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Cal "Odat" Berry
City: Kansas City
Begins: Apr 16, 2016
Date: Tue, May 24th, 2016
Start: Santiago de Compostella
Trip Distance: 353.7
Entry Visits: 1,586
Journal Visits: 16,070
Guestbook Views: 468
Guestbook Entrys: 54
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This will be my last post from my Camino adventure. I've had great fun writing it as my personal record of all my adventures on this crazy walk across Spain. I want each of you that have sent texts and emails to know how much they are appreciated and loved. I have saved them all and hope to thank each of you personally when I see you. I will keep my picture diary going for a few more weeks as Nancy and I travel around Spain if anyone is interested. It is located at calspain.wordpress.com.
I got up early to go to the Pilgrim office to receive my Compostella. After waiting in line for about 40 minutes I walked up to the counter and gave the woman my Pilgrim credential filled and dated with stamps from every Alburgue along my journey. This proves to the officials that you have indeed walked the whole way. They give you a cool certificate in Latin and you can buy another certificate showing your kilometers walked which I purchased. The awarding of the Compostela is the final act of everyone's Camino and it is indeed a strange feeling of finality.
I toured the Cathedral de Santiago Compostela this afternoon. There are many statues of the Saint throughout the Cathedral but the most interesting one is partially covered by flowers in order to be more politically correct. It is a statue of Santiago as the Moor Slayer (Matamoros) with him brandishing a sword upon a white horse with a multitude of dying and dead Muslims below. That is the part that is covered in flowers. The crypt below the alter actually holds the bones of the Saint in a gold and jewel encrusted casket. And finally a time honored tradition is to walk up the stairs behind the alter to the life sized statue of the Saint and hug him from behind. It's weird to see the hands and arms of the Pilgrims surrounding the Saint from the front of the alter. It might be even more strange to hug the gold and jewel covered statue, but of course I did it. I had to coax Jo to do it as she thought it to be almost commercialized. I told her you may only be here once at the end of a Camino and to go for it.
Throughout the afternoon the four of us talked about the reality of going back to our real lives. The Camino has been almost surreal in its grasp on our lives, so powerful that you begin to feel it is the actual reality of your life. It is especially hard to shake that feeling as the journey winds down. The Pilgrims go slower and savor the last experiences; they blame it on being so tired but it is really the desire to extend their reality on the trail.
For the four of us, the core for us of the larger crew , Jon, Jo, Desiree and me, the hardest part is the actual parting. This will sound very strange but for the past 40 days we have spent almost 24 hours a day with each other: walking together, eating and breaks together, brushing our teeth together, sleeping in bunk beds with our gear strewn everywhere, combining our rotten smelly clothes into one laundry load, teasing each other unmercifully and becoming lifelong friends. We say our final goodbyes tonight and in the morning. In fact, after tomorrow I will be the only member of the larger crew still in Santiago. That will be very strange.
The four of us shared our final Camino dinner together of calamari and steak and chicken and French fries. Then we went out for a final Crema de Aurjo. Jon disappeared for awhile and came back bearing gifts and cards for each of us. Each gift was perfect for the recipient: Desiree a bracelet, Jo a box of chocolate, and me a bottle of Crema de Aurjo. It was another emotional moment of the last few days. We said goodnight and promised to meet in the morning for a final coffee. Which we did. We all went our separate ways today but we will see each other again. I can hardly wait.
Thanks once again for following along on this poor attempt to describe a journey so unique and lovely. I hope I didn't bore you too often. Know that I could feel every reader behind me every step of the way and I thank each of you for that. I look forward to going back to my real life. My beautiful and tolerant wife joins me on the 31st in Madrid to start our own adventure together. For six weeks we are renting a car and staying in Airbnbs across Spain and Portugal with stops in Gibraltar and Morocco and Iceland along the way. We will drink several arujos to your health and happiness.
Go to calspain.wordpress.com for more pictures.
Please send me a message on my Guestbook as I love hearing from you when I am out on the trail. It always makes my day. Thank you.
The world comes to you One Day At A Time, enjoy each one!