Tuesday: 22. 04.2014
SANTIAGO! - 22Kms 251m
My apologies to one and all but that was as far as I got with the blog yesterday before I conked out, fingers unable to contact the correct keys, and thence fell into a comatosed sleep. (Me, not my fingers)
Not down and out for long though and before I begin on the end, I must mention Al’s meeting with a Franciscan monk. It was as we arrived at the San Martin Hotel and I was momentarily absent, locating our allocated room and Al had just commenced unpacking the trailers in the garage. When I returned, he said excitedly, “This must be a religious place. I have just had a conversation with an English Franciscan monk.” “Wow,” saith I, “That’s a first.” Later, at dinner we spotted said monk who was not a monk and not even a man, just a body dressed as she thought a true pilgrim should – no hair, long brown habit and sandals! In competition though, was a very tall, leggy, slim and attractive young lady with just a smidgeon of blond hair who looked not at all like a pilgrim more a front page Vogue model. Just a small example of the variety of folk who undertake the journey. We, on the other hand found ourselves sharing our meal with a delightful couple nearer to our age, who nonetheless had lived a complicated existence – maybe that is the prerequisite for this experience?
Anyway, we are here in Santiago after ascertaining on the way that our car is still in the car park and that we will be able to collect it tomorrow – at least I think that is what we have arranged. It was one of those arm waving and speaking slowly types of conversation. But guess what? We still had a further 10 kilometres of riding to reach Santiago and yes, we were still going up and down and the return tomorrow morning will be our final ‘push’ of this little expedition. We know it will be a push cos we rode down it this morning.
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Arriving in Santiago was a relief and somewhat underwhelming, as we mixed with the city traffic and rapidly made the decision to dismount and continue on foot with Herman and Sherman in hot pursuit. Cycle lanes, or even widish roads are not on the Santiago agenda. Studiously avoiding injuring the humourless populace, we did locate the cathedral, encased in plastic and scaffolding (not all of it). We joined the queue of pelicans at the official pilgrims’ office and humbly received our last stamp and a certificate! How’s that then! (Anybody out there read Latin, for such is the language of the certificate- it would be satisfying to know what it actually says particularly as my name is, apparently, something like Miriam!)
We are spending our final few hours, visiting the old part of the city, which has sadly succumbed to commercialism in the form of endless souvenir shops, hotels, bars and beggars. The old buildings, however, retain their charm and the cathedrals is, as one would expect, overpowering in its splendour. We shall partake of a slightly less splendid supper and resort to a well-earned early night.
I hope that you, dear reader, have enjoyed reading this blog as much as I have enjoyed writing it except on those occasions when I would rather have been kipping! No, seriously, it has been a pleasure and helps us oldies to remember the things we have done, places we have visited and the pain we have endured.
Until the next event!