This is the end of the road

Santiago de Compostela Travel Blog

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Santiago. Praza das Praterias

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.

St. Jacob behind scaffolding
A Japanese group did that while I was there. 

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.

Santiago street market
 

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 .

Heaven!!
... heaven! A little shop called "Chocolat Factory", and they have chocolate in all shapes and tastes and it's just .... heaven! The salesgirl tells me it's a Spanish franchise, and I politely ask if I could make some photos. I believe she thinks I'm nuts. The prices are pretty high, but I can't resist some dark chocolate with mint rolled into fancy sticks. I wonder if they ship abroad ;) . I walk back to the cathedral and sit on a wall to write my diary and enjoy the last sun rays. There are no more familiar faces, but, as I had mentioned before, we pilgrims recognize each other. I got stopped several times, exchanging comments about the Camino, where did you start from?, how long did you walk?, where are you from?. So I meet two men who happen to have the same flight out tomorrow, and they tell me that our flight was cancelled untill today noon.
Boxes of happiness!
And I tell them now it's going out as planned. See, told ya! We will meet tomorrow at the bus station, and we say goodbye. I just keep sitting there and enjoy the sun and the relaxed hustle and bustle (yes, these two things go well together in Santiago), listening to someone playing something. There's music all over the town, and I love it! In front of the Pilgrim's office two guys are actually singing opera, and it just sounds amazing in the narrow streets. 

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.

Santiago cake and boob cheese and other yummy stuff
Yeah, you read right, a boob. Story goes, that once a statue of a saint was made for the cathedral, and the woman shown was topless (!). The priest found that disrespectful, and just cut off the boobs. The townsfolks, though, found that disrespectful and shaped new boobs out of cheese. So the Santiago cheese was born, shaped like a boob. Love this! Snacks are also easy to find, there are numerous bakeries, the panaderias, that sell delicious pastry, and fruiteries selling all sorts of fruit. 

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.

Love Santiago de Compostela :)
Well, they have time, maybe tomorrow it'll be better. Giovanni and me say farewell, and I go to my pension. I'm tired and though it's still daylight, it's after 9:30 already. I have an early start tomorrow.


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Santiago. Praza das Praterias
Santiago. Praza das Praterias
St. Jacob behind scaffolding
St. Jacob behind scaffolding
Santiago street market
Santiago street market
Heaven!!
Heaven!!
Boxes of happiness!
Boxes of happiness!
Santiago cake and boob cheese and …
Santiago cake and boob cheese and…
Love Santiago de Compostela :)
Love Santiago de Compostela :)
Santiago, cathedral
Santiago, cathedral
Santiago cathedral
Santiago cathedral
Detail of the Santiago cathedral
Detail of the Santiago cathedral
Detail on Santiagos cathedral
Detail on Santiago's cathedral
Detail on Santiagos cathedral
Detail on Santiago's cathedral
Detail of Santiagos cathedral
Detail of Santiago's cathedral
Detail of Santiagos cathedral
Detail of Santiago's cathedral
Fountain in front of Santiagos ca…
Fountain in front of Santiago's c…
St. Jacob behind scaffolding
St. Jacob behind scaffolding
Maestro Mateo (no flash allowed)
Maestro Mateo (no flash allowed)
Santiago street
Santiago street
Santiago
Santiago
Pilgrims office
Pilgrim's office
Santiago street opera singers
Santiago street opera singers
Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela
Evening in Santiago
Evening in Santiago
Its already 21:17 oclock in Sant…
It's already 21:17 o'clock in San…
Santiago, Convento de San Paio
Santiago, Convento de San Paio
Santiago sunset
Santiago sunset
Bar sign
Bar sign
Bar sign
Bar sign
Santiago. The waiter sums up my bi…
Santiago. The waiter sums up my b…
Heaven!
Heaven!
Just heaven!
Just heaven!
Santiago boob cheese
Santiago boob cheese
Santiago restaurant window
Santiago restaurant window
Santiago restaurant window
Santiago restaurant window
Santiago restaurant window
Santiago restaurant window
Queimada!!!
Queimada!!!
Witches!!! Gotta hunt them down ;)
Witches!!! Gotta hunt them down ;)
As of today, I stop walking :)
As of today, I stop walking :)