Mass at the Cathedral!

We got our pilgrim passports first thing in the morning.

We heard from Justina last night that there is a pilgrim mass at 7:30 am so we woke up early again instead of sleeping in late. We got ready early, walked to the cathedral but there were no pilgrim mass early in the morning. The schedule on the door stated pilgrim mass is 12 noon.

We rested and mid day we went out to get our pilgrim certificate. We walked to the cathedral and asked for a certificate. Not here we were told. Next street turn right then first street turn left.

We followed the direction. If you have been inside a historic old town in Europe, you would understand. Next left and next right are usually not a block up or a block down. A street can go on for a long time then there’s a break randomly for a left or a right turn and there’s no way of making any sense for direction. We got royally lost.

We asked for direction again. This time we get: “building across the street, but behind”. So we had to somehow get behind that building. We managed that. And we walked a while more and get to the tourist office of Galicia. At least they speak good English in the tourist office. We get another direction. “To the left, same street, number 3, pilgrim office”.

We are no longer walking the camino but we have been walking around for many miles just to find the pilgrim office!!!!

We found the pilgrim office. The line is long! We got in line. At least it’s moving. Pilgrims young and old are in line waiting to get their certificate.

It was finally our turn. We got the final stamp on our passport from Santiago. We each got an official certificate that we had completed the Camino De Santiago pilgrimage. We also got together with both our names on one certificate of distance certifying that we had completed 775 km by foot from st jean pied de port to Santiago.

At 7 pm we headed out to the cathedral for the 7:30 pm mass. Apparently Justina was correct that every Friday there is a pilgrim mass at 7:30. But it’s 7:30 pm and not 7:30 am and they do operate the famous Botafumeiro on the pilgrims.The cathedral de Santiago is the only one in Spain that is still doing this today. Since the year 1200, the cathedral door has been opened all day and all night and in the old days, the cathedral grounds are where the pilgrims arrived and they stay inside the cathedral to sleep. During mass the Botafumeiro was used to disinfect and fumigate the pilgrims that arrived ridden with diseases and of course stinking of bad odor from the long journey. It is still used today on special pilgrim masses on certain days. We heard tonight it will be in operation so we made it a point to attend tonight’s mass.

The cathedral was full by the time we arrived. All 1000 seats were taken. Standing room only as we entered. By 7:30 pm when the mass started, all the standing room was full too. There must have been closed to at least 2000 people. I don’t know what the max capacity for the cathedral is but what ever it is, it’s full to over capacity. Every single air space is occupied by a standing person filling up the cathedral.

The singing was so beautiful.

The mass was in Spanish so we can’t really understand all that was said. Through out the day, the cathedral does offer masses in different language, French, English, German etc … But the main mass tonight is in Spanish.

At 8:15 pm, 8 men of the Cathedral dressed in crimson robes came up to start the Botafumeiro. They swing the 90 pounds silver Botafumeiro skillfully up and up and up I understand it would speed up to 90 km an hour way up really high almost touching the ceiling of the cathedral.

It was quite an awesome scene in the cathedral.

Crowd reaction to the giant botafumeiro!

We left the cathedral after mass and it was raining hard. We headed out to dinner and by now it’s almost 9 pm.

Yesterday night we headed out to dinner at 7 pm. We were very hungry at 7 pm and walked a long time and could not find one single restaurant in Santiago serving dinner at 7 pm! They all told us : a la ocho (8 pm), then a la nueve (9 pm)!!! There were no way we could wait till 8 or 9 pm we ended up getting a snack in a cafeteria and called it a night.

Tonight because of attending mass, we were on schedule to have dinner correctly at the right Spanish dinner time. By 9:30 pm, people were still slowly coming into the restaurant for dinner. Even at 9 pm, it feels like we are the early crowd as when we were done and finished eating, the restaurant is starting to get full!!! They eat very very late in the big cities in Europe!!!

We re watched the video of the flying Botafumeiro and still enjoyed the scene in the cathedral. It’s quite amazing!

Tomorrow we will go burn our boots!!!

A la mañana!