This is what the Pilgrim’s Mass looked like on the day we walked in to Santiago.

I was unprepared for the rush of emotion I felt as I walked into city of Santiago after 20 days on the road and years of dreaming. You come up on the cathedral obliquely, from the back, so the two great towers surprised me and in that moment I felt connected to every other pilgrim who has looked up at the final few steps and seen that same sight. The bell towers seemed so alive, so old, and so present.

Walking with Yakle is never boring.

We passed the 100k mark—that’s about 5 days of walking for us. Along the way are crosses of Santiago and Galician corn storage structures.

Portomarin Iglesia—all put back together and looking very castle like.

Portomarin Iglesia—all put back together and looking very castle like.

These small Galician towns often have a small church—or even a cathedral—that is pure Romanesque, untouched by the ‘new’ Gothic style so popular in the big cities of the 12th c. I always find strange surprises in the capitals and tympanums: flesh eating monsters, pre-Christian/Celtic iconography, and lots of Green Man vegetation.

The cathedral in Portomarin had to be moved to higher ground when the valley was flooded for hydroelectric power in the 50’s. You can still see the numbers on the blocks that they moved one by one.

The Camino in Galicia.

Climbing to O’Ceibrero was brutal—both getting there and in the town: rain, fog, wind, and cold. We celebrated our arrival with an 11am brandy by the fire.

Since Astorga we have walked into the mountains. The towns are alpine with slate roofs and wooden balconies; their dogs are wooly and the soups are hearty. Everywhere we walk the hillsides are filled with spring flowers whose names I do not know. Unfortunately for us these mountain paths are rocky and steep in places. It also appears to be Templar castle territory—especially in Ponferrada and Villafranca, old guardians of the mountain passes to Santiago.

ASTORGA: This town has a rich history—And you can see it in her architecture. The cathedral is 16thc., replacing a Romanesque church, which replaced a Roman temple. Then right next door is a Gaudi church, commissioned at the turn of the last century.