There are no words to express the mixed feelings we get when we arrive in Santiago. It is always a happy/sad time. Already we miss the journey of the Camino del Norte: the ocean views, beaches, fishing ports, hamlets, farmers, peregrinos, cows, chickens, sheep, goats, mountains, even the windmills looming overhead. 😢
Walking the Camino is like nothing else. When can you be in a mix of like-minded people from various corners of the world walking in the same direction, along the same path, with their own unique goals in mind?
Today we went to the cathedral for mass which was in Spanish. I couldn’t pick out enough words to make sense of what was said but did hear the words “Canada” and “peregrinos” so assume the arrival of Canadians was acknowledged. 😃
When Mass was over, eight men in burgundy robes filed in and lowered Botafumiero, getting ready to swing it. They say the use of a swinging censer like Botafumiero began in the 11th century to help cover the stench of arriving pilgrims who were unwashed. It was also believed that incense smoke had a prophylactic effect in the time of plagues and epidemics.
As it swings, it dispenses thick clouds of incense. The swings reach heights of 21 meters, almost to the ceiling at a speed of 68 km/hr and goes on for 80 seconds of swinging. Apparently it costs a pretty penny which explains why Botafumiero doesn’t always swing.
Dave and I are just settling in after a really fun evening! We went to the same restaurant where we ate when we arrived in Santiago the first time in 2015. Back then I took a photo of Dave through my empty wine glass. We did the same thing tonight for old time’s sake! 😂 🍷 Sometimes we do silly things when we’ve drank most of a bottle of wine between us!
On our way back to our hotel we caught sight of Santiago’s famous shadow of a pilgrim. There are four different versions of the origin of this vision. The most popular version is about a clergyman from the cathedral and a nun from a convent on the other side of the square who were having a secret affair. The priest, tired of having to hide his love, proposed to his lover to run away from Santiago, away from censoring looks. So one night he went to meet her in the square dressed as a pilgrim so as not to attract attention. It is said that he waited for her for hours but she never showed up. The shadow, in this case, represents the priest in disguise. He has never resigned himself to losing his beloved and returns every night to wait for her.