Santiago: Part III

I’m sorry for leaving you in such suspense, and neglecting my blogging duties. I’ve been busy. Well… not really. I didn’t travel at all this weekend, so all my adventures were fairly local and low-key. But my free time was spent on shlepping around…. sleeping…. eating…. sleeping some more…. shlepping more…. more sleeping and eating… you get the picture. I definitely eat, sleep. and walk around here more than I ever do at home. Healthy living… who knew?! My clothes are too big on me because I’m losing weight, which is crazy considering how much food the señora makes for us (and the fact that it usually is doused in fifty million gallons of oil.)

Anyway. Santiago.

One of the best parts of the weekend was Saturday afternoon, after touring the cathedral and catching the end of the pilgrim’s mass, which takes place every day at noon. (We never did discover exactly what the translated sign meant when it pointed out the “groin vaults with gracious vegetable carnations and human figures, that orininate with large corbels.”Anyway, in the afternoon we went to the mercado, which is way better than any supermarket you’ll ever go to. In Santiago the market takes place in el Mercado de Abastos, which is a plaza with a series of long narrow stone buildings. There’s a separate building for carne (meat), for fruta, and so on and so forth. Vendors set up stalls inside and around the buildings and sell all kinds of fresh fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and meat.

The meat building was a little scary, with bloody hunks of meat everywhere, and entire pigs’ heads sitting on counters grinning at us. The fish building was also very… fishy. But the fruits and vegetables were beautiful. For just a few euros, we bought cherries, strawberries, oranges, and some Galician cheese. Wandering back through the town, we decided that all we were lacking was some bread and wine… and out of nowhere, we stumbled upon a panaderia and a vinoteca, just like that. Pretty much a perfect town. 😉

By the time we had all our food, we realized how exhausted we were after a few hours of sporadic slumber on a train and an entire morning of wandering around. With the last of our energy we walked to el Parque da Alameda, a big park full of trees, for a picnic on the grass. The food was amazing… even the strawberries, which were in somewhat a sad state after I put them in the same bag as the oranges. Or, as they call them here, las naranjas… I’ve never eaten so many oranges in my life as I have here. They’re big and full of zumo (juice) and I’m always a happy mess after eating them. 🙂

Our feast:

And me being superclassy, and Katie demonstrating the fun you can have with a cheese rind (after very little sleep, a lot of walking, and some wine… when everything is funnier.)

After eating, we checked into our hostel: a somewhat funky-smelling but sufficiently cheap room with three beds and a shared bathroom, just a few blocks from the cathedral and the main plaza. The little old lady who rented us the room was very friendly, even though we had almost no idea what she was saying. (It was either gallego or castellano in a very heavy accent…)

In our room there were closets (also somewhat funky-smelling) with old-timey keys, which was novel and interesting, as demonstrated by Clare:

  

We crashed for a much needed nap, and got up in time to go watch a presentation of gallegan dance. That was a lot of fun. The celtic influence was very evident in the footwork, but the motions of the arms, hips, and shoulders reminded me more of latin dance. The music also sounds very celtic… bagpipes and all. I don’t have any pictures of the dance (that’s rude), and this is all I could find on the web:

We didn’t have energy to go out for anything other than some tortilla española and cañas at a bar where patrons and waitstaff alike were fairly distracted by the fútbol game on tv. I’ve watched a lot of fútbol here in Spain, and I like it just for the fact that everyone is so excited about it, but I still am at a loss as to what is actually going on.

On the way back to the hostel after dinner, our exhaustion was momentarily forgotten when we saw the ferris wheel in the park.

There were the remains of some kind of festival in the park, but all the rides and booths were closed… with the exception of the very tall, very fast ferris wheel: way faster than any ferris wheel I’ve ever seen in the U.S. Pretty sketchy all around. I love heights, but I’m scared of them. This is me freaking out (and feeling green… ja ja) as we wait for the ride to start. After eating that fish, getting on that ferris wheel was the 2nd bravest thing I’ve done in Spain. (¡Con dos huevos!)

Once I got over my terror (after a fair amount of screaming) the view was beautiful. You can see the cathedral, lit up (and my death grip!)

We all slept very well Saturday night, and woke up to go to the morning mass at the cathedral. It took forever to start, because they had a fairly lengthy procession with a relic of St. James (which I showed you last time.) Despite the fact that Clare and I are a practicing Catholic and a jaded not-so-catholic-anymore, respectively, we both had no idea that it was Pentecost… which was the reason for all the festivity. We were disappointed that they didn’t use the giant censer that is famous in Santiago, though. But the mass was very beautiful, and it was interesting to be there with so many pilgrims from other countries. The second reading was in Polish, and each of the prayers of the faithful was in a different language.

…and I’m sorry, but once again I’ll have to finish later! :-p

p.s.-Don’t worry, Aunt Marie, we don’t need a abogada… so far. The security guards in Galicia are very friendly. 🙂

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One Response to Santiago: Part III

  1. Amy says:

    The mercado is making me hungry this morning. 🙂

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