Madrid Camino Day 32 – Rest day in Santiago

Jun 6, 2017

After 12 hours of hard earned sleep, I ventured forth the Pilgrims office to line up for my certificate – or Compostela – which acknowledges my having completed the Camino from Madrid to Santiago.  After an hour and a half in line, I arrived at one of 8 desks where a non-English speaking volunteer asked me questions about my walk – including why I did it, and how far I’d walked. When I told him I had started in Madrid, he was utterly baffled. I expected those behind the computers to have all of that kind of information at their fingertips, so I hadn’t bothered making the actual distance calculations myself. It took three people 15 minutes to figure out what to write on my certificate. Only later did I learn they’d underestimated my distance by 100 kms!

Anyhow, we were holding up the growing line and I was pressured to leave, frustrated, my Compostela clutched in my hand. I was a little angry and disappointed, but when I considered going back later, the wait was over 2 hours. I let it go, figuring if nothing else, it would make for a good story.

My buddy Jean – who walked the same Madrid Camino – messaged. They had overestimated his mileage by 100 kms. 

Oh well.

The crush before the mass

I bumped into my walking chum Kathleen from Boston and we attended the Pilgrim mass together at noon. Hundreds of bus tourists were talking loudly and flashing their cameras and swarming inside the cathedral – it was bizarre. The loud announcements to get them to leave so that mass could begin were a bit shocking in their abruptness. But, I was there, and witnessed a tradition that has taken place for so long and has had deep meaning for so many.

Typical Santiago – and this is off season.

I spent a peaceful afternoon strolling on my own and having a refreshing nap. I found the route out of town so I’ll be able to set off confidently in the morning. 

There are peaceful spots to be found in Santiago’s parks

Feeling rested and content and looking forward to reaching my ultimate destination – the sea – by week’s end.