Just five minutes from Pension A Solaina, we found Bar El Mundo and stopped in for some toast and coffee before heading into the forest to San Anton. During this stretch, we met a delightful nun who was walking alone, so we spent several minutes talking with her as we proceeded through these eucalyptus groves. The morning was still chilly, but the sky was a bright blue. I was so grateful that we would have such a beautiful day to walk into Santiago. Answered prayer!
We went through the Amenal Tunel under the N-547 and then made the long climb up to the airport and around to San Paio.
At the top of the hill in Villamaior, we stopped for lunch at a nice albergue/bar.
Refreshed from this, we moved on past the TV station, down the hill to San Marcos and were soon at Monte de Gozo and the monument commemorating the visit of Pope John Paul II.
I wanted to cross over the adjacent park area to find the Pilgrim statues that I had missed on the last trip, so we spent an extra ten minutes heading south to find them. When we got there, there was a bus load of tourists who were swarming all over the place so we had to wait until they were gone to get some good pictures. This was somewhat annoying, but we were careful to remind ourselves that they had as much right to be there as we did. This little side trip did not disappoint.
After the statue experience, we hiked back to the monument and got a Magnum chocolate bar for two Euros at the snack bar and then headed down the hill to the city. In a few minutes we were crossing over the train tracks on the rickety foot bridge into the environs of Santiago. We stopped to rest at a bench on Rua San Pedro, then picked up the Camino through the narrow streets to Praza Obradoiro.
Coming down the stairs through the archway leading to the plaza, we were greeted by a bagpiper who was playing an intermittent salute to all the pilgrims. Then it was into the huge open space in front of the west face of the Cathedral. As all pilgrims know, this is a very emotional time. Heather was overcome and fell to her knees sobbing, so thankful that she had had made it.
After we had given thanks for our journey, I took my backpack off and hoisted it above in a victory celebration.
Heather took off her shoes because she felt she was on holy ground. We got some good pictures of her heavily bandaged feet. By now, she had blisters on every toe.
After resting for a long time on the stone plaza, we walked back up through the archway to our hotel, Hospederia San Martin Pinerio and checked in. Our room was small and somewhat sparse, but it was extremely clean and comfortable with a modernized bathroom. After an hour or so we cleaned up and set out for the Pilgrim’s office at Casa do Dean on Rua Vilar. The line was very long and hardly moving so we decided to come back in the morning when it might be easier to get through. As we were standing there, the Australian mother/daughter duo were coming out. They had just received their compostelas and were brimming with happiness. We also saw the nun that we had met earlier in the day near San Anton and she was trying to find some fellow nuns that were working at Casa do Dean.
Heather and I left the Pilgrim’s office and headed back up the stairs to Plaza Quintana and checked out a few souvenir shops before returning to the hotel. We stopped at the cafeteria/bar before going up to the room and picked up a snack and drink. Then, it was nap time until we went down for dinner about 8:00.