Santiago de Compostela to Southampton

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October 25th 2013
Published: October 28th 2013
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Hi everyone

Today is the last day of our cruise and it has been fantastic. I’ve had a nasty cold for several days which has curtailed activities somewhat. We managed to procure cold tablets, codeine and eucalyptus drops and they helped a lot. I have had a very husky “smokers” voice for the last couple of days and have been turned off coffee. The thought of it makes me feel sick. I hope that symptom doesn’t last too long.

Yesterday we went to Santiago de Compostela, one of the three ancient pilgrim destinations in the world. The others are Rome and Jerusalem. The Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James) is a large network of ancient pilgrim routes stretching across Europe and coming together at the tomb of St. James in Santiago de Compostela. The most popular route is the Camino Francés which stretches 780 km from Biarritz in France to Santiago. This is fed by three major French routes and the Camino Aragones in the Pyrenees.

Pilgrims walk along different paths of the Camino to get to the Cathedral where St James is buried. People have been doing this journey since the 12th century which is pretty amazing.

Most pilgrims do 100km and they attach scallop shells to their bags. The scallop shells are symbolic of a pilgrimage to the end of the earth where the land met the sea. Both young and old people make the journey and it’s pretty humbling to see them. The weather has been very wet so it would have been very unpleasant for the last few days of their journey.

We took an excursion from the ship to get to Santiago de Compostela because it was about a 3 hour round trip. Unfortunately we got separated from the rest of the tour group in the old city and became very concerned that we’d miss the ship sailing. As our bus was nowhere in sight (they had left without us we found out later), another bus line took pity on us and took us back. We made it back to the ship with minutes to spare. I don’t think we’ll be doing group tours again.

Today is our last day on the ship and we caught up with some of our friends: Roy and Gwyneth from Wales, the Sowersby family from Scotland and a lovely Elderly couple, Doris and Dennis. These people were delightful and we had a tremendous amount of fun with them. Our UK visiting list has expanded!!

So would we do another cruise…absolutely! If this cruise is anything to go by, the ones from the UK are much more full on and entertaining than the Australia/New Zealand one. I suspect the cruise lines have to work much harder to get customers over here so they really go out of their way to make the cruises memorable. Or maybe it was just the excitement of going to 9 European cities in 14 days. That was pretty special. So, it’s goodbye to being waited on, having the bed made, food being cooked and served. We’ll be back for sure!! Maybe Scandinavia next. Anyone keen?

Love pj and Sandy xxx

Additional photos below
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Really need the winter woollies in Santiago de Compostela
Extremely cool towel monkeyExtremely cool towel monkey
Extremely cool towel monkey

Not sure he gave the sunglasses back.

18th November 2013

The Way
cannot think of those destinations without thinking of the pilgramage, such a wonderful trek to do and would enjoy that time getting to know the local customs, food and hard floors I think. Sounds like a great trip, you've had a wonderful time with friends old and new, sadly said goodbye to another, and yet had much joy yourselves together and a very social time with culture, food, sights, music ... sounds like a great all round holiday ... now no more falling over - or down any stairs!

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