The focus of the morning is to follow the ritual in which pilgrims can dispel their inner burdens before their souls get purified in Santiago. In this simple rite pilgrims place a rock that they’ve carried from their home at the foot of a cross on a mount between two valleys. The stone symbolizes the weight that will favourably balance the scales with which your soul will be judged at Last Judgment.
We walk for four kilometres in a valley filled with heather, broom, lavender and wild pink roses enjoying the views of the pine tree forest. We walk by half ruined villages with houses made of local slate and then continue on to Galicia to feast on seafood at Restaurante Mesón de Alberto in the city of Lugo, where Pope John Paul II dined before us (in 1989).
Lunch includes local delicacies of lacon boiled ham filled with truffles, scallop pie, octopus with paprika, small sweet and salty nécora, a small crab, and perhaps the best Hake that I’ve ever tasted – all washed down the best of chilled Galician white wine.
We are not in the best shape after the extended lunch and great conversation. But, we emerge into the sunlight and meet Manuel, our local guide for the next three days in Galicia, and fall into line easily for a tour the cathedral, and up onto the Roman Walls of Lugo – World Heritage protected and regarded as the best preserved in the world.
It’s dusk as we drive into the main square of Santiago de Compostela and alight in front of our Parador, right across from the Cathedral. Tomorrow, we visit and attend the Pilgrim’s Mass.
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