This is the end of the road
Santiago de Compostela Travel Blog› entry 13 of 16 › view all entries
Today I sleep in, while it's raining outside. Then I leave to the cathedral for noon mass. The noon mass is called Pilgrim's mass, and it's for the pilgrims. Of course :) It's held in various languages and the pilgrims get a special blessing. If you like, you can sign on in the Pilgrim's office to be individually mentioned in the prayer. Another particularity is the so called botafumeiro, a 54 kg heavy thurible hanging on a 21 m long rope attached with a pulley mechanism (installed in 1604) to the top of the cathedral's dome. During Sunday pilgrim's mass, it is being swung across the whole transept, almost touching the roof. I was lucky to see that when I was in Santiago in 2006, because we happened to be there on a Sunday. This time I learned, that the botafumeiro can be ordered, that is, if you pay they'll swing it also at other masses.
The mass was okay, the church was full, and I was way in the back to hear anything. Afterwards I went to look for "my" angel. When I was here the first time, I noticed an angel statue with the angel wearing a smile from ear to ear. I find that strange, for sacral statues usually have serious and wise-looking face expressions. But this angel was laughing his head off :) . I also wanted to see St. Jacob's statue again, for I had missed it somehow the other day. They are located at the Portico de la Gloria, and to my sorrow, hidden behind scaffolding. I catched a guide explaining to a group, that St. Jacob and Mateo got so worn out from the touching feet and head, that they need restoration. Just my luck. But I'm actually luckier than most pilgrims, for I have seen these statues before, and shouldn't complaint.
The sun is up again, and I spend the afternoon strolling through the town - as if I hadn't walked enough already :) . As much as I have already seen of it, there always pop out some new streets and allies. I also went to the new town, doing some window shopping. Santiago has all the shops a shoppingholic might like. And they close at 2 p.m. sharp. Even if there are customers in it, the salesmen throw them out. Don't you mess with my siesta, eh!
Later I find an internet joint, and go online. One hour online costs here 2 €. My mailbox is full, and this brings me slowly back to reality. I also check Ryan Air's website, and find that my flight will go out as planned tomorrow. See, told ya! Back into town I find a street market where they sell beautiful leather bags, it really is worth checking out, ladies! A couple of blocks away I find .
It's time for dinner. The variety of restaurants in Santiago is big. They display their food in the windows, so you see big chunks of meat and fish. A delicacy is the pulpo, the octopus baked in the oven and spiced with paprika. Delicious! Santiago-specialities include the Santago cake, which seems to be displayed in every shop window, made of almonds, yummy, and the Santiago cheese shaped like a woman's boob.
As I cross Praza da Quintana I hear my name called out. It's Giovanni, and it's so nice to see a familiar face again. He just got back from Finisterre, telling me that it was raining, and that we were lucky to be there yesterday. I think of Jose and Javier and feel sorry for them.