Amy B. Smoyer, PhD

Prison Food, Incarcerated Lives, Health & Social Work

Monte do Gozo

View of the city from Monte de Gozo.  See the 3 towers of the Cathedral in the distance?
For more than 1,000 years, pilgrims and other wanderers have walked the Camino de Santiago.  Beginning wherever they are, usually some place in Europe, and moving along the path until they make it to the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela (Spain), days, weeks, months or years later.

This is one of those journeys where the trip matters more than the destination, still I am told it is thrilling to finally see the Cathedral in the distance.  The point where most pilgrims see the towers of the Cathedral for the first time is called, "Monte do Gozo."  The translation from the Gallego to English offered on Wikipedia is "Hill of Joy" but I think this is quite a feeble translation that does a disservice to the glory of this place.  The Monte is a mountain top, not a hill, and gozo is closer to ecstasy, in the religious sense of the word, than joy.  If you ask me.  When you get there you are damn happy and relieved, but you aren't done yet.

I haven't walked the Camino de Santiago yet, this blog is chronicling a different kind of journey.  An exercise in ego, intellect, persistence and - for my friends and family - patience: the PhD dissertation.  Well, I haven't made it yet, but tonight is my Monte de Gozo moment.  The second draft is done (ish) and I am embarking on the final leg.  Oh, the ecstasy!  See you at the Cathedral.