It is impossible to explain this day in words. I found the whole day of our arrival completely overwhelming. We started walking at just before 05h00 to make sure we got to the 12 o’clock mass. It was pitch dark when we started. I was concentrating so hard on staying on my feet that it took me a while to look up and see the incredible stars. Of course. We were, after all, arriving at the field of stars! It couldn’t have been more perfect.
It turned into a lovely sunny day and being a Sunday the cathedral square was packed with people. It was all a blur. Arriving. Lots of hugs and congratulations. Many tears. People everywhere. We went and got our Compostela and found a place in the cathedral for mass. The priests swung the Botafumeiro. The nuns lead the singing. We spent the afternoon sitting on the square watching people arrive and the evening eating tappas with all the people I had walked with over the last 5 weeks. I don’t think I absorbed anything until the next morning. I woke up really early and walked down to the square again. It was empty and I sat quietly and wrote my journal and took some photos and let it all sink in. Dale came walking across the square on his way to Finisterre. It was so special to have a quiet chat and moment with him as he walked on. He was such an inspiration and mentor on my journey. By the time the sun came up I felt as if the journey was complete.
I think that at this stage, a message that I had seen written in the 13th Century St Stephen Church in Navarra, made sense to me:
Blessed are you pilgrim, if what concerns you most is not to arrive, as to arrive with others
Blessed are you pilgrim, if you discover that one step back to help another is more valuable that a hundred forward without seeing what is at your side.
Blessed are you, pilgrim if on the way you meet yourself and gift yourself with time, without rushing, so as not to disregard the image in your heart
Blessed are you pilgrim, because you have discovered that the authentic Camino begins when it is completed.
When I sat in the cathedral square that morning, I realised that the real challenge lay ahead - the challenge to live my life with “Camino Perspective”.
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I was privileged to spend a lot of time exploring wilderness areas in southern Africa from a very young age. I got my first camera when I was 6 years old and I have been passionate about wildlife and landscape photography ever since.