Thursday, 6 August 2009

"Fireworks" on the Noche de Santiago...

Friday July 25th: I froze my butt off and it was worth the wait! This year there has been a needed change as previously the pyrotechnics have damaged the walls of the Cathedral so the firework display, as such, was rather more "muted" so I have been told. I thought it was spectacular in the truest sense of the word but it was accompanied by a Sound and Light presentation against the front of the Cathedral and a false front of a smaller "Gothic" facade, and also on the walls of the Palacio de Diego Gelmirez and the Cathedral Museum. I thought they might set this façade alight at the end but they didn’t and the environmentalist/recycler in me was pleased but the thrill-seeker was a bit disappointed.

I was an emotional wreck by the time they got to the theme from The Mission anyway, but the final part from the end of the Firebird left me with tears streaming down my face, laughing with joy just like Miranda in Pilgrimage to Heresy when she first sees the front of the Cathedral (and, as it turns out, Rebekah on the Forum).

The fireworks themselves brought the usual oohs and ahs. But I have to say that although I have not yet read the Galicia press (what of it I CAN read - my Galego work) I think that the overall impression of the hundreds of people gathered there may have been disappointed. Half way through “Spring” - all green and dreamy with Mike Oldfield – the whole sound and light thing broke down which necessitated a visible rewind. It immediately did this again and took three minutes to get it right, accompanied, unfortunately, to a good deal of whistling and cat calls.*

However, for me it was an amazing presentation, de verdad, even though the projector/laser/music thing broke down twice at the same place (I can imagine the President of the Xunta being a bit, shall we say distressed, especially as conservative estimates put the whole thing at 230,000 euros but don't quote me). But as the fireworks drifted into smoke and the last chords of Stravinsky floated into the cool night sky there was at first total silence...

I was directly under the balcony where all the "Functionarios" had gathered after their no doubt expensive dinner at the Hostal de Reyes Catolicicos in Praza Obradoiro. There were an awful lot of them and the security was Very Fierce. I heard a little muted, almost embarrassed, clapping from above but no more than a few people. Then it too stopped. Moments passed before a few more decided that it WAS the end after all as the "credits" rolled up the wall of the Palacio de Diego Gelmirez (all Italian names I noticed - but then we probably don't know much about such things in Spain ) A few joined from the crowd, and then a few more as we realised that "this was it". As people dispersed the atmosphere was remarkably subdued and not at all what you expect after such a - and it really was fantastic and I for one loved every minute if it - espectaculo.

I have never seen the celebrations before. Despite five or six times in Santiago and three plus one more pilgrimages this is the first time I've been here for the 25th. I have, however, seen last years' on YouTube and it really is amazing, even when on a monitor screen. Perhaps people expected more of the same. This was very "artistic": elegant, contemporary, perhaps even a little erotic (a couple kissing in very large scale projected onto the Cathedral front - hmmm...could lead to dancing...) It was less "fireworks" and more "exhibition".

Either way, this is one pilgrim who was very glad she was there and still wonders how "they" knew my favourite pieces of music.

Thanks, Consello de Santiago

*A little note: at the time of writing apparently the Xunta are asking for their money back!

And finally, I am writing this on the day that I leave Santiago, and so I enter and leave at the same time.

There will be more posts as I catch up, but they will be from a writer/researcher/tourist not from a pilgrim. There will be more people to talk to, more places to see, and perhaps more lessons to learn. I certainly will be using this time in this beautiful city to reflect on those I have learned already and will be thinking about how I can incorporate them into my return.

As I have always said, walking is easy…it is re-entry that is hard…

In the meantime, we are all Pilgrims on the Way in our own hearts and so, Ultreia: Buen Camino, todos y Suseya.

1 comment:

  1. Nice, Tracy, and congratulations; you did it again!