Santiago: Part II

 

I suppose I should tell you the epic saga of Santiago de Compestela. 

Katie, Claire and I arrived in the city on Saturday morning, after seven hours on the night train. We arrived early, before anything was really open, so we wandered around a little bit (somewhat groggy), looked at buildings, and interacted with the street art… you know, the usual.

We found the famous Cathedral of Santiago, which is enormous. (The green is because of the climate in Santiago… the buildings are mossy. The climate is very similar to Ireland, from what I hear. In fact, there are a lot of similarities between Galicia and Ireland.)

You can see how big the cathedral is in comparison to Claire and I…

The cathedral is beautiful inside. A lot of it is grey stone, but there’s what looks like an explosion of gold around the altar.

In a crypt beneath that main altar are the remains of St. James the Apostle, the patron of Santiago and the reason that thousands of people have been shlepping there from around the world.

(Since it was early, we were the only ones in the crypt when Claire’s alarm clock started going off in her backpack. We looked at eachother frantically, trying to figure out where the sound was coming from, and then even more frantically trying to turn it off. St. James has slept through much more than that, however… he didn’t wake up.)

The main entrance of the cathedral is the Portico del Gloria, where traditionally you’re supposed to hit your head three times to gain wisdom. So we did.

For breakfast we went to a little cafe which became our regular breakfast spot for the weekend, and ate some Tarta de Santiago:

(That’s us being jacked up on strong coffee, combined with exhaustion after the train. I’m holding a sugar packet and saying Lend me some sugar! I am your neighbor!!! …don’t judge me.)

We took a tour of the cathedral museum, and imitated any statues we could find. You can see a plethora of examples in my photos; it became a tradition. The museum has a lot of old statues from the cathedral, but also a display of all the various coins from around the world that have been found there, evidence of all the places where pilgrims have traveled from throughout the years.

Upstairs in the cathedral, there was a courtyard with some old bells, and a lot of church officials and personalities buried in the floor:

There is also a room that’s literally covered in relics of various saints. This might seem pretty bizarre to anyone without a Catholic background. Actually, it does get pretty bizarre regardless of your background. (St. Teresa’s finger is in Ávila, and her arm is somewhere else…) In the middle of the wall of relics you can see a bust of St. James with some body part in it; the next day on Pentecost that was shlepped around the cathedral during mass (on the platform that you can also see in this picture.)

…stay tuned for the next episode, for vinotecas, Galician dance, sketchy European ferris wheels, vagrancy, and more!

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3 Responses to Santiago: Part II

  1. Amy says:

    Definitely a good thing St. James didn’t wake up – the last thing you need are zombie saints! AAAHHH! Can you think of anything more frightening?

  2. Aunt Marie says:

    3 more days and still nothing more on Santiago! Enjoying the stories but need more details. And about this vagrancy thing, just remember, I’m not licensed to practice outside the State of Michigan!

  3. Wendy says:

    Curious mother also wondering…..

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