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Reflections: Santiago de Compestela

The final shell in the center of the cathedral plaza

The final shell in the center of the cathedral plaza

When one walks into the grand plaza in front of the Santiago cathedral, the remaining few steps of a very long journey, you plant your foot on the last guiding shell found in the center of the plaza, and you experience an overwhelming rush of emotions. They run the gamut from relief at finishing, joy & elation, sorrow that it’s over, and a true sense of the meaning when God speaks, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” It is now the day after arrival into Santiago and I am still trying to sort out what it all meant and will mean as well as trying to gather my emotions into a bit more semblance and calm. It began as a calling, an urging in my spirit and soul, a seed planted in my heart, to come away on a pilgrimage and establish once again that deep communion with God. What began from watching a movie is now reality and over. There were days, especially in the beginning, wondering if I had lost my mind. Yet as I drew closer to Santiago, the kilometers dropping from triple digits to double, then single, I knew, through many small wonders, that God had been faithful to meet me at every turn, every sore body part, and without exception at the end of each exhaustive day.

It could conceivably take me weeks, months or years to sort out the meaning of this entire trip. What I do know is that I would do it all over again… maybe not for a while, but a definite yes. Walking the camino is not merely about something to carry out or achieve. There are days you walk alone for the majority of it, then moments when you walk with others, be they friends, or stranger. Time alone with God, my own prayers and own contemplation of purpose, and for other times it would be in community with another person. I had a small rosary in my pocket and I would often run my fingers over the beads of it while I prayed for people or myself. Each singular bead represented either a person or a situation. Sometimes while praying the Lord’s prayer, each bead would be a singular part of the prayer. These were the days often spent in deep searches of the heart. Am I a better person because of this pilgrimage? I hope so. Do I have a clearer understanding of who I am and God’s purpose for me? Yes and no, though I am not fearful anymore of the unknown. Nor am I frustrated with not knowing. I’ve learned it’s okay and that it doesn’t matter because family, friends, and being in community, whether new or old community is what inevitably matters most.

I have a lot of pictures of our last two days. I hope you enjoy them all and have enjoyed this journey with Rick and I. Thank you all for coming along! Thank you Jason and Kate, our guides from Fresco Tours! You made this adventure exciting, filled with great food, laughter, sights of wonder and filled with history. I shall remember it all for years to come. And I know, we shall meet again!

Gardens of Andeade

Gardens of Andeade

Camino Day 8 SAM-06

At Pazo de Andeade

At Pazo de Andeade

Weary pilgrims along the route

Weary pilgrims along the route

Corn crib for drying the corn or grain.

Corn crib for drying the corn or grain.

Grapevine covered arbour

Grapevine covered arbour

Gardens of Pazo de Andeade

Gardens of Pazo de Andeade

The cross in the courtyard of Pazo de Andeade

The cross in the courtyard of Pazo de Andeade

Pazo de Andeade

Pazo de Andeade

Camino Day 8-29

The lonely walk

The lonely walk

Camino Day 8 SAM-24

James & Jane

James & Jane

Elijah, Andre & Theresa

Elijah, Andre & Theresa

Nancy & Jason (our guide)

Nancy & Jason (our guide)

Jay & Elaine

Jay & Elaine

Appy's at Pazo de Andeade

Appy’s at Pazo de Andeade

Jim playing with fire

Jim playing with fire

Jay (married to Elaine) with Lea

Jay (married to Elaine) with Lea

Camino Day 9-11

A lot of forest walking

A lot of forest walking

The last few miles

The last few miles

Satiago Compestela cathedral

Satiago Compestela cathedral

A mass of pilgrims

A mass of pilgrims

On foot & bike

On foot & bike

Inside the cathedral

Inside the cathedral

Mass about to begin

Mass about to begin

Where we go to get our compestela after we have finished the camino

Where we go to get our compestela after we have finished the camino

Amazing architechture

Amazing architechture

Camino Day 9-56

The massive incense burner which is lit at the end of mass and then swung from one end of the transept to the other

The massive incense burner which is lit at the end of mass and then swung from one end of the transept to the other


Rick & I with Jason & Kate

Rick & I with Jason & Kate

About the author Along the Way: life begins at home yet our door is forever open to adventure, new places and new people. Welcome to our travels around the world.

This blog is really about us, my husband Rick and I and our travels. We are retired with grown children and two granddaughters. We travel...exhilarating in new experiences and places and all that each day holds. We believe that life begins to fade once we fail to live into it anymore. So come along the way with us and enjoy the journey too!

All posts by Along the Way: life begins at home yet our door is forever open to adventure, new places and new people. Welcome to our travels around the world. →

8 Comments

  1. Whgat a beautiful ending you have written for your trip. And you look wonderful too! Thank you so much for sharing this whole pilgrimage with us.

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  2. Salvador Pujol July 25, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Congratulations Diane & Rick!!
    We followed your pilgrimage all these days and we enjoied the reflections that have done. We have liked the photos a lot. We’re so happy you had finish the “camino”. Have a good day in Santiago de Compostela and a nice return to Canada.
    Marta & Salvador

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  3. Thanks for following us Salvador and Marta. It has been a journey we shall remember for a long, long time. We have met and made some wonderful friends, such as you two as well as others. I will need to keep up with my Spanish so I can talk with you and Marta on Skype.
    Blessings,
    Diane

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  4. Thanks Beth! It has been a pleasure and a joy to share with everyone. See you in September in AZ.

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  5. your photos are magnificent!! each its own story…
    your words always a direct hit on the heart…
    releasing the fear that dwells in the unknown… is there any more waste than that?
    there is peace and rest available to us thru faith; right here, right now, as we are; with direction as clear as tangible bright yellow arrows guiding our very next step, even in times of total darkness…
    thank you for the light and comfort you give me…
    i couldn’t sleep last night with santiago piercing my heart… deep struggles and sorrow is the inherent part of this world, but we know the Lord dwells within… life is sometimes forever changed, but we are ok…

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  6. Cindy, you have provided wonderful words of encouragement for me. When I have been stressed or down you seem to cast a ray of hope and joy at the precise moment needed. When I just needed to know God is with you, to move that thought from the head to the heart, you were there. Thank you for being here, following. As for Santiago, yes, it has pierced my own heart too.

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  7. Great final entry, Diane: a deep reflection on what the Camino does to enrich your experience of life. But I don’t think you need to be a better person because you are lovely just the way you are.

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  8. Thank you Jason! You’re a true encourager and a joy to be around

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