A quick correction on the Albergue ( compound) it is actually much bigger than I thought. 22 buildings each housing at least 150 pilgrims. It isn´t anywhere near full,I think only two building are full of pilgrims right now.
I´m happy to be packing my sleeping bag for the last time this morning.. a hotel for the last few days is on the horizon for me!
Everyone in my room is up very early today, so I am too. I leave much earlier than expected (7:30) and stop at a cafe for breakfast.
It isn´t long before I am walking over a bridge with speeding highway traffic below. I think this is a subtle reminder for me to not get caught up in the craziness of life when I return home, but to live in the moment of each day, every day.
The approach to Santiago is a little disappointing, so many buildings that you really can´t get a panoramic view of the cathedral. I´m here, at the end, but not quite sure if I´m really in the right place. I walk around a little, trying to figure out where to go to get my offical certificate ( written in Latin). I find two pilgrims who speak English and they point me in the right direction.
Two women begin following me, I sense they are not pilgrims, yet they also want to go to the credentialing office. As we climb the steps they tell me they are journalists, doing a story on the Camino. Now, I must backtrack a little to last night when I checked into the Albergue... Manuel checks me in and sees I am from the United States, and tells me that some Journalists, from Chicago just interviewed him for a story and went on to Santiago. They are looking for more Americans to interview ( there are very few on the Camino) He gives me the woman´s name and tells me where she is staying. I laugh to myself, even if I wanted to find them in Santiago, there is no way that I ever would.
So, as serendipity would have it, the two women who follow me into the office are part of the same group who interviewed Manuel. When they find out that I am American, AND from Champaign, they are thrilled. They follow me in to get my papers, take my picture, get my email and will be in touch. One of the women used to work for the Chicago tribune. She said she isn´t sure yet where the story will end up. I still can´t believe our paths crossed!
The pilgrim´s mass was packed, I´m guessing 1000 people, maybe. It was nice to see so many people I had met along the way, and disappointing to not see others ( I haven´t seen Sally or Katie yet). I think I´ll go each day (at noon) to see if any of the people I have met, come in the next few days while I am here.
This is getting long today, and so much more to say. I think I´ll save some posting for tomorrow.
Until next time...