Mount Joy…

… so appropriate!!  The last hill and the last stop before arrival in Santiago, about an hour away. Monte de Gozo, or Mount Joy, was once the first place that pilgrims could get a glimpse of the 3 spires of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (unfortunately, it’s blocked by a grove of trees now).  Built in 1993, today it’s a large gathering for pilgrims who flock to the oversized monument commemorating the pilgrimage that Pope John Paul II made there in 1989.

All sorts of relics lie at the base of the monument: the typical stones that left from home were finally dropped off, or others left stones to leave behind mistakes or pains, or tributes to loved ones. Also left behind were photos, busted sun hats, and yes, plenty of hiking shoes were gladly discarded!  

West side: The Pope embracing Santiago statue inside the cathedral’s main altar, from behind.

South side: “San Francisco Peregrino en Santiago” picturing St. Francis of Assissi as a pilgrim with cane and basket in hand, beside a river flowing to/from Santiago. (Pilgrims have added decorations on the wall.)

East side: A hand with a scallop shell on the thumb (denoting Santiago) and ridges from fingers indicating where pilgrims can start and the routes they take.

There are many Camino trails besides El Camino de Santiago (aka St. James Way, aka Camino Frances, wks the French way).

North side: “Juan Pablo II Peregrino en Santiago de Compostela” picturing pope in front of West main façade of cathedral.

Closeup of the people listening to the Pope.

Things left behind.

Get these shoes off my feet now!!


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