11 October, 2017Wishing for A Botafumerio

SONG: Alléluia – Any version will do but I love kd Lang’s best

BOOK: Finishing Stay With Me and it is a very well written and powerful story

THOUGHT: Whodathotit!

I got up, knowing I was heading into Santiago and would be there early enough in the day that I could find my Albergue and still get to the office to get my papers. Of course it was more convuluted than that…I was in Santiago long before I figured it out, and then of course my albergue was all the way across town and up a whole lot of stairs. It was one of those days for meeting a lot of people who did or did not know what I was saying, but did try to help keep me going towards my destination.

The hospitalière who welcomed me and signed me in when I finally arrived just put a huge dollop of love on top of everything with his really sweet welcome! I put my things in the lockers provided in the basement of the Monasterio Menor (which I think is still partially an operating monastery.) 

My digs for 2 nights in Santiago – Monasterio Menor

Everything’s in the locker. On to the Pilgrim’s office!

With many more directs and redirects, I got to the Pilgrim’s Office which is poorly marked and off the beaten path. I was not the only one to have the bad time…and sharing bad times is such a special thing!
It was 2 hours standing in line (much more painful than walking) before I arrived in front of the guy from Oregon who was volunteering for the week and making us, one by one, true and verified pilgrims.

He let me sneak this photo – normally not allowed

 I got two certifications and will be able to give one to Kim Nees and one to Mary Pieszko who now have more than a million steps banked for them to use whenever they need them! Lucy will get my Passport which will hopefully served as inspiration for her own adventures, however they take form. This will remind her that there always is A WAY!!!!!!

I ate fried calamari and had a most delicious glass of white wine to celebrate, and then made my way back to the albergue. I got completely lost, not once, but twice…so I circled Santiago almost 3 times in the same day…sad face emoji…

The next morning I headed back to the Cathedral center and the hope that there would be the giant incensing event with the Botifumiero that is so incredible. It is chance-y as it is only a guaranteed occurence on the high holy days and after that it is dependent on sponsorship by some group who is willing to pay for it…to the tune of $400 per event. There are groups that do sponsor it and my hope was for one to have done so for this very day…

Verifying my good seat

I got there early just to see the interior of the cathedral and got a nice seat in the general seating area. I was next to a Polish woman with a wheeled walker and she spoke a little English. We both agreed that we were truly excited.  

Well our hopes were met and tripled…someone pretty important was in town, as we got a High Mass, concellebrated by 24 priests and led by a Bishop/Cardinal…he actually had 2 hats and I was not sure which on was the higher ranking one. The little red silk cap I think trumped the bishops miter…so I am going for Cardinal. And very happily, the sponsoring important group had a full-on Bota…

Setting the incensor in motion

It takes seven guys to get this thing going

There’s a red silk beanie under that white hat…Cardinal? Bishop? Hmmmm??

I will try to attach the video but am not sure if that will work for the blog. Suffice it to say that I was a pretty happy pup and the Polish lady believed she was in fact in heaven. Since she had to go for her communion with her walker, the important folks let her sit in the front row for the Bota… Afterward, we had a heck of a hug…even if I had to go back to my regular seat for it. I had Grandma’s rosary out, sang in my best ever full alto voice and remembered the Latin (effectively mumbled what I was not sure of in a proper rhythm and tone).

All part of your everyday 500 mile walk!


20 thoughts on “SANTIAGO

  1. Kim says:

    I’m thrilled you got to see the swinging. That was such a moving part of the film and can only imagine how thrilling it was in person.

    ❤️ Kim

  2. What a convoluted but perfect finish to a monumental journey. Proud to know you!

  3. Ro Brady Hardiman says:

    The VIP in town was YOU! What joy! Amazing! So proud of you!! ❤️and hugs, Ro

  4. Sis says:

    Congratulations, you amazing Lady! So Proud Sis. Had a celebratory glass of Pinot for you, but can’t wait to do it with you in person! Thank you again, and safe travels home! Love ❤️ you

  5. Gretchen Federici says:

    How wonderful! I know you were so looking forward to this ritual. Must have been so moving. Loved hearing about your exchange with the Polish woman. And while I’m sorry about all the wrong turns and circling in Santiago, you must be quite buff at this point.

    Your plan to give your passport to Lucy moves me ao much. I’ll make sure it’s safe but available to her so she can dream about her own adventures.

    Congratulations, Grandma Kim. We are all so happy for you!



  6. Tony says:

    Your boots look well worn! Will you put them in the yard back home with some flowers in them as a tribute? The mass sounds like the fireworks you deserve that includes a soulful thankful and humble tribute to your journey! Hurray and Salud!!!!!!

  7. Anne Gilhool says:

    Hi, So happy you got your papers after walking around and around! and that you got to attend that special High Mass for a special person, you. I did see your video and it is crazy funny so much excitement, I hope you enjoyed it all. Take Care and again Carry On.

  8. Wayne says:


  9. Laurie Skillman says:

    (Those Oregonians…they’re everywhere..)
    Grandma Matilde was smiling down at you from heaven and I’m CERTAIN that she was in that hug from the Polish woman. Well done mighty pilgrimer!

  10. Julie Wechsler says:

    Wow! you must be on top of the world at this point. Lovely way to cap an extraordinary experience. So happy to think of Lucy having your passport to inspire future explorations and to remind her of what she can accomplish if she sets her mind to it!

  11. Sarah Kelzenberg says:

    You ARE an amazingly persistent woman, my friend. Now enjoy that last delicious trek to the ocean!!! Yum!

  12. Jesse says:

    congrats Kim, you made it! Enjoy the way to Finisterra!

  13. Beth says:

    Kim, please post how you’re doing! The fires in Galicia sound very serious.

    • kimfederici says:

      Hi Beth. I have not heard of any fires in Galicia and have not run into any smoke or other fire reports. I am in Fisterre and walked from Lires thru the woods and forest yesterday. It was cool and cloudy and quite serene

      • kimfederici says:

        I just checked the newspaper with my morning coffee con lèche and the fires are pretty well south of Fisterre. They are apparently the result of violence. They are around Vigo and Pontevedra. The have rain projected for today so that might help

      • Beth says:

        kim, has the coverage (and it’s being covered all over the world now). It’s bad. Be careful.

  14. Beth says:

    They’re all over Galicia. Samos is evidently “burned out”. Vigo is being evacuated. Redondela is on fire. Triacastela is on fire across the river. Thousands of firefighters and military are out. Yes, the ones in Spain are being attributed mostly to “terrorisme incendiare”. No arrests yet for the ones in Galicia. The Renfe train between Vigo and Barcelona is canceled today. 9 dead so far between Galicia and northern Portugal. The main road between Lisbon and Oporto is closed.

  15. Jack Smith says:

    Proud of you, Kim. Great adventure!

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