Day 9 Another special day in Santiago Friday 10th 2013
View of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela from the Park de Almeda
Friday was a fantastic day. It was the first day in eight we had not begun by packing our gear. We had a ‘lie in’ and arrived down to the hotel restaurant for a lazy breakfast at 8.30. I renamed the excellent hotel receptionist Marta, calling her –‘Santa Marta, de siempre aqui’ – ‘Saint Martha, always here’ - in acknowledgement of her being present in the hotel day and night, or so it seemed. She gave us the name and addresses of better, less expensive restaurants away from the tourist trap trail of yesterday.
Mel from Manchester
I could not attend the annual Frontline Defenders awards ceremony which coincided with the Camino so I decided instead to wear their tee shirt. A number of pilgrims decided to look up the cause on the web on their return. Mel from Manchester took a more direct approach and produced a generous donation of sterling which is somewhere in the bottom of my rucksack. As soon as I unpack, I will send it into Charlie Lansom in Frontline in Blackrock. He will get bigger donations this year, I hope, but few more travelled.
Botafumeiro – the giant incense burner in the Cathedral of Santiago – at the Mass for Priests
Phil and I were greeted by Brian and Barry as they emerged from the 12.00 noon Pilgrims Mass. They had witnessed the star event in Santiago, the lighting of the giant thurible which we had expected yesterday at our own Pilgrims Mass. Being Ascension Thursday we expected fireworks, literally, but got none.
But we were in for a surprise. Today was the feast of St. John of Avila, better known to us as St. John of the Cross who is the patron saint of priests, in Spain at least. We decided to attend the 1.00pm Mass and were treated to two bishops and somewhere between one and two hundred priests, and wonderful singing. Happy memories of my days in the Monastery flooded back to the echoes of Gregorian chant. As the Botafumeiro flew over our heads we just hoped the lad on the rope wasn’t having a bad day.