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Published: June 21st 2014
Some people, quite a lot really and we've seen a few of them, walk the pilgrim’s route into Santiago de Compostela.
Bent over with the weight of the bags on their backs, leaning on their crooked sticks to take the pain off their blistered feet and gasping for water………and there, at last, in front, the beautiful spires of the Cathedral.
Oops no, the cloth and scaffolding covered spires ….ooh and.. the front door is firmly bolted.
Never mind use the side door to get inside and let’s light a candle to give thanks for safe arrival.
€1 in the slot and Bob’s your uncle, or in my case, husband. The candle lights as if by magic or actually by electricity. Hated that !
I’m not a Catholic but will always pay for a candle, when visiting a beautiful place of worship however big or small. How absolutely awful that all the votive candles were not wax candles at all but just an electronic light bulb. That is taking modernizing one step too far and if it’s health and safety (! ?), that cathedral was built in 1075 and it’s not likely to burn down now because
of a tiny votive flame.
I digress. We didn’t walk into the city, we went in on Kisbee so no sore feet for us. It was though a very sad disappointment to arrive in the beautiful Cathedral square to find the entire central, main entrance and spire covered in scaffolding, swathed in a fabric mockup of the left spire and even a lift to carry the building materials up. No quick repair here.
Took us a few minutes to find our way in, round the side as the front door, under the building work, was closed and there were no diversion notices, that we could read anyway.
Inside it is indeed beautiful though the occasional requests for silence from the security staff often went unheard because of the sounds of the building work outside.
There were little services going on in the smaller chapels round the edge, these in different languages and we were offered the chance to confess in English on Mondays but we decided against it, being CofE and not a Monday. We also decided against going behind the altar to ‘Embrace the Apostle” and instead just looked around and admired the
glorious decorations. We did visit the superb silver casket, in the crypt, which houses the remains of Saint James.
Back outside again we wandered the streets of this quite remarkable city. Such a large area of medieval buildings, little narrow streets and also impressive churches and museums.
We were very impressed when we were only charged €3 for coffee which came with biscuits as we had expected inflated prices in this very deservedly popular tourist city.
We were not impressed by the number of beggars pushing paper cups in our faces especially as they seemed able to travel the streets at the same pace as us. Remembering a visit to Seville where I gave money to a man who couldn’t walk and round the next corner he overtook us, running with his sticks under his arm !
We loved the market, a fantastic place with 6 separate halls under a common roof and lined either side with stalls. 50% fish most of which we couldn’t identify. We rarely cook fish when away in Tandy as it’s not the best food to cook in a confined space but the fish on display was very tempting.
the market there was a stall selling Octopus, boiled in a massive vat and then chopped up, tentacle by tentacle with a pair of scissors and piled high on a round wooden platter, suckers and all. Oh Yuk !
We decided to complete our wedding anniversary celebrations with lunch out and had a lovely meal of omelette and patatas fritas and langoustine.
Then we walked and admired a few more of the narrow streets and lovely buildings. Found Lynne’s latest little treasure (just checking to see if she’s reads this !) and back to the Cathedral square. Here the sun had moved round so managed better photos than before and then back to Kisbee as our poor non-pilgrim’s feet had had quite enough, and to the campsite for a very welcome swim in the pool.
PS. We didn’t collect our Santiago de Compostela passports as we felt we had cheated by not walking in !
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