We four walked together after a later than normal start because we knew today was a short day.
Our way was set. Our way should be easy. Our way would be a final triumphant stroll. It would be laughs and joy all the way there.
Conrad, always observant, found it fascinating. He asked if I noticed how quiet all the pilgrims (not just us) had gotten. I theorized that we were feeling the enormity of our journey in our hearts. The silence was an innate respect for the hard-work and spiritual quest we were all taking. Even if some of us were not walking for religious reasons, this was a day of awe, a day of questioning. Did we learn anything and if not, why did we do this? I think do we as Christians learn from the journey Christ made?
I think we all gasped when we first saw a statue in the neighboring town that overlooked the big city of Santiago de Compostella. We could not yet see the Cathedral but it meant we were close. Did we succeed though? Did we succeed?
But we were still tantalizingly close, yet an hour plus walk away. We had to walk through the outer modern and busy part of the city. But yes, we finally glimpsed the Cathedral. Jakob pointed it out to me and, quite touchingly I thought, held me as I got teary eyed.
It was at that moment I realized that I befriended these guys in a way that was paternalistic or at least avuncular. They could easily be my children but because they weren't, I wasn't trying to control them. I supported them and they held me up. I truly cared for them and hope our bond will last. It reminded me of the ache I get when my siblings or cousins or mother intimate that since I'm not a father I don't know how it feels when a parent sees their child get hurt. My extended family might reach further than blood relations and it certainly can feel as strong. My care for the young doesn't have to be just for my own offspring.
We arrived at the Cathedral to bagpipes. Gallician Celt music is all about bagpipes. We rounded the corner, came upon the great square, and dropped our bags.
I love this picture. Conrad and Elias look utterly speechless. We've seen a dozen cathedrals on this walk, but they were mid-Camino. We arrived.
The scaffolding covered two towers but after our journey, we shook that off like we shook off all the bites, bruises, and blisters. The construction did not matter.
And like others who made the journey, we sat or leaned back and gazed at the Cathedral.
I thumbs upped the two Korean girls who I saw for most of my walk.
We cheered the older Uruguay couple who finished their bike ride.
Conrad and Elias began to play their ukelele and harmonica.
After an hour, we took our tourist photos of victory.
After that, we continued our journey.