3 Days in Santiago

It was great not to have to get up early, but we were still up at seven thirty. By the time we had eaten our granola and found our way through the labrynth it was getting on for nine so we decided to join the queue for the compostella.
It was all very good natured despite all the time we had to wait. We had the cellist in front of us in the queue. He had been behind us all the way, in fact he played at our hotel in Leon the night after we had left. Now, here he was with a film crew following him, just maybe, we will get to hear him later.
Behind us we had someone who had cycled from Leon. He was a Londoner and we talked about some cyclists giving others a bad name. I also gave him some stick about not being a proper Pilgrim as he had done it on wheels. We carried on the banter until we were invited in.
Because we had been honest and put “non religious” on our passports, the guy told us we could not have a proper compostella. We worried that that meant we got nothing, but we got a certificate in Latin. I am now Franciscus Robertus Finch. Obviously they could not latinise Finch. We also got a certificate to say we have walked 775 kilometers, that gets less with each telling as well.
When we came out, the canadian guy we walked a bit with yesterday and had a drink with last night was outside. So we sat there seeing how many pilgrims we knew. There was a Hungarian girl sitting with us as well, so I surprised her with “jo’ regget” unfortunately that was my lot.
In time we moved on and found a Russian trio in the square, so we sat listening and clapping at the end of each number until we felt hungry.
Just a little lower down was a bar where we could sit outside, and still just about hear the Russians. We had coffee and empanadas. These were not the normal Galician type which is just a tray bake which is portioned, these are more like the Argentine empanadas or our pasties, but the pastry is more like batter. It was very light and the fillings were spiced, quite delicious. So nice in fact, we decided to have another.
We were still on the camino here and just as we were starting our second empanada Rachel and Paul walked past. We rushed over and gave them a hug, I think it was all too much for Rachel there was definitely a tear in her eye.
We moved on again and sat outside the Cathedral, still watching the pilgrims roll in. Sat there on the wall I came across the Japanese sense of humour again. I had my camino tee shirt on, with the yellow arrow, and the Japanese guy told me to sit on the other side as my arrow was pointing the wrong way.
Then along came Richard and Tina, we talked for a while, then some other friends of theirs arrived. Sitting alone again on the wall we saw Wyn dressed in deliberately holey clothing.
He told us that the cellist was playing in the cathedral at four.
I managed to get some internet in a bar, posted a blog and found some tango here in Santiago. The address was somewhat confusing but after walking this far, everything is withing walking distance for us.
We arrived at the Cathedral and sat waiting, it was only three thirty so we did not expect too many to be there yet. We ended in a French tour group, no way we were sitting here listening to some guy prattling on in French so we moved forward.
This was still not good, we were at right angles to the Altar so we moved again. I think we were now where people come to pray, as there were ropes to stop people wandering in and a guard watching eveyone, so we just sat quietly. There was still no sign of anyone we knew.
Then at almost four we heard applause, and it was not coming from where we were seated. It was time to move again. We followed the sound and arrived at a Chapel dedicated to the pilgrim. It was full to capacity, and there was Wyn sat right at the front. I have no idea how he finds out about these things, but there he was again.
So we spent the whole concert standing, after the cellist had finished Wyn Rushed out. Apparently he had lost his wallet and was off to cancel his cards. I think he should have done that first, this could be a very expensive concert for him. He would be flying out in the morning, so we would never see him again.
There were two encores before we left. I don’t know if there was another, but we had stood long enough.
We wandered off to find the dance place. Now, the address was Calle San Lorenze, but that did not seem to exist, but the Google location showed it somewhere near Rua San Lourenzo. That was on the way out towards Finisterre, so navigation was easy, just follow the arrows again. We turned into the narrow side street where the Google location placed it and it was obviously not here. So we headed up Rua San Lourenzo to see if it was there. Number 51-53 was indeed a dance school, although it did not look the sort of place you would have a milonga, but we decided to come back tonight anyway.
We found another great place to eat, we had T bone with fried egg and chips 7.95e, how good is that? Set in a galleon with portholes and a binacle compass, they should have called the toilets “The Heads”, though”
We were showered and ready early. Viv had found a bargain dress to wear, how she always manages I will never know. So we set off again for Rua San Lourenzo. We arrived at nine thirty. No sign yet of anyone so we walked bck to Hotel San Lourenzo and had a drink. It seems to be all Germans here and Germany were playing Guyana, so we just sat back drinking.
We returned to the Dance school at about five past. Still no sign of life but a number of cars were now parked outside. In the one parked nearest we saw a guy and a girl heavily made up. On the dash was a shoe bag.
I tapped on the window “hay tango aqui anoche?” I asked. “No anoche es salsa” came the reply. So that was that then.
We walked back into town not quite knowing what we would do now. In the Cathedral square we could hear music and underneath the portico of the building opposite the Cathedral was a full mariachi band. They kept us entertained for some time, before we decided to move on.
Across the square and below the wall was a pipe band giving it some. two girls were jigging about until they were in a frenzy.
Then we walked across the square towards our home direction. This was a mistake, we got accosted by a guy who was giving us a history lesson in Galician music. I was not about to buy a CD of music I had never heard, we had quite a job getting away from him.
We wandered about some more, afraid to go back towards the cathedral in case we met that man again. So we headed back towards our hostel. We found a nice bar and stopped for a nightcap before heading back to bed.
Sunday morning, and we started with our museli and juice again but we still needed to get our coffee, before feeling human again.
We found our spot back behind the Cathedral and before long along came John the Canadian, then another girl from Orrison, and then came Richard and Tina.
Then we had the surprise of our lives, we met John and Vanessa. We thought that they had to return by now. They had bussed part way across the meseta, but a farmacia had advised her to take magnesium and her problems were eased. So, they too had finished here this weekend.
We were advised that the pews were filling, and so at 11:15 we tried to find a seat for the Pilgrim Mass. There was not a seat to be had, so we sat on a pillar base, Vanessa and John stood at the back.
Paul and Rachel had sat through the last mass and were going to sit through this one, but then decided to leave and gift us their seats. Rachel said “this is my gift to you” as we were reluctant to take their seats.
By shuffling along we managed to allow Vanessa in as well. We understood little of the service although some parts were translated. Despite this, the sound of the choir was beautiful and they got through the communion quickly by having many priests giving out the bread.
It was Burgos all over again though, after the service we lost touch with Vanessa and John when they rushed off to see the singers. So we left for some empanadas again.
Man may not live on bread alone, but the Finches can only take so much spirituality before we need feeding again.
We spent the day wandering, Viv was still looking for a swimsuit, but in the middle of the day in Spain hardly anything is open, on a Sunday you can pretty much forget it.
It was getting late and the Finches were hungry again. Viv was determined to have one of those pre made paellas, but we could see nothing. We passed a place selling Thia food, it looked a bit grotty so we moved on.
The sky was blackening, it looked like another Galician thunder storm was on the way. By the time we got to Cathedral square the rain drops had started. We saw Vanessa across the square sheltering. Time for a quick decision, do we cross the square and get soaked or do we turn around back to the Thai place, get fed and stay dry.
Sorry, Vanessa, twice you ran off from us, now it was our turn. By the time we reached the bar there were raindrops like saucers. When we sat at the table the street had turned into a river. It was hard to tell what was running off buildings and what was straight out of the sky.
The bar may have looked grotty but the food was excellent and well presented. It just shows, you can never tell what you are going to get here.
We stopped for a final drink in the bar just before the city gate. Ernest Hemingway stayed here apparently and his facsimile is still sitting here drinking. We drank to him and enjoyed the free tapas that come with the drinks here. It was a time to say goodbye to Santiago and all the friends we have met along the way.

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2 Comments

Filed under Camino de Santiago

2 responses to “3 Days in Santiago

  1. tangobob

    Vivianau Christinau. There are so many photos we are going to have to edit them first or you will die of boredom.

  2. Irene

    I love your new latin name Rob – did Viv get re-christened too? Thank you for the link about the, “Walk to Fisterra”. It is so interesting to read about Dane Johansen and I am going to find out how to buy the film when they have finished it. On the site, the cathedral at Santiago looks magnificent and I am really looking forward to seeing you both when you get back and immersing myself in all the photos that you have taken.
    As always, take care and love to you both.
    Irene
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