Hooray for Spanish Tina Fey!!!

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Europe » Spain » Galicia » Santiago de Compostela
January 5th 2010
Published: September 21st 2017
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Cafe Jacobs offers a massive selection of coffees and teas, packing at least five pages of their menu, in addition to the rest of their ice cream and food offerings. Perhaps the complete lack of sleep on board the bus could have altered my perception of it, but it was one of the best cafes I have ever had in Spain, and definitely the best of this trip. Too bad the accompanying Napolitana wasn't so great, with an overly dense texture. The chocolate coating was quite sweet, though the Nutella filling was decent - it brought back memories of a conversation I once had with Emilie in Croatia, with her commenting how pains au chocolat are best early in the morning, fresh from the oven and still warm. I remember commenting that Nutella would be great inside, but she thought that the texture of the Nutella would be compromised after baking in the oven - and though the Nutella flavour remained, she was right about the texture, as its consistency was a bit like what happens when a bit of water gets into melted chocolate, and it seizes.
Geo: 42.8804, -8.5463

Though our bus departed Salamanca nearly 30 minutes late, we still arrived in Santiago de Compostela a few minutes ahead of schedule, surprisingly. Also a surprise was how cold and dark it was - it looked like the middle of the night, and the sun didn't start to brighten the sky until well after 9 AM. We made our way down to the Hostal Pazo de Agra - though we had asked for an early check-in, we figured the room wouldn't be ready so early, and decided to first have breakfast at nearby Cafe Jacobs.

We checked into our hostal shortly after, and I dropped off some laundry - incredibly expensive, at 18 Euros! Even though I only had one large load they charged for two, because of mixed colours. I explained that I didn't care if the colours and whites were mixed up, but I guess that's not how they did it there.

Off to sightsee - first was the Museum of the Galician People, describing the way of life of the people of the region. Everything was in Galician, but that didn't matter as a lot of things were somewhat self-explanatory. The museum is located inside of

I found this sign amusing - it's called "The Killer Restaurant".
a convent, with very peaceful cloisters.

Next door is the Galician Contemporary Art Museum and as is typical of contemporary art for me, I couldn't make much sense of any of it. One interesting item was entitled "Instant Narrative", and was unique because as you entered the main gallery, there was a woman typing away on a laptop, and whatever she was typing was projected on a screen on the far end of the gallery. She was describing what she was seeing, which meant writing about the people walking through the gallery. We thought it was pretty entertaining, especially when we were described as "The guy and girl with the oriental features." It's a good thing the museum wasn't very busy today, otherwise her commentary would have read "The guy with the oriental features checks out a beautiful Spanish girl. He wipes the drool off his chin. He quickly snaps his head around to check out another one. Seemingly in pain, he rubs his neck after the whiplash."

The auditorium was exhibiting a number of stop-motion short movies, one reminiscent of "The Nightmare Before Christmas". It was actually very dark, and I suspect that most of the kids in attendance would

Mary thought the dark chunks were cake, and I thought they were actually rocks - we were both wrong, as they turned out to be some kind of sugar rock candy.
be having nightmares about it that night. The movie we watched was actually rather engrossing, despite its strange themes.

It's been almost five years since I was first in Santiago and honestly, I don't remember a whole lot about it other than its famous cathedral. But as we walked around town, much of it started coming back to me, and I recognized many buildings and streets. We wandered through the central market before stopping for lunch at Cre-Cotte. A recent trend continued, where workers at restaurants and hotels end up looking like famous people - one of the waiters had a shaved head and looked like somebody, though we couldn't quite put our fingers on who. Overall, it was a decent meal which was nice, as there have been a few good ones in a row, something I'm unaccustomed to while traveling through Spain.

Back to the hostal for a short siesta (the lack of sleep last night was really hitting us both), before heading over to the Museum of Pilgrimages, which described not only Santiago's famous pilgrimage, but also some in other countries. There was a particularly interesting section on some of the more notable pilgrims over the years, and the story of a guy named Guillaume Manier struck a chord withe me - after completing his camino, his writings about the journey included comments on the beauty of women! So even several hundred years ago, male travelers knew that Spain had a lot to offer, in that regard!

