Today will be our last entry. As has been the case each day since we left St Jean Pied de Port on Monday 1 April, we were again reminded of the good fortune we have experienced all along The Way.
We three attended the pilgrims' mass at the Cathedral at 12 noon. Every seat was taken with others, like us, standing at vantage points or sitting on the floor. Though the mass was in Spanish, the priest's words seemed heartfelt and with constant references to peregrinos and Camino de Santiago. Just before the Mass ended, we had another wonderful treat to prove that our Camino angel was still around!
The Botafumeiro had been hovering high above the altar throughout the Mass, a sign that perhaps this would be a day for the 'swinging of the Botafumeiro'. The Botafumerio is a metal container, with a gold sheen and is said to weigh 80 kg, measure 1.6 metres and date back to 1604. If you have seen the movie, The Way, you may recall this. Seven or eight attendants dressed in maroon robes appeared, and began to lower The Botafumeiro which was then lit by one of the priests. With incense burning, The Botafumeiro is swung high, via a pulley system, from one side of the church to the other. Extraordinary.
The photos from inside the cathedral do not do justice to the hour or so we spent there in the company of many hundreds of locals, tourists and pilgrims who had walked their own Way along one of the 12 Caminos that lead to Santiago de Compostela. Martin took a video of the Botafumeiro which we tried to upload to YouTube but without success. Sorry!
Another treat came this afternoon - an email from Sheryl and Glen, our special friends from North Carolina whom we had not seen for some time, though we were pretty certain they were just a day behind. They arrived at 2 this afternoon, just 24 hours behind us. We've just had a wonderful dinner with them and with Berend from Germany and Gerry from Ireland. From what we've heard we are hopeful Jane and Evan and Rod and Kris will walk in tomorrow to complete our reunions.
So there are just a few words to add now. Thank you to everyone who has supported us before and during our Camino, who has followed our adventure, who has sent us emails of encouragement or commented on our stories and photos. We feel truly blessed to have walked more than 800 kms, carrying all we needed on our backs, in good health and high spirits, and without a blister between us. Most of all we are blessed to have had the opportunity to enjoy this wonderful experience together, and with all of you. And to have met so many great people along The Way.
Muchas gracias, mucha amor
Jenny xx and Jill xx
P.S. Jill here.
To our dear family and friends:
Firstly, a big thank you for all the messages of encouragement and love that have been so warmly given whilst we have been walking. Both Jenny and I have been overwhelmed each day by everyone's interest, support and prayers for our walk.
As most of you know, Jenny has been the blogger and photographer. I have been delighted to be her 2IC, to sometimes assist in adding up the day's figures (with the aid of a calculator), managing the high finances of the kitty, and then to bring her a glass of vino blanco or two as she whizzes through uploading the photos and then the blog. To say she has done an amazing job is an understatement. She has very much brought to life The Way. Jenny has a real gift in using her words to capture the true essence of the people and scenery. I know that her beautiful, kind and sensitive nature has been seen by those walking The Way and also those reading her description of it. She has been a shining light and this experience together has been so very special to me and one that will be forever locked away in my memory. Thank you dear friend.
P.P.S. from Jenny:
I walked the Camino once before in the Spanish autumn of 2011 arriving in the early afternoon of Day 29 exactly as Jill and I did yesterday. It was such a special experience that I hoped I would have the opportunity to do it all again, though I would never have imagined I would be back here within 18 months walking The Way with my gorgeous friend, Jill.
The Camino is a path filled with moments of serendipity. Yesterday on the final day of our Camino, Jill noticed a message written on the side of an old stone building. She joked that it was so thoughtful of me to run ahead and write those lovely words to her! As we examined the message more closely, we wondered whether it was a message to a Jill or a Jim. But I am pretty sure it's Jill. Either way, had I run ahead along the The Way to write a message for my dear friend and favourite peregrino, I could not have found more perfect words. Thank you, Jill. J x