who you'll meet in Santiago. We are so glad we "bumped into" so many.



Elna and Jolie from South Africa. They decided to walk the Camino together. We are inspired by their enthusiasm and friendship. We ate dinner with them in Puente la Reina in the first week and hadn't seen them since.



We checked into the Hospedería San Martín Pinario, a beautifully restored Monastery, and went to the mass at noon. It was packed. One of the priests read a roll call of all the pilgrims who checked into the pilgrims office in the morningnaming the nationality and the starting point of their Camino. 

The gospel reading was Jesus' parable about the kingdom of God like a mustard seed that starts so small and becomes a tree where birds make their nests. The priest's homily addressed the interactions we have on the Camino, with others and most importantly with God. That God is growing faith in us so that we can continue on our own Caminos, without fear or worry, and contribute to his kingdom in the world.



We went out into the praza to watch pilgrims.



We met Rocco from Italy on Day One walking up the pass from Saint Jean. It was his friend who gave me a cube of parmigiano-reggiano wrapped in tin foil. It was like the emergency food kit for Italians! Every time they saw us along the way they'd shout California! and I'd shout Italiani!



While we were talking with Philipp from Austria, Gia found us. Gia was in our youth group in Moraga and we haven't seen each other since her high school graduation 22 years ago. She knew I was on the Camino from Facebook, and was hoping we might finish at the same time as her husband, who finished the Camino in 18 days! It was a delightful joy to spend an hour together with them and their children catching up on life. 



Guillermo and his family from Argentina. 



In the morning we got haircuts and ran into Ingrid from Norway. We talked about how surprising, and amazing, our bodies are to be stretched and healed and keep on going. We talked about the beauty of the mountainsforests, smells, birds, rivers, frogs, cows and all the different trees and flowers. There are many churches on the Camino, but we agreed that nature itself was a sanctuary for us.



On Day Two we met Liye, a thirty something from Korea. We spent several days walking and talking together. She was on the Camino alone after quitting her job. Her faith is important to her and we talked about how much she loves to worship and it makes her feel so happy. One day we prayed the morning prayer with her. Along the way, she picked up a Camino friend, a Korean woman about our age who was walking alone. 

We lost track of each other until today. We had lunch together and talked about our Caminos. Liye says she has so much more confidence (I can do anything now!) and gratitude, even for the painful aspects of life. We all felt like God orchestrated this miracle of seeing each other on our last day.


Now we rest. We have a few weeks left in Spain to reflect on our Camino. And there is so much to reflect on and be grateful for. 
  • Amy and I walked this together. We walk at different paces, have different needs for people and alone time. This week we will celebrate 33 years of marriage and we have more of the journey ahead of us.
  • Wonderful times of shared experience, learning and fun.
  • Also times of silence, frustration and disappointment.
  • Interactions with people and entering into their stories together. 
  • Awe of the beauty of nature—the drama of clouds and the extravagance of wild flowers that seem to be there just for us.
  • Time alone and together in prayer and worship. Sometimes we felt welcomed into a sacred space, sometimes the forms and language kept us at a distance.
  • Some of the most spiritual places were not in churches or at mass, but around the table and a meal where strangers became friends.
I'm grateful for the time to have been on this Camino and pray the experience continues to ferment in our minds and hearts.

Comments

  1. Hi Mike & Amy,
    Congratulations to you both on completing the Camino to Santiago de Compestala. I enjoyed our conversations when we met along the section from Pamplona and Los Arcos; it seems a long time ago and you and Amy must be in need of some rest, having been walking since we last met in Los Arcos, early in the morning of 17 May. I thank you for the detailed accounts that you provided on your blog and it's great to see some of the people we met along the way, e.g. Like making it to Santiago with you. I hope that you enjoy the rest of your time in Spain and best wishes to you and Amy.
    Best regards,
    Padraic
    Galway, Ireland
    (One of the Irish brothers!)

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  2. Fantastic. Have been reading your adventures but could not figure out how to post comments. You are my heroes! Enjoy the rest of your time in Spain.

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  3. Hi Mike and Amy,
    Congratulations. That is a huge accomplishment. Can't wait to see you both and give you a big hug.
    The Braileans (Jim, Karen & Ellie)

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  4. I have tears of joy as you have completed this part of your journey. Wonderful photos and lots of rain! Miss you both. Had a terrific week of KidsGames. May God continue to lead you to His spiritual waters and refresh you.
    Cathy Tyre

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  5. Hi Mike & Amy,

    Congratulations! I was wondering how you were doing and hoping to see you again. It's good to know that you safely arrived Santiago. I was fortunate to get to know you! Hope our paths will cross again in the near future!! Yasuko

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    Replies
    1. Yasuko—hope your new Camino at Stanford is wonderful. Good to meet you too.

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  6. Hello~ Mike & Amy!! I'm so glad to read your writing. I feel honored to be mentioned in your writing.Thank you. How have you been? I turly miss you. Please let me know your home address. I want to send you Christmas card. I hope we'll get the chance to see you again. I pray for that.

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