I don’t like “Santiago” very much. The old city is very beautiful, but I sense an “odd” atmosphere here. It is a city based around pilgrimage, but in shops you will often find “pagan” symbols, next to statues of “Santiago”.
There is a relentless selling culture, and those providing the goods, don’t seem to have any interest in the message of the “Camino”, that we all walk together, and that God is with each and every one of us !!!
It is also a city of “Goodbyes”, with lots of tearful pilgrims, saying “adios” to their “walking friends”. There can be a sense of anti-climax, until you realise that the togetherness and sense of unity of the pilgrim, is something, that we all need to bring back to everyday life. “Santiago” has made us his “Apostles” now.
I had always avoided going to the tomb of “Santiago”, because I don’t like the ornate statues, “glitter” and “Gold”, that surrounds such places. I think “Santiago” would not approve, as I have a sense that he was at “heart”, a simple man. It also “smacks” of idolatry !!!.
I would make an exception this time, out of respect for the man. I would go to the mid-day Pilgrim mass then, make my way to his tomb. It would be a nice way to end my pilgrimage.
The mass was very crowded. I was quite surprised at the number of pilgrims, who ignored the priest`s request, not to take pictures during the service.
I was also astounded by the number of individuals, “texting” and checking their phones for “messages”. Surely just this once, you could switch off the “damn” phone !!! You are not a “Tamagotchi” !!!
The mass was okay, but I did not feel any great connection to “Santiago” here. Perhaps there would be more a sense at his tomb. I joined a long line to visit his resting place that stretched outside the Cathedral.
It took about 40 minutes to finally get into the Church. The way to the tomb led to a marble staircase above the altar, the steps “worn” away, by the constant procession of pilgrims. It was forbidden to take pictures beyond this point.
At the top of the stairs, was a jewel encrusted “bust” of “Santiago”, looking down onto the congregation below. You could touch the “bust”, before descending stairs, down to the crypt below. I did not sense “Santiago” here either !!!.
I went down into the crypt, and behind a metal gated door was a “silver casket”, that was said to contain his remains. I said a prayer and asked a fellow pilgrim, to take a picture. I did not feel “Santiago” here either !!!
I went outside and then down, to the front of the Cathedral. This is the traditional “end point”, for pilgrims on the “Camino”. I smiled at the happy pilgrims embracing each other. They had finally made it !!!. I sensed the presence of “Santiago” here, in their joyful faces. I took a “photo”.
I was feeling a “little down”, as I left the square. However just near the exit, the “great man” was waiting for me, and I had to smile !!!. I had my photo taken with him.
I should have realised that, he would come to me !!!. I could see that he has been very busy this year with all the pilgrims. The poor man had absolutely no legs left, after all that walking !!!
I hope you have enjoyed my blog, and I hope to see you on my next adventure !!!
Bonne Camino, to you all !!!!