Lavacolla to Santiago - 10.4 km

June 16
Lat: 42.882778 Lon: -8.544722

I got up at 6:20 a.m. to meet Hawk and Christine for breakfast and hit the trail by 7:15 a.m. I wanted to make it to Santiago, get my Compostela, and make the noon Mass. The forecast was for rain later in the day so I wanted to get to Santiago before it started. As it turned out I forgot to get a stamp at the hotel this morning so I had no stamp to start. I was concerned that in the 10.4 km I wouldn't find two places to get the stamp. I walked about 3.5 km and came to a cafe so I stopped in and got my first stamp. In about 1.5 km after that, I came to a small chapel where they had a self-stamp table so I stopped again. This completed my two-stamp requirement so that all I had to do was get to the Compostela office and get their stamp and the certificate. I didn't stop until I got into town.

I finally got to the office about 9:30 a.m. and there was already a line for certificates. It was an organized deal. There were about six volunteers taking information and filling out certificates. There must have been about 25 people in front of me and I was in and out in about 20 minutes. They charge 1 euro for the tube to put your Compostela in to protect it. It was well worth it. After that Hawk, Christine and I headed to the cathedral to get there early for Mass. They say it fills up fast and you should get there at least an hour early. They were right… we got there at 11 a.m. and the place was starting to fill up. By the time it mass began, the ushers were closing the doors and not letting anymore people come in.

The mass started and about 10 priests came in and went up to the altar. I thought that they just had a lot of priests at this church, but I found out as the mass proceeded that a lot of these priests came from all over the world and were allowed to take part in the service because they had just hiked the Camino. There were two that spoke English, but most spoke Spanish and German. It was interesting. Just before the close they brought out five or six guys dressed in red and they prepared to lower the big silver incense burner. It was so big it took all of them to get it going. Finally they had it swinging and smoking from one end of the church to the other. They must have swung it a hundred feet high by the time they finished.

After mass let out we all parted company. They went to check in to their hotel and meet up with some friends that they met on the trail that were from Williamsburg, Virginia and I went to try to find some place to stay for the night. I thought that I was going to get into an albergue but there were no more Peregrino spaces available and I ended up at a nice hotel, the San Martin Pinario Hotel, which was reasonably priced. So I booked it for two nights as I'm taking a zero day (a day where you don't hike and you just stay put and rest).

After getting cleaned up I went back out to look the town over. We all agreed to meet at 4 p.m. to do something but when we met it had started to rain so they wanted to show me where their hotel was so I walked to their place to see the building, then I went back to my place. It rained even harder so I planned dinner in the hotel at 8 p.m. tonight.

It has been a good day and with tomorrow off to rest up for the walk to the coast it will be even better. At this point, my total mileage walked is 797.4 km. My time in Spain is getting short, but until I fly out I'm still a Camino Peregrino so...Buen Camino.

Spain Blog 2013

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