Today is out last day in Santiago. We woke to eat our breakfast next door at Pico cafe and bring cafe con leche back to Di. I took photos of our server and the cafe as she is very inspiring to watch in her work. She explained that she did indeed work very long hours as we commented on but it would calm down in October when the peregrinos are less in number. It is a family run business. Her young daughter showed up yesterday on her way to school and had her breakfast and did her homework at a table needing help and prodding from her mom. We could not understand the language but I very much understood the exchange between mom and her fiery daughter leaving her
Math homework until morning and not knowing how to do it. It gave us a good chuckle. It is hard to explain how this young woman effected us but it is as with many of our service people. Of course it is not everyone but clearly a genuine kindness that radiates from the eyes, attentiveness to what they are doing, pride in their work, and a calm presence taking time to do the job well. It is worth remarking on as we speak of it daily. We
think they would tire of us and find us a nuisance but we hear “thank you for coming, keep it coming, we can’t make it here without you”. The peregrinos are
the economy but this server had the same presence for all the locals who came and teased her, laughed, ordered and ate. Every cup of beverage, every plate of food, every glass of Zumo that she brought to our table she placed with a slight bow as an offering saying in a gentle whisper, “Muchas Gracias.”
We expressed our gratitude and we said our goodbyes.
You can see the catholic shrines mixed in with the bottles.
I then went out alone on a morning stroll through the city streets. People just beginning to move about, the bread deliveries, children going to school and workers stopping for coffee and tostada. I love using my intuition when I walk to find my way and I could do that very well this morning.
Chris went to 10:00 Mass at the Cathedral as there was a priest visiting who spoke English. I sat down in the hotel cafe with tea and the workers were trying to ask about Di. We finally understood each other and I could explain she had a bad knee. We think the room cleaners were passing on the word that she was in the room all day every day. They wondered if she was mal (sick).
Here is Di’s daily view of Santiago.
Chris and I went to Malak, the exotic vegetarian/vegan restaurant. The owner told us today he is closing down in November. We wished him well as he is an artist with food and another person who talked about his pride in his work. He is hoping to move to the USA and said to follow him on Facebook for his next restaurant.
While at Malek, Mary and Jon and Marco arrived and we had fun chatting until we went on our way to the Peregrino museum and the history of the Camino and St James. It meant a lot to us to end our trip with the museum which brought a lot of the history together.
Tonight we found pasta, Di’s wish, and brought it back to the room. It has been fun to be here long enough to be recognized and remembered by wait staff who express delight in our return. Yesterday the woman server at Taberna do Bispo recognized me, reached for my two hands, practically hugged me and expressed so much warmth and care in her eye contact and smile. Tonight our gentleman at our Italian restaurant did the same in his greeting and goodbye.
We said our goodbyes at the main desk as we will be leaving early for the train. We have our packs ready to go.
We sat in our little circle after dinner expressing what this trip has meant to each of us, our favorite moments, people and places to stay. The pondering of such a journey as a pilgrimage will take some time but gratitude for this journey resides deeply in my heart.