Santiago de Compostela, The Way

May 2015

So far I had traveled by boat and by train, this trip I flew into Santiago de Compostela. Another gorgeous town with lots of history. I had trouble finding an Airbnb near the old town so I splurged on a hotel, the Capitol Boutique Hotel. It was a good choice.

Santiago de Compostela from Monte Predoso - You can see the Cathedral -Restoration wrapped in blue
Santiago de Compostela from Monte Predoso – You can see the Cathedral -Restoration wrapped in blue – “Sacred Peak” in the background

As I have stated in the past postings, each town is a new experience, and the first day is generally about finding my way around. From the airport I took the EA bus into the middle of the city, got off the bus and called the hotel for directions. Unfortunately they didn’t speak much English. One obstacle I have had this complete trip, is the lack of data/internet on my phone. Verizon was extremely expensive, and when I purchased a SIM Card for Europe with phone and data, the data/internet piece failed to work. Bummer! Anyway, I decided to wave down a taxi. I provided the address, which the driver looked at, he looked at me, said something, and we were off. A left turn around the square, a right turn at the corner, a right turn at the next street, and there in the middle of the block was my hotel. Now I know why the driver looked at me funny. What could I do?

Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela – Click for Panoramic

I was only scheduled to be in Santiago de Compostela for two days, so I needed to get exploring. My first stop was the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, believed to be the burial-place of Saint James the Great.

Basilica Santiago de Compostela - Side Entrance
Santiago de Compostela Cathedral – Side Entrance
Backside of Cathedral
Backside of Santiago de Compostela Cathedral

The Camino de Santiago or The Way of Saint James is a pilgrimage to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago De Compostela. The pilgrimage has many routes and distances.

Saint James the Great Shrine in the tower
Saint James the Great Shrine in the tower

As it would have it, there was major reconstruction of the main entrance while I was there, forcing me to enter one of the sides.

Santiago de Compostela Cathedral - Main Entrance under repair
Santiago de Compostela Cathedral – Main Entrance under repair

I knew about this “pilgrimage” prior to getting to Spain, and therefore wanted to come here for that reason. There is a good movie with Martin Sheen, called “The Way”. I recommend viewing this movie.

Santiago de Compostela Cathedral
Santiago de Compostela Cathedral and the Botafumeiro
Inside Santiago de Compostella - View of alter and smoker
Inside Santiago de Compostella – View of alter and smoker

Butafumeiro means smoke expeller. Incense is burned in this swinging metal container. All day, and each day I was there, you would see hikers coming in from their pilgrimage.

Plaza de  by a side entry
Plaza de las Platerias – the fountain is the La Fuente de los Caballos – by a side entry to the Cathedral – look hard enough and you might see a hiker

When I was eating at the Café Casino, I talked to a man whose wife and friend were finishing up on their pilgrimage of 33 days, and were expected there in Santiago de Compostela in two days. He was planning to meet up with them about 10 miles out. I wished him the best!

Museo do Pobo Galego - Santiago de Compostela
Museo do Pobo Galego – Santiago de Compostela

To the side of the front of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela was a Hostel for travelers, although not your every day traveler. It is a 5 star Hostel and averages $200 Euros per night. As I said, not your normal hikers stop. I believe it was the place Martin Sheen and group stayed upon arriving in Santiago de Compostela.

Hostel
Hostal de los Reyes Catolicos

Outside the Cathedral you could hear the non-stop playing of bagpipes. I finally found this guy playing in kind of a corridor between plazas. The location helped to spread the music multiple directions. Over the course of the two days, I saw two other bagpipe players.  They just played and played! The music was great!

Bagpipe player #1
Bagpipe player

On my walk I ran across several other Iglesia or Churches.

Iglesia de Sn Francisco
Iglesia de San Francisco
Iglesia de San Martin
El Monasterio  de San Martin Pinario
Iglesia de San Frutuoso
Iglesia de San Frutuoso

A loop around the outskirts of town led me to Parque de la Alameda.

Parque de la Alameda
Parque de la Alameda
Parque de la Alameda
Parque de la Alameda

I enjoyed walking through this beautiful park.

Parque de la Alameda
Parque de la Alameda

I ran across an old church, closed and boarded up, on top of a hill, right next to a Ferris wheel. I didn’t know if the Ferris wheel and other rides found in the park were a passing event, or more permanent. In researching, I found a picture of the church and Ferris wheel from 2008, so I guess the carnival is a permanent site in Parque de la Alameda.

Iglesia de Susanna - with Ferris wheel
Iglesia de Santa Susanna – with Ferris wheel

The old church was called Iglesia de Santa Susanna .  She has seen better days. At the same time, there was a piece of artwork nearby that I never found any information on. As you can see, it is a rock, with a molded ghostly body imprinted.

Ghostly Artwork in Parque de la Alameda
Ghostly Artwork in Parque de la Alameda

I started looking for a hike as soon as I got there, stoping at the Tourist Information Office. A young lady overheard me discussing possibilities and gave a recommendation. My oldest daughter also sent me a possibility hike, so I was set. I headed out to go to “Sacred Peak” or Pico Sacro, outside the city limits of Santiago de Compostela, in the parish of Lestedo. This option soon disappeared as I walked to the central bus station only to find out I had just missed the bus to Lestedo, and the next bus was 2 hours away. Waiting didn’t leave much room for error for a return bus, so it was on to option B.

“Sacred Peak” or Pico Sacro, from Monte Predoso

Monte Predoso, or “Stony Mountain”, was a hike you could start from the Cathedral. I was told it was a 3 hour round trip hike. I followed the information provided by the tourist bureau, which led me to a dead end.  I was a little disappointed in markers and directions at times.  There was a creek nearby, and I felt adventurous, so I followed the creek. It was like a greenbelt.

Greenbelt along a creek
Greenbelt along a creek

The trail was peaceful, no other trekkers. I ran into this guy along my route.

Spanish Slug
Spanish Slug

Reminded me of the Banana Slug I saw while staying at the Jedediah Smith Campgrounds in the Redwoods State Park, just outside the Redwoods National Park. Possibly a cousin? Along the path I found wild strawberries. DSC01077 This path led me a couple of miles to a small town called Lermo.  I had to adjust my route, so I headed back to the left, down a road until I came to a small park, adjusting my route back to the right. I came across this beautiful little house and garden as I continued up the mountain.

Little White House w/garden on route to Monte Predoso
Little White House w/garden on route to Monte Predoso

Next I came to a large park on the side of the mountain. It may have been Parque de la Granxa do Xesto. It was a quaint little setting.

Frogs in harmony along this pond
Frogs in harmony at this creek bed

The frog choir was out in full force. I spotted this guy along the creek bed.

Ribbit!
Ribbit!  Ribbit!

A few other friends of the park!

Mr. Butterfly
Mr. Butterfly
Not sure what this was, but Mr. Frog probably would have liked him
“Beautiful Demoiselle”,  Mr. Frog probably would have liked him too

There were many beautiful and colorful flowers and bushes leading up to this park. (move to before)

KYellow Bush
Spartium Junceum, known as Spanish Broom
Purple bells
Digitalis Purpurea

At the top of the mountain, was a