A pilgrim on the Camino Francés arrives with great excitement to the lookout point called the Monte del Gozo, from Monte Joie in French, a summit of joy, of arrival, of being nearly there. This lookout offers the first view of the distant towers of the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
For a medieval pilgrim, who may have been on the road for months, with no letters or emails from home to comfort him, it had to have been a delirious moment. For many pilgrims today, though no longer as wild and beautiful as it might have been in the past, this is a place where a jolt of elation, a knowing that you too are almost there.
From here, the spires grow larger, the city disappears and appears, and soon, you are walking into the outer neighborhoods and sloping up and then down into the Praza de Obradoiro, Santiago de Compostela’s cathedral square.