Our last day of walking was a joy for all of us. The path was level. The air was cool. There was no humidity. The sun shone. Everything appeared crisp and clear. Our pilgrims walked in pairs or some alone to reflect on life. I met and spoke to pilgrims from France, Spain, Switzerland, and Italy. One Italian pilgrim who I spoke with had started in Basel and had been walking for 83 days. He is a Camino warrior. We spoke about the Via Francigena, which stretches from Canterbury to Rome. I hope to walk it one day. He has walked a major part of it. Pilgrims often exchange stories and information about walking different caminos with each other.

Our pilgrims were becoming more like pilgrims. They were starting to talk to other pilgrims on the way, asking questions and listening to their stories. We posed for a group photo on the Monte de Gozo – the Mount of Joy – where pilgrims get their first sight of the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, which is now just  two miles away. Together, we walked into Santiago and beheld the cathedral from the Praixa de Obrodoirio – the plaza mayor of the city. We had our first glimpse of the Parador de Santiago, where we would spend two nights. It’s Spain’s oldest hotel. It was created by the order of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, who visited the Santiago and were shocked to see pilgrims sleeping on the streets with no accommodation after crossing Europe on foot and learning that there was no suitable hospital for those suffering from infirmities. Our minds were cleared of worries and fears. We were present to this moment and this place and to the wonderful friends around us. Could we ask for more?