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Day 6: Thursday 6/6/02
Santiago

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The day included three visits to the Iberian Airways office, with Hannah. I’d decided that I wanted to get home as soon as possible, and it seemed that as my return flight booked for Sunday couldn’t be altered, my best bet was a flight to London on Friday, 7.30 am, at the cheap pilgrim rate (208 Euros), changing planes in Barcelona, as there were no direct flights. (Cheap flights for pilgrims returning home from Santiago are a benefit of having a Compostela). We also visited a cycle shop which wraps and transports bikes and riders to the airport. (Chris reports the wrapping is too minimalist for anyone actually wanting to protect their cycle from bumps and scratches.) We made sure we went to the pilgrim Mass, (held every day at 12 noon.) This was a more prayerful occasion than the previous evening’s, and the singing was led by a nun with a wonderful voice. Pilgrims gave the readings, and it was an uplifting affair. During the offertory, I was remembering friends and well wishers in my prayers. Chris was being more thorough – lots of people, some in England, some along the way, had asked him to pray for them, so he was going through a list – a long list!
Once the flight had been arranged, I packed up the bike, without the bubble wrap and cardboard box this time, just the bike bag. We had an excellent meal at one of Santiago’s fish restaurants (well I’m not always a very strict veggie). When we left, I walked to where I’d to get the taxi for the airport in the morning, and checked that there would be some taxis there at 5.30 am – I had consulted my Spanish phrase book especially. On my way back, I passed a bar where Hannah and Paul were having a beer, so I joined them, then got back to my room just before midnight. I finished packing, then went through the essentials – tickets, money, passport…. A little problem – no passport! I knew I’d had it in the restaurant, so I hurried back there. I hadn’t looked up the relevant Spanish phrase, but when I said passport, the barman got it down from a shelf – I could have hugged him! (But being English, of course I didn’t….) Somehow, the streets looked so much more jolly than on the way to the restaurant!
I slept soundly until 5 am.

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