Another sunny, beautiful day to stroll a short 12 miles and arrive at our first destination, the Santiago Catedral. Here is where being a pilgrim came in super handy. I have been reading about the Santiago Catedral for quite awhile. I have been re-reading Michener’s take on the sculpture in the Catedral, the Portico de Gloria. (It is in Iberia and well worth the read). I read it aloud to Laurie last night so that we could identify each figure and fully take in the joy of the whole piece. So as we enter the square, instead of being blown over by the beauty, we arrive and face this
OK, so the whole, and I mean the whole, facade is being renovated. But at least we can still go in, experience the Portico de Gloria and head butt the sculptor (this is a regular tradition where one hopes that some of his artistic prowess would rub off on our heads)- right? Not so fast…as we enter the church we find out that the Portico and the statue are also under renovation. Had we been tourists, if the 2 things that we came to see where not viewable, I think we would have been pretty bummed. In fact, it might have marred our trip. However as pilgrims, we are here to receive what God has for us. Today that is not the Catedral facade or the Portico de Gloria.
So what did God have for us? A stunning day. We came upon the monument to commemorate the visit that Pope John Paul II made and it had a side all about Saint Francis, whom we love. Laurie’s cafe con leche came with a mouse face. We were blessed with the chance to see and hug our friend Maximiliano from Italy. We walked past our South Korean friend Agatha who has a smile that is beauty to the core. We had a chance to see the youth group that we worried might not make it here, they did. We experienced the other 2 things in the Catedral, hug Saint James and see his remains (still skeptical about those). We are able to stay at the hotel that Saint Francis stayed in when he did the Camino- What?. When we check in, we are placed in the little Penthouse up on the top floor. It is huge, with skylights… double what?! The glory today was not where we expected it to be, in the facade or the portico. Today the glory and grace were in the joyful surprises that have delighted us throughout the whole day. We are here and it is good.