There was a very interesting photo exhibit by Sabine Weiss, entitled "Man and His Beliefs", spanning several years of her work, showing people in settings that reflect their beliefs, generally in a religious context. The museum was good, but there was a bit too much information to digest in one session.

After picking up our very expensive laundry the streets were filled with people, for a parade celebrating the Day of the Kings. I would have enjoyed it more, had I not been bogged down with two big bags of laundry we just picked up, but it was still neat to see.

Unfortunately for us, the cathedral was closed tonight but no matter, since we planned on being there in the morning for mass. There was some special exhibit at city hall as part of today's celebrations, but the lineup for entry was far too long, and we didn't feel much like

The Museum of the Galician People.
waiting outside in the cold for it.

After much deliberation, we ended up at Restaurant San Jaime for dinner, where the meal was good, but the service was even better - the waitress looked like a Spanish Tina Fey. I must admit that I have a thing for Tina Fey, and the Spanish version took that to a whole new level, especially since the Spanish version was wearing some pretty funky glasses.

She gave us a bit of info on the Day of Kings, which I believe celebrates the journey of the Three Kings to Bethlehem, and is like a second Christmas Day for Spaniards and South Americans. Gifts are also exchanged on this day, and people gather with their families for big meals. Spanish Tina Fey did seem put off by me, perhaps thinking Mary and I were together and thinking "What an ass! This guy keeps hitting on me even though his girlfriend is right next to him!ยท

There was a nice view from the second floor of the restaurant - straight into a restaurant across the street, to a table of lovely senoritas! After a bit more of drooling over them and Spanish Tina Fey, it was time

Special hooks for catching octopus, a local delicacy.
for a walk around town before we got too cold, and headed back to the hostal. A bit of TV time, watching some Spanish reality show about dancing, and it was off to bed, with visions of Spanish Tina Feys dancing through my head!

Additional photos below
Photos: 30, Displayed: 26



Tres cool staircase.

A saddle with stirrups - definitely would have been nice to have this during the camel ride!

A GIGANTIC bag of wine!!!

Believe it or not, bagpipes are a traditional Galician instrument.

Cool use of seashells as roof tiles.

The famous local cheese - tetillas (breasts). Supposedly, artists once sculpted a very curvy female statue for the cathedral, and were forced to make it less sexy, so locals got revenge by making their cheese look like boobs.

For some strange reason, these posing chickens made me laugh at the market.

Is this a butcher's or taxidermist's shop???

A good sign - a gastronomic convention in Santiago. Slowly but surely, Spanish cuisine is improving.

Saint Martin's monastery.

Pilgrims commemorating the end of their journey.

The most magical cathedral I've ever had the pleasure of visiting - transcending all religion and perceived boundaries between people, the journey here is something that all can appreciate, regardless of beliefs. It exudes a palpable energy, seemingly enabling you to feel both the sorrow and joy of those that have once visited the cathedral. That probably makes little sense, but putting into words what you feel standing before the cathedral is nearly impossible; it's something you must experience in person.

Lunch at Cre-Cotte - the white wine didn't compare with that served at El Reloj in Salamanca, but was still decent. I started with a Japanese salad - lettuce, tomato, hard-boiled eggs, ham, rice, and crushed almonds, served with a dressing that was like a lighter version of Thousand Island. It was a decent salad and was quite filling, not leaving much room for the main course and dessert. The other option I considered for the first course was seafood cannelloni, but I opted for the salad as I've been vegetable deprived recently, since that's quite normal in Spain. One of the buns we were given was quite nice - crisp and chewy, but it was dusted with too much flour, which made you choke and gag a little bit when you ate it and accidentally inhaled some of the flour. For Mary - Lentil soup, with smoky ham and chorizo. Though it was good, the lentil dish we had at Thami's in Fez was better!

Chicharro - roasted fish with bits of red pepper, potatoes, a few slices of tomato, and topped with light a vinaigrette. The fish was nicely done, sweet and juicy - simply prepared, it was nicely executed. Chicken with peaches, served atop some very rich mashed potatoes. It was an odd dish in a way, because it wasn't that good, but it wasn't that bad either. The chicken was a bit tough and stringy.

Flan - too dense and a bit rubbery, but otherwise the flavour was good. Chocolate custard - very rich and a bit sweet, but thankfully not as bad as last night's diabetes-inducing dessert at Cafe Novelty.

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