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 asked how far I had 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. They were not equipped and I have since learned they underestimated my distance by 100 kms!

Anyhow, the time they took held up the growing line and I was pressured to leave, frustrated, my Compostela clutched in my hand. I was 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’ll make a good story.

My buddy Jean – who walked the same Camino as me – then messaged me to tell me they had overestimated his mileage by almost 100 kms. 

Oh well. I know what I have done and that’s the main thing.

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 stop and leave so 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 lovely nap. I wandered along 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 true destination – the sea – by week’s end.