Tag Archives: Santiago de Compostela

Faux-Pilgrim’s Progress: how we faked a pilgrimage

Last week as we were walking about in the rain in Santiago de Compostela looking for a post office, we were stopped by the leader of a tour group.  “Excuse me” he said politely “I see that you are pilgrims.  My group would like to see your pilgrim’s passport stamps.  Could you please show them […]

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. What do you mean we don’t have to go West anymore? The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is confusing–sprawling with multiple entrances, partly covered with scaffolding.  The famous Portico of […]

Figeac: the genius of Champollion and the body odor of Jacques

Figeac, a well-preserved medieval town in Southwest France, is a scenic stop on The Way of St. James (Jacques) Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage trail.  Our personal pilgrimage was meant to pay homage to hometown hero Jean-François Champollion, though we unintentionally found ourselves in rather intimate proximity to a distant relative of St. Jacques (more on that later). Jean-François Champollion, […]

The next time you’re in Vézelay tell the people with the elephant ears I said hi

We were all alone in Vézelay’s Sainte-Marie-Madeleine Abbey, the light was fading, darker, darker…and then we climbed down into the crypt.  No, not actually a horror story ending, but in fact the ending to a perfect day, a day we spent from sunup to sundown in and around one of the world’s greatest Romanesque churches. Vézelay […]

Picnic at the Cathedral

We arrived by school bus. This was the only form of public transportation available, a once- a-week bus into Conques in Southwest France, population 281.   A five minute walk from the bus stop, through the tiny but perfectly preserved village  to our half-timber hotel room next to the Abbey-Church of Saint-Foy.  The abbey has been a […]