The glowing streets of Santiago de Compostela

It always rains in Santiago de Compostela so the buildings and cobblestones are covered in moss.  The town glows and the twisting arcaded streets are magically inviting.

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What do you mean we don’t have to go West anymore?

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The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is confusing–sprawling with multiple entrances, partly covered with scaffolding.  The famous Portico of Glory was closed for restoration.

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At this point in the trip I look like a Raggedy Ann doll–my clothes are full of holes, stained with olive oil and sprinkled with bread crumbs.  My pants are hanging down, muddy cuffs dragging the ground because of the weight I’ve lost from all the walking in the cold without picnic opportunities.  The soles of my shoes are peeling off.  Parents of Northern Spain: lock up your sons.

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It’s a joy to hang out in the square in front of the cathedral watching the ecstatic pilgrims arrive.  We met a woman from Italy who had just hiked for 30 days through snow covered mountains.  We attended the special daily Pilgrims Mass at the cathedral.  During the service they read out the names of all the pilgrims (and the departure point of their journey) who register at the pilgrim’s office that day.

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Our pension was freezing cold and we were given two twin beds.  After an unsuccessful attempt at separate, shivering sleep, we climbed into a single twin bed together—ah, body heat!  We slept well after that, even without enough space to tuck in all our appendages.

 

 

How we got to Santiago de Compostela: train from León.

Where we slept: Pensión Acibeche.  Price: €49 for a double.  Recommended: yes, if you have a warm body to snuggle in your twin bed,

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15 comments

  1. The pilgrim in your photo even has a seashell on his backpack. I love that. Such faith.

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    1. We saw depictions of St. James everywhere, wearing his pilgrims garb and sea shell. I prefer St. James the humble pilgrim to the ugly St. James the Moor Slayer….

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  2. So cool! I’m really want to head to Spain this year! Would you recommend the North more than the South?

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    1. The South is gorgeous and culturally unique too. I especially loved Cordoba and Granada. Beware that it’s quite hot in the summer!

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  3. Santiago is an under rated gem. We loved our visit there and yes the rain really helps to do it justice as you say.

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    1. True–it’s probably underrated because it’s so isolated (which is the point of a pilgrimage destination I figure). I hope you stayed in a well heated room during your visit!

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      1. Think the room was OK, we took a train afterwards to Cordoba via Madrid and then onto Cadiz & Seville, so definitely warmed up then.

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  4. I was on the Camino years ago, with my seashell.. Santiago is a beatiful city… There are so many walking stories about this city… There is also a piece of my soul…

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    1. Where did you start your Camino wildtuscanybushcraft?

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      1. Hi! There are many ‘Camino’. I started from Burgos following the arrows of ‘Camino Francès’, great experience, magic landscapes, many people, languages!

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  5. Love this post! Went there myself and really appreciate your story on it! I’m just starting my own travel blog and I hope to have engaging content like yours to feature! Great read 🙂

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    1. Thank you stefindee! I see you recently went to Angkor Wat–I certainly hope to see those magnificent sculptures in the not so distant future…..

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  6. Ah,, as you can tell I’ve been reading all of your SPAIN posts – particularly all related to the Camino de Santiago. My husband and I have been dreaming of walking the Camino for several years now and are still saving and dreaming. But, it will happen one day. I’ve really loved your architectural perspectives, and I love your humor. 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much, Mormon Soprano. I hope you and your hubby get a chance to walk the Camino (please don’t follow our example and do it in winter without proper waterproof shoes!) The architecture in Spain is so enthralling–as much as I love the Northern part of Spain, I also couldn’t get enough of all the gorgeous buildings in Andalusia!

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      1. Interestingly enough, we were planning to walk the Camino this winter (December-January) but plans changed. After reading your posts and looking at your dreadfully cold photos, I’m thinking it’s not so bad we’ve been delayed. I hear the best times for Northern Spain are Spring and Fall…

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