Headed off at 7.15 am which qualifies as a bit of a sleep-in for us. We took it fairly handy most of the day and had a few stops. Met Marcus early on with his dad but wasn't game to ask him about the fags. He works as a trauma surgeon which must be a very stressful job so we thought that if the odd smoke eased the stress a bit it can't be all bad. The walk into Santiago was very pleasant, most of it through woods. We cam across quite a few markers on the Camino where people had died. One of the first we saw was for a Japanese pilgrim. About 10 Kms out of Santiago we saw a lovely commemoration to a Myra Brennan.
"Myra Brennan, (52 yrs) née Holland of Kilkenny and Sligo, Ireland who died peacefully in her sleep in Santiago de Compostella on 24/06/03 having just completed her second consecutive Camino".
It finishes appropriately for a Sligo person with a piece from Yeats' Lake Isle of Innisfree:
"And I shall have some peace there
For peace comes dropping slow".
"From Slievenamon today, together all the way"
The memorial was set up on the 5th anniversary of her death by a Brigit R.
She did a fine job.
We arrived in Santiago at 1 pm and headed for The Cathedral. Found accommodation on the way and dropped off the bags. Didn't have a shower as we wanted to smell like real pilgrims when we got our certificate. We then trundled to the Pilgrims Office which was doing great business so we had to queue for half hour and busied ourselves congratulating with the other pilgrims each others' efforts. Managed to get a certificate in Latin without telling too many fibs. The plaza in front of The Cathedral was crowded with pilgrims and everyone was greeting each other probably for the last time. The plaza was also full of young people protesting for real democracy in Spain which entailed a hefty list of items. The pilgrims also showed great interest in the protest which I suppose was part of the plan.
Went out for some beers with a few pilgrims which cost 3 Euros for a small glass. Everyone was bitching about the prices as we were used to getting it for next to nothing on The Camino. Went out for tapas with Marcus and his father, Karl Heinz. Didn't get up to much today. Went to the pilgrim's mass at 12 noon. Had to get there early as it is always packed. It was the normal choral Mass which was very pleasant but not as good as the day before where they had a nun that sang like an angel; or at least better than Julie Andrews. The major excitement was the large crucible with burning incense which they swung over the congregation.