There is regional and national mourning after the train crash in Santiago and last night the town was quiet. A sigh whispered through the place, sadness in the air. Pilgrims arrived to vast emptiness of the square; old friends were easy to find. No masses were sung, no bands played.
But Santiago has been welcoming and accomodating pilgrims for thousands of years and there is the sense that however hard it is, life will go on.
Spain is a nation that lives in the streets, they would admit themselves.
Like migrating birds, families flock up to the old city for an evening paseo – walk, a chat, even a drink and a run round for the children. At ten pm or so, they will turn south again and head home for an evening meal. A ritual that happens all over Spain.
There is comfort in ritual.