Last night was the most noisy night we've had in Spain. Our room in the Hostal Girasol was on the street side and there were a lot of people partying (pilgrims) until the wee hours. I thought I was done with earplugs but I had to dig them out of my backpack at 2 am. When we got up around 8 we packed up and headed over to the Hotel Windsor where they told us we could store our bags until check-in. We headed back to the cathedral area and had coffee then entered the cathedral to look around before the noon pilgrim' mass, but by this time it was nearly 1000 so we decided to stay for the 10 am mass with the intention of staying for the 1200 pilgrims' mass as well. There were a lot of people at the mass who were obviously with tour groups. Many of them were quite noisy. So much so that the priest had to ask for "silencio" several times. We enjoyed the mass and when they started to swing the Botafumeiro,the the giant incense burner, it was very thrilling for us.
Knowing this tradition has been carrying on since medieval times is very moving. We thought we'd stay through at least the beginning of the next mass just so we could hear "two pilgrims from the United States walked from Saint Jean Pied de Port", but it was only 1100 so we headed outside thinking we would just head back in at 1145. When we stepped out there were so many people waiting to get in, we knew there was no way for us to get back in for the 1200 pilgrim mass. We saw many of our fellow pilgrims (Kaija, Tomas, Enrique, Luis) who were also frustrated at not being able to attend due to the number of tourists. It is really sad that the cathedral folks do not make some kind of provisions for those pilgrims that have walked long distances. Missing the pilgrsass just seemed to take away from the Camino experience.
Afterwards we did some shopping and stopped for a coffee with Patricia and her husband who joined her in Santiago from France. We returned to the cathedral square we met Duke and while we were talking, Rebecca and Ants arrived in Santiago. We were so glad to see them! We walked a bit and found the Three Amigos sitting outside enjoying a drink of herbal orujo, so we joined them. Afterwards we bought them a sol y sombra. A religious procession comprising of a band of drummers passed by. It was quite dramatic. There were a couple of dozen players of different ages, men and women, dressed in white robes. It was very exciting. We made plans to visit Tomas and Enrique as we travel through Spain the next 5 weeks.
Next stop is to the end of the earth - Finisterre, but this time we are going by bus!