On Saturday August 13, 2011 at 8:45am, under cloudy skies, we entered the Praza do Obradoiro, the Golden Square of Santiago. Our gaze turned left and skyward and there before us in all its majesty and glory was the Cathedral of Santiago. Wide eyed, we laughed, we giggled, we hugged, we through our arms up in celebration and completion and then the photos. The square was quiet with a few small groups of pilgrims and a bike group of 4. It would change during the day with a continuation of pilgrims entering until the square was a giant celebration of music, dance, photos and pilgrims reconnecting.

It was only a 5km walk to Santiago Compostella from Monte Do Gozo and we ate only a couple of dried apricots and biscuit cookies. We began the celebration with the most decadant chocolate covered pastry and sat in the square opposite the Cathedral and watched elated pilgrims enter.

We were overwhelmed, scattered brains with what to do next. We found ourselves in the Cathedral but unsure to stay today or attend the pilgrim´s mass on Sunday. We got a tip from Brother Gabriel that possibly today they would do the Butofumeiro. (click the link) From the video, Our seats were nearly under the butofumeiro on the left of the screen. Can you imagine!!!

History (our guide book) tells us that the swinging of the giant incense burner Butofumeiro was originally used to fumigate the sweaty (and possibly disease ridden) pilgrims. The ritual requires half a dozen attendants (tiraboleiros) to perform it.

After mass we found our way to the pilgrim´s office where our compostelas are issued. Every pilgrim carries a pilgrim´s credential that every albergue, church and some bars mark their own individual pilgrim´s stamp and date it. It is your documentation that you walked the Camino, having a daily stamp. We eagerly waited our turn. They checked your credential for authenticity, where you began and how,  what country from, date began and then looked up your Latin name and wrote it on your certificate of completion, COMPOSTELA.  For Emily – AMELIUM  MARIUM  MIRZA. Just beautiful!!!! Donna is Italian and quite simply, my certificate is Donna M. Mirza.

So…. we´ve completed the Camino De Santiago. We were pilgrims for 31 days. We walked, 800km, westward across northern Spain. We are still pilgrims today and forever. We completed the Camino on a physical level, but is there still something unfinished or this the beginning of something. It is so difficult for me to articulate. I think, I hope that I will be able to find the words at some time.

Words – Emily and I reflected more on Audrey´s question of defining the Camino expereince in one word. We felt there were different words for the 3 different stages. Emily´s 3rd stage word is CONTENTMENT. The third stage, for me , was acceptance. And now with the Camino complete, ACCEPTANCE is the word I will say to describe the Camino de Santiago. Acceptance on all levels; mind, body and spirit. Accept what comes my. Accept that there is a reason and a lesson to learn. Accept that I may grow.

A hope for me with acceptance, will be to accept what comes my way with GRACE.

There are so many people and pilgrims yet to thank. After blogging on Friday I joined Emily at a cafe with pilgrims. We had seen Allister from Scotland that morning at a bar at 7am after walking for 2 1/2 hours. We laughed and rejoiced at finding a bar in the middle of no where open at 7am. Over a drink that afternoon, hearing about  the pygmies, I had 20 euros in my pocket. Thank you Allister. Many more pilgrims have asked and I feel confident that they will do what they can to help.

Our celebratory dinner included; Jean Jacque  and Etienne from France, Joke (Belgium), Emanuela (Canada) Franca (Germany) and Ricarda (Austria) Jean Jacque (68 y/o)deserves the courageous pilgrim award. He had a brain tumor that left his balance compromised. He has walked a number of pilgrimages. Emily and I always enjoyed his company despite our language barrier. Etienne, another wonderful and compassionate pilgrim was our faithful translator. Thank you guys for being apart of our pilgrimage.

JIm keeps us updated from home with checks arriving in the mail. Thank you Beth and Andy and David. Thank you Cathy for donating a yoga/meditation class. The pygmies will be setting strong roots!!!

Love from the Camino and your pilgrims,

Donna and Emily xoxox



Posted August 14, 2011 by Pygmy Pilgrimage in Uncategorized

8 responses to “SUNDAY AUGUST 14, 2011 AUTHENTIC PILGRIMS!!!

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  1. Dear Donna and Emily – ‘THANK YOU” from all my heart for making this physical, emotional, mental and spiritual journey….AND allowing us to come along on your path thru your thousands of words.. and universal energy. What an amazing ending, thank you for sharing the “Butofumeiro” video’ – the music brought me right into the cathedral! I doubt that either of you is the same person as when you began this pilgrimage – but ‘contentment’ and ‘acceptance’ (which go hand-in-hand) will surely guide and serve you when the “what now?” phase appears! and you’ve had plenty of practice and positive reinforcement from “one-foot-in-front-of-the-other” approach to life! The Pygmy people are smiling – we will ask Dominque to tell the story of your pilgrimage to them the next time he visits the village. Remind me to tell you about my “grace” story the next time I see you – which will be soon!! When I used to go off into the wilderness for weeks, “re-entry” usually took a while. Be gentle with yourselves and bask in the delight of such a great accomplishment -for yourselves AND for the benefit of an entire village of people struggling to survive – that’s AMAZING GRACE!
    Mucho, mucho gracias, xo, Margaret

  2. The Camino is just the beginning. Congratulations to you and Emily! Have a safe trip home and see you at the beach minus the hiking gear!

  3. I can just hear your voice as you write, Donna, and am so proud of what you have accomplished in making such a journey, on so many levels. I will be hand delivering a check to you when we can finally reconnect. Loving you always, Amalia

    Amalia Pretel-Gray
  4. Donna and Emily- We just came home to this wonderful news of yours. You DID it! What a truly indescribable accomplishment this is for you to share. Congratulations and blessings on you and all that you have shared this with. We’re so amazed by you and your energy and inspiration. Hasta pronto! Lisa, Scott, and Max

    • Dear Lisa, Scott and Max, Knowing that you have been reading our posts gave so much affirmation to ourpilgrimage for the pygmies. Thank you for being there in the States for us. xo Donna and Emily

  5. Donna and Emily Congratulations!!
    What an amazing trip you’ve had and I think we’ve all benefited from
    your wonderful descriptions and accounts.
    So thanks for sharing.

    Can’t wait to see pics! Libby

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