What took us four days to walk was accomplished by the slow bus in two hours. I think I'd rather walk as it was at 6:45a.m., cold, and headache provoking due to perfumed riders. The sun rose as we re-entered Santiago. It was a glorious day to do the post Camino drill, starting with a chocolate con churro at a peaceful jazz bar. If you want to get out of the fray of tourists make a stop Cafe Bar Recantos, located near the church of San Martin Pinario, a quick walk from the cathedral.
We checked into the Hospederia San Martin Pinario, the renovated monestary where we stayed last year.
After a short nap we left the hotel in time for noon pilgrim's mass. We noticed many police officers in full dress uniform so knew it would be a special one, increasing the chances of seeing the botafumiero (giant incense burner) swing. It was once done to fumigate stinky pilgrims, now it's a celebration that only happens sporadically.
This mass played double duty, to honour pilgrims as well as the national police force. Works for me, especially since they opened up previously reserved seats at the last minute and we were able to sit with a fine view of the bishop and the botafumiero in action.
Lunch was at one of our favourite Santiago restaurants, Casa Manolo, three blocks from the cathedral.
Last year we missed the cathedral's rooftop tour, but this time we lucked into tickets with an English speaking guide. What an experience walking high up on a concrete roof, 60% from the 12th century, learning about Saint James, the cathedral, the Camino, and Spanish history and architecture.
Finally, after three attempts at the pilgrim's office, we found a short wait of about an hour to receive our compostelas and distance certificates.