We are done. The only outstanding, final act on our journey is to attend the pilgrim’s mass in the cathedral of St James.
The mass was in Spanish. The church was packed. We saw a number of familiar faces, the beads of the Camino.
The priest listed the countries that we are all from. A nun led the liturgy and the responses. She sang most of it. A crisp, clear, resonant voice of glorification. Wow. We didn’t need Spanish to get the sense of it.
It seemed like the sermon asked us to reflect on what we were like at the start of our journey and how our experience has changed us. Fitting.
The service is mostly renowned for the swinging of the botafumeiro – the giant incense burner which was used historically to fumigate the pilgrims, or more likely to mask their body odour.
These days it only swings on special occasions. I didn’t expect our Wed service would be one of those times…. but if you are a cashed-up pilgrim, you can pay for your very own swing! And for us, it was a group of cashed-up Japanese pilgrims. Go the Japanese. 600euros a swing! We got to see the botafumeiro fly. Wow. We were standing right beside its swinging line above us, going higher, longer, flaming with incense… higher and higher, until, like a swing, it reached its highest and longest swing and then lost tension and started to buckle…. and just then the swingers pull it back into line. It was impressive. A very lucky opportunity. And a fitting conclusion to the whole adventure.