You can't see Santiago's cathedral, the tangible goal of my 1000 mile journey, until you're almost upon it. I walked downhill from the modern statue on the Monte del Gozo, over motorway and railway, and through the suburb of San Lázaro, where there used to be a leprosy hospital in the 12th century. I scurried over the ring road and into the Rúa dos Concheiros - this name being a reference to pilgrims wearing the concha, the scallop shell symbol of Saint James. It was late in the afternoon and getting dark quickly. Minimal, tasteful Christmas decorations swung over the path. People thronged the streets. It was a Saturday. The shops and bars would be open till very late. I hurried across the tiny Praza San Pedro, Saint Peter's Square, and through the famous Porta do Camino into the old medieval city. And finally into the Praza Obradoiro, the Golden Square, which lies at the foot of Santiago Cathedral's glorious western façade. I climbed the steps up to the west door. I had arrived. I was exhausted but elated. I made some phone calls. I sent some texts. But mostly I just looked and wondered. And almost cried at the beauty of it all.
As I've written before, this final stage of the Camino, the stage between Leon and Santiago, is traditionally and mystically known as The Way Of Glory. And everything really did seem like glory to me that evening.