My flight to Madrid wasn’t until 5:40 p.m., so I had the day free. I am so lucky. I went to the noon pilgrim Mass, and for the third time in three visits, the botafumeiro was swung. The previous two times I’ve been here, I arrived into Santiago shortly before the Mass. I was tired, dirty and had to stand the entire time. This time I was rested, clean and had a seat. Plus, the cathedral itself wasn’t bursting at the seams. So when they swung the botafumeiro, it was very easy to see and take a nice film clip (normally my photos and videos have the backs of people’s heads in them).
Afterwards, I went to visit St. James. I’d promised to give him an extra hug from an abuela I’d met in Vilavella, who called me very strong for being a sola peregrina. I was able to fulfill my promise, I'm happy to say, plus give him a big abrazo from me.
There are several cathedral tours available, and pilgrims get a 2-euro discount at all of them. I tried the Cathedral Museum tour this time (4 euros). It was pretty impressive. You got to see all sorts of excavated pieces of the original cathedral, plus artwork over the years, including some glorious tapestries. At one point you can go into an inner courtyard with tombstones, among other things, plus go out on the balcony and take in gorgeous views of Obradoiro Square. Definitely worthwhile.
All too soon it was time to leave. On the way home I watched “The Way.” Even though I’ve seen it before, it was more moving to watch it with the Camino fresh on my mind.