Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Pilgrimage to Santiago Has Begun

It is late in night in Madrid, and I´ve had a wonderful first day in this busy city. I left North Carolina yesterday afternoon at 1:30 P.M., reaching Philadelphia, where I caught the next flight to Madrid. Ms. Patricia Cooper and I were ¨seat mates¨in our two seats on the side of the plane. Her reaction to my doing the pilgrimage to Santiago was ¨precious¨: ¨You´re going to do WHAT¨? I repeated that I was walking 120 miles across the northern part of Spain. She was in Spain, in her mid-70s, taking a tour of the cities of Spain! ¨Better late than never...and better do it while I can walk.¨ I agreed, and we both laughed heartily.

After a quick 6 (plus) hours across the Atlantic, the excitement for Santiago hit when the pilot said, ¨We´re flying over Santiago...40 minutes to Madrid.¨ And in no time we were here.

After landing, customs, and getting money from the bank, purchasing the train ticket to Ponferrada, my beginning point for the pilgrimage (leaving Madrid at 8 in the evening and getting in at 4 in the morning), and after arriving at the hotel via the Metro, I arrived to the hotel, napped, washed up, ate some breakfast, slept some more, ate lunch, it was on to the Prado!

The Prado was impressive! Largest museum of its kind in the world in terms of all the Goyas, Vazquez, with a smattering of Durer, Rembrandt, and other wonderful artists! I spent a good five hours in the museum, with stops in the cafeteria to keep going. There was a great deal of religious art from generations of artists, all inspiring, and giving me a taste of what is to come.

Dinner was with a new friend, Sinjin (St. John), a young man in his 40s from Seattle. Growing up Catholic, he knows enough about pilgrimage to be praying for me, and me for him, on this most excellent journey .

Pilgrim peace, Brett