Friday, September 30, 2011

Dream Walking (Part 5)

October 26, 2001
Arzua- Santiago de Compostela (sunny/cool)
24.0m/38.4km - 467.6m/748.2km

Santiago draws us like a magnet. We were going to walk as far as Arca today but when we get to where the Camino crosses the N547 near Santa Irene we see our first road directional sign that says Santiago. It is so intoxicating that we don't stop at Arca but keep going.

We are so giddy with the thought of being closer and closer to Santiago that we get a little goofy. J puts his right fist up as if he is holding a microphone and interviews me. I answer in a high pitched hesitant voice.

J: How do you feel, knowing the walk is almost over?
Me: Umm, OK.

J: Are you going to ask for absolution for your sins?
Me: Umm, yes.

J: Are you happy you will receive absolution for your sins?
Me: Umm, yes.

J: So, how many sins do you need absolution for?
Me: Umm, I don't know. I haven't gotten there yet.

We reach the airport and then the stone signpost that marks the outer edge of greater Santiago. We reach Monte de Goz, over looking the city. We can see the towers of the Cathedral. It is after 700P when we reach Santiago proper, to late to get our passports stamped but we head for the Cathedral anyway. We feel our walk is not over until we step into the church. We walk through the city and then pass through the Puerta del Camino into the old city. We walk through the maze of streets in the old city to the Cathedral.

When we reach the Plaza de Inmaculada outside the Cathedral, J give a big yell and rushes toward the side door into the church. B has been walking a little ahead and she yells after him that we should walk in through the main doors but by then J has gone through the side door. I tell B I will walk with her to the main doors but she says we should stick together and we walk to the door J disappeared through. When we get inside the church it is quiet, cool and dark. We drop our packs next to J's against a large pillar. I walk over to a pew, kneel down, and say a prayer. We have been in a lot of churches during our walk and this is the first one that has a spiritual feel to it. All the other churches were like being in an empty barn but this one is different. It is filled spiritual power.

After my prayer I get up and go look for the Tree of Jesse. When we find it there are two women standing at it. One is touching the marble column, while the other one waits to be next. We get in line behind her. When it is my turn I walk up and, when I am close enough, reach out my hand. At the same time I reach my hand out I see a spirit hand and forearm floating above my hand and forearm reaching out too. When my fingers are a hand's length away from column, the spirit arm moves forward and touches the column and it's fingers slide into the finger holes in the marble. When this happens I hesitate and stand with my hand in the air because I know that to touch the marble column I will have to put my hand through the spirit hand.

Then I am horrified by the realization that the spirit hand is not the only one. There are hundreds of hands and to touch the column I will have to put my hand through those hands too. I know I need to put my fingers in the finger marks. This is what I came here to do. I move my hand forward and it feels like I am putting my hand in a glove made of flesh. The instant my fingers touch the marble, the hands disappear. I stand there with my forehead against the marble, my hand resting on the column, my finger deep in the holes and wait for something miraculous to happen. You know, the sound of harp music, angels singing, a celestial beam of light illuminating me, but nothing happens. I stand there oblivious to the fact that what has just happened is miraculous. I am so naive.

After we leave the church we walk through the tunnel that leads to Plaza de Obradoiro and the front of the Cathedral. As we walk we look up at the Cathedral. It is so majestic. We need to find places to stay and none of us want to stay at the refugio. B has read about an inexpensive hostel off the Plaza on Rue Raxoi so we head over there to see if there is a room available. J and I sit and wait for her on the steps outside the hostel as she goes inside to check. While we are sitting there I pull my whistle out and start playing a song. It is Ode to Joy and when I finish J asks if I had planned all along to play that when I got to Santiago. I say no and start playing it again.

When B comes back out she hums along and then says she is all checked in. Now J and I have to find rooms. We make plans to come back and get B for dinner after we have all rested, showered, and changed clothes. J and I walk down another street that is just off the Plaza and look for hotel signs. We find one that looks good, is not too expensive, has rooms with their own baths, and check in. No more sharing for me. After we check in we walk up four flights of stairs to our rooms and the first thing I do after putting my pack down is fall face up on my bed. I have done it. I walked across Spain and lived to tell the tale.


Blue Witch said...

Too short!  I want more - I need to read about all the days in between!

Ally Bean said...

Just amazing, really.  I think that falling onto the bed in a single room at the end of your journey is a perfect ending.  

la peregrina said...

LOL! You need to go back in my archives and start at the begining.  It's all there. :)

la peregrina said...

Thank you, Ally.   It was more perfect than you can imagine.  I have always been a very private person, the kind of person who would pay extra for a single room if I ever went on a cruise by myself, so this whole staying in dormitory style Refugios was out of character for me.  This was the only time in my life where sharing accommodations with a great number of people did not bother me one bit. 

Blue Witch said...

Yeah, I know... but I wanted it all republished!

Hawk said...

So wonderful, La Peregrina. I have only been following your blog snce 2005. Now, I have gone back to your archives. What a great story! BTW, I found your blog, because at one time, my online profie was "Peregrination"

Hawk said...

Sorry, not been, meant to type "ben"

la pergrina said...

Well, it would make my live easier for at least a month if I did so. :)

la pergrina said...

"Peregrination"- good name. :)

And no apology needed "been" is correct.