Santiago Day Three

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October 11th 2016
Published: October 22nd 2017
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Geo: 40.6355, -73.7807

This is the day we had planned to get to Santiago which would have given us a couple of rest days. This is why we had a reservation at Hospederia San Martin Pinario, the huge monastery next to the Cathedral. It is now a very nice hotel. So, we checked out of Hotel Horreo and headed to our new hotel. We had not had our heavy packs on since Sunday and now they seemed almost impossibly heavy! Both of us wondered how we ever carried them 775 kms!

We were trying to stall in order to ensure our new room would be ready so we walked around, window shopped and had a cup of coffee near the University. Since we couldn't go in any small shops with our packs on, we decided to check out our new room. We were in luck, however, the pilgrim room for 40 euros was a huge disappointment. All of the pilgrim rooms were on the 4th floor down a dismal hallway and may have been the worst accommodations throughout the Camino! We called our room a monk's cell. It was a tiny room with two single beds and a very smelly, small, not-very-clean bathroom. The hotel itself was very impressive and quite pricey but the pilgrim rooms were not half as nice as our 2-star hotel. We had told all of our fellow pilgrims about this place and they all stayed there, but we could not recommend it now.

After settling in, we shopped in just about every souvenir store we could find. Knowing we did not have to carry our packs any longer, we bought tee shirts, sweatshirts, pins, towels, a coffee cup, chocolate, patches, etc. The Camino is our hardest accomplishment yet and we wanted to make sure we had all the trinkets we wanted!

We had leftover ham, chorizo and cheese so we bought some bread and made a "Camino" lunch and stopped in a cozy bar where we bought a couple beers and ate our lunch. Even in a large city like Santiago, they were happy to have us only drinking and they even brought us a bowl of olives.

The forecast was proving to be true. A light rain had begun, so we bought some throw-away umbrellas for 3.60 euro. They ended up being worth their weight in gold.

On our list of rainy day things to do, was to go to the Cathedral museum. Our guide book had said that pilgrims got in at a discounted price that included being able to touch the statue of St. James and visit the crypt that held his relics.

At the museum, we were told that the museum signs were only in Spanish but that we could visit the St. James statue and crypt free. The line in the morning to touch the statue and visit the crypt were huge, but we walked right in. The tradition is to put your arms around the statue (the main statue on the altar in the Cathedral) and then to descend to the crypt and say a prayer to St. James. Visiting these places are all part of the pilgrimage.

We had sent Amparo a note to meet her for dinner at 8pm so we had some time to kill. We went back to our hotel and sat in the lounge area. Dave had decided to run to a market to buy some things for tomorrow's train to Madrid when we saw Annette and Herwig. They had planned to go with a group of Germans to visit a museum, but decided they would have a drink with us. They are very interesting and we found out that Annette had done the Camino four years earlier. This time, they started in the middle of France and were also going all the way to the Coast. We shared Camino stories, but one thing that bothered everyone on the Camino was that so many of the beautiful Camino signs were defaced with graffiti or broken. Herwig says " Nur Narrenhände beschmieren Tisch und Wändee" (only fools write on every wall)! We told them we were meeting Amparo for dinner and invited them along.

We told Amparo we did not want a pilgrim meal, tapas, or pizza but would like to eat true local food. She asked the Front Desk for a suggestion and the five of us searched for the recommended restaurant in the rain. We had to wait a little when we arrived since restaurants in Spain do not generally open until 9pm. The restaurant was great with only locals. We shared some wonderful salads and each of us ordered an entree. Sue had a tenderloin in wine sauce and Dave ordered a Galician steak which was huge. Everything was great, but Dave could not finish the steak.

We walked back to the hotel in the rain and said our sad goodbyes. We were in bed around 11:00, which is very un-pilgrim like!

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