ENG: Day 9: Cruces - Santiago

Community Highlights Europe ENG: Day 9: Cruces - Santiago

Here is the translation of the provided Czech texts into English:


Our nighttime adventure made us feel weak as a Czech Karel, whom we met in O Poriño, in the morning—literally as weak as flies. 😜 The discussions over a simple breakfast—bitter tea and toasted dry toast—revolved mainly around how to get to Santiago. Eliška suggested a bus stop from where we were staying. I suggested taking the train from where we got infected. In the end, we decided to try walking at least a bit; we could always catch a bus along the way if there was one. According to Google, there was a bus every half hour, but after our experience with Spanish public transport, we didn't give it much credence.


We packed our things and set off at a brisk pace towards Santiago along with hordes of other pilgrims. At this stage of the pilgrimage, 15 km before the finish, no one was greeting each other, nobody was responding to greetings, and everyone was deep in their own thoughts. After five kilometers of a goose march, we concluded that the bus would be inevitable. We left the trail and headed to a stop that wasn't on the map. The stop that was on the map, on the other hand, wasn't there in reality—we knew this already and were not fooled! We asked a lady at a gas station, and she gestured for us to go behind the roundabout, where buses allegedly run and maybe even stop. Indeed, there was a stop there. And there were people at it. Hurrah! We asked if a bus passed there, and they looked at us somewhat oddly, perhaps because one was just arriving.


We took the bus to the outskirts of Santiago to at least walk the last 1.5 km of the trail ourselves. We saw the cathedral from a distance; it was majestic and enormous! When we arrived in front of it, the square was bustling with pilgrims and tourists. Pilgrims were lying and sitting all over the square, and despite the visible fatigue, they were smiling, chatting, and enjoying themselves. Somewhere from the corner of the square, we could hear the tunes of a song being played on bagpipes. The atmosphere was truly festive! We searched for a while to find where to get the final stamp and the Compostela—the certificate of completing the pilgrimage. It wasn't directly in the cathedral, where we tried to enter, but a mass was taking place. Finally, we were directed to a side street where the Oficina de Acollida ó Peregrino—Pilgrim Reception Office—was located.


Entering the office, we realized we were in the 21st century. The receptionist directed us to a row of computers where we registered—filling out who we were, where we came from, when we started our pilgrimage, and other details. After successfully registering, we received a paper with a QR code and a queue number, and we moved to a line that, surprisingly, wasn't very long. We figured it was probably because we had overtaken many pilgrims by bus and they would arrive later in the afternoon. Before we knew it, our numbers were called, and we moved to the counters (there were 12 in total), where the clerks briefly interviewed us, checked our credential to see if we had enough stamps and if the dates matched what we had entered in the registration. Then we finally received the last, concluding stamp and, along with it, a personal certificate accompanied by congratulations and a handshake for successfully completing the pilgrimage of Saint James. We made it, hurrah!!!


The afternoon and evening program was quite clear: we would move to the albergue, which was located in the historic and monumental Seminario Menor, a former seminary for young boys preparing for a clerical path, and we would rest, meditate, and sleep. ;-) We will thoroughly explore Santiago tomorrow when we are fully fit. We have all of Friday to do so; we return to Porto by bus in the evening.


The Way of Saint James or the Camino de Santiago is the name of the historical network of twelve pilgrimage routes that lead to the tomb of Saint James the Greater in the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. The routes are marked with modern tourist signage and mostly follow historical pilgrimage paths.

According to legendary and written traditions, the remains of Saint James, a disciple of Christ who is said to have preached in Hispania during his lifetime, are buried in the cathedral. After his martyr's death, probably in AD 44, he was buried in Jerusalem, but later, his remains were—according to various legends, at various times, and by various means—transferred to Spain and finally buried in what was then the desolate site of present-day Santiago. The site was then lost for several centuries until the tomb with the probable remains of Saint James was rediscovered on July 25, 813 (though sources differ on the date), supposedly pointed out by brightly shining stars (hence the name Santiago de Compostela, meaning "Saint James in the Field of Stars"). A simple single-nave church was first built at the site of James' tomb, which soon became a pilgrimage site (the Roman-era tomb covered with a marble slab and the structure above it are archaeologically documented), and a town grew up around it. As the site's importance grew, the church was rebuilt several times, was destroyed during a Moorish raid in 997, and the current three-nave basilica was constructed between 1075 and 1150.

The first documented pilgrimage to Compostela took place in 951 by a French bishop from Le Puy. Along the way, orientation stones, stone crosses, wayside shrines, and springs were gradually established. A radial network of 12 pilgrimage routes was created, leading from Italy, France, and Portugal. Along the route, chapels, churches, and monasteries were established to provide asylum for pilgrims.

The first manual for pilgrims dates back to the 12th century, likely written by Aymeric Picaud, a papal secretary, under the title Liber Sancti Jacobi. The manuscript includes sermons, miracle reports, and liturgical texts associated with Saint James. It also contains a description of the route, artworks that can be seen along the way, and the customs of the local inhabitants. The symbol of the long-lasting pilgrimage, already in the Middle Ages, became the scallop shell, whether real or depicted on the pilgrim badge, sometimes crossed by two pilgrim staffs, along with a gourd water container, a wide-brimmed hat for protection from the sun, a cloak with a broad collar, and a pilgrim staff with a carved ring and a ball at the end of the handle. Since 1987, the marking system using directional signs with the symbol of the scallop shell and yellow arrows has been valid. (Source: Wiki)

Here in Santiago, our pilgrimage ends after nine days, over 200 kilometers walked, 42 hours of walking, 2,877 meters climbed, countless coffees— we have reached our goal. Besides a beautiful tan and sculpted glutes and calves, we carry with us many beautiful and enriching experiences that we could share with you in this blog. We thank you all for the wonderful words of support throughout the pilgrimage, and we look forward to seeing you soon! ❤️


This featured blog entry was written by stabil from the blog Caminho Português de Santiago 2024.
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By stabil

Posted Sun, May 19, 2024 | Spain | Comments