I had no desire to return to Santiago. My earlier plan had been to travel by bus to A Coruna and from there take a train to Paris. But I’d lost the earrings that Iris had given me before I came to Spain and I thought they might still be at the hotel I’d stayed in. I desperately wanted them back. No such luck though. I still miss those earrings.
I got the sense that Chris wasn’t too keen on spending more time in Santiago either, but he wanted to meet some Camino friends there. So he and I headed back to the big city in a hired van, along with a few other people including Matteo, who was catching a flight home to Italy that afternoon. He had to return to work at 8 a.m. the following morning. I felt bad for him that he would have absolutely no time to decompress.
Back in Santiago, Chris and I went our separate ways for a few hours; he checked into the albergue where he thought his friends might be (it turns out they hadn’t arrived yet), while I found a little hotel just behind the cathedral. We arranged to meet later in the main square. I grabbed a quick shower, did some laundry, and walked to the train station where I purchased my ticket to Paris for the next day.
Just like last time, I found Santiago an assault on my senses. Today was another holiday; it seemed there was some kind of special celebration just about every week in Spain! This time Galicia was paying tribute to its poets. I was impressed that people here thought enough of their writers to set aside a special day for them.
Many people had time off work, which meant crowded streets and closed shops. And, just like last time, there was a big demonstration. The issue at hand was that people wanted the Spanish government to recognize their regional language, Galician (sometimes called Galego). These folks were certainly proud of their heritage and culture. They packed into the narrow streets to sing their traditional songs, accompanied by bagpipes, tin whistles, accordians and hand percussion instruments. There was no denying that Celtic roots ran deep in this corner of Spain.
Chris and I spent the late afternoon and evening wandering through the old part of town, feeling a tad at loose ends. Every once in a while we’d run into people who we’d walked with at some point on the Camino. We’d catch up on their news, exchange email addresses, and move on, only to meet up with someone else we knew a few minutes later. I was very happy to come across David and Zeta, the Canadians from Kamloops.
As pleased as I was to see familiar faces, I was feeling exhausted. I said my good-byes to Chris and headed off to bed. What I don’t believe I said to Chris was how much I enjoyed spending my last few days in Spain with him. So Chris, if you’re reading this, THANK YOU! Thanks as well to Matteo and Jo Anne and Moya and Stefan and Elizabeth and Father Martin and John and Tom and Emily and Candice and David and Zeta and Erma and Edda and Dennie and Meme and Meme’s sister and the man from France who would whistle the theme from ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’ every time we met and the man who shared his peanuts with me and Min and Hye and Zeno and Ralph and Joseph and Marie and Senor Ortega and Neil and Carmel and the Irish lads and the two English gals and Vicki and Clara…and to everyone else who made my Camino the amazing journey that it was.