We picked up our Car, a almost new Peugeot 408 at the airport and set up the navigation to our Hotel but it wanted to take us somewhere else! We then called on good old google maps to come to the rescue and we found it. parking was a bit of a baggage drag distance up a hill but we sorted it and settled into a nice restored room inside a 17th Century building with views over the hills. First stop was a walk into the Town Centre and the Cathedral, and wow no wonder this town is all about the Cathedral, simply stunning in every respect and not just its pilgrimage status. Santiago is so much more than the Comino, it is a regional centre and a university town in a big way, so buzzing and vibrant in so many ways.
The interior was a real mix of the ages from 11th century chapels to 17th century Baroque ornateness and everything in-between.
The covered Portico walkways stretch right across the old town and makes for a very characteristic style, with restaurants, shops and buskers all taking advantage of the spaces. we wandered around as many streets as we could over the three days and had some great meals as well as a nice bit of shopping as well.
Being the major town for finishing the camino there are people arriving all day long, on foot, on bikes with dogs and you name it.
The Cathedral has been under restoration for some time and the scaffolding was finally coming down while we were there so we were very lucky to see the cleaned up and restored Baroque facade
The panoramas are everywhere as being a hill town surrounded by hills the vistas are always spectacular, even the zoomed in capture of the details .
The Main Park De Alemeda has some enormous Eucalypts as well as some very funny sculptures of ladies a strolling and ready for a chat. being a university town it is always lively and the students out demonstrating this day were calling for action on domestic violence issues in Spain which are at crisis point.
every night under the arches of the Pazo de Raxoi opposite the cathedral a group of local musicians sign, dance and play for tips for over an hour and it is a blast where everyone gets involved in signing and dancing along…especially one Ann Cunningham who loved every minute.
there are plenty of other churches in this very holy of town but i was very unnerved by the leather clad door to one sacristy and even more so by a portrait of one of the local Bishops which looked somewhat devilish in its capture of an unassuming but frightening man!!!!
For our last night we splashed out on a lovely meal at the Parador de Santiago Cellar Restaurant which was such an amazing setting and the perfect way to say goodbye. but the night was but young and on our way back to the Hotel we found a great live band playing in a square so we stayed for some great 70’s and 80’s style rock music with a fabulous lead signer, his young daughter and an amazing guest vocalist who blew us away.