After breakfast we went to the Pilgrim Museum -- they had a really neat interactive pilgrim simulation where you pretended to be an "old time pilgrim" from the Middle Ages walking to Santiago with characters along the way that would explain different parts if the journey, the experience, and the cathedral. They also had an interesting section on musical instruments found in the artwork in the cathedral. After the museum we looked in a few shops and then went back to the Albergue to rest a bit -- I know we aren't doing a lot, but our brains and bodies are exhausted! (Plus my plague like cough has returned, so I only sleep about half the hours I am in bed at night.)
When we were sufficiently rested, we ventured out and went to the cathedral museum -- such beautiful sculptures and paintings!!! Unfortunately no cameras were allowed, so I cannot share my viewings, but take my word for it: it was worth seeing. I especially love the many depictions of Mary -- always so calm and loving and peaceful. After the museum we sat outside of the cathedral amongst many other pilgrims and soaked in the sun as we sat in awe of the towering cathedral before us. Can you imagine building something so immense and intricate hundreds of years ago? Crazy. It is also a fabulous place to so some people watching: pilgrims who have just arrived, exhausted and triumphant; tourists groups with guides taking photos and learning the history; children chasing pigeons and laughing as they fly away; Santiago residents hurrying through, avoiding eye contact so as not to be asked to take a picture; beggars missing limbs, walking with limps, dressed in rags seeking donations from anyone who will look their way -- such a busy place, yet peaceful; a place where thousands of pilgrims over hundreds of years have stood in awe and victory.
Tonight was special, because Vera's parents were flying into Santiago to meet her. They are both such lovely people; I am so glad I got to meet them!! We went for dinner (delicious tapas) and drinks (vino tinto, of course) and walked around Santiago a bit before heading back to the Albergue. And that's where I am now, all packed up and preparing myself for tomorrow: the start of the journey home.
Here are a few pictures from today:
Tonight was my last night in Santiago -- tomorrow morning I hop a train to Madrid and the following day a plane will bring me home. A piece of me is sad to be going home, to be leaving my exploring adventures behind and returning to the familiar; but a bigger piece of me is ready to return, to integrate my new self into my old life, to see my family and friends and coworkers, and to begin new adventures that have destinations much bigger than Santiago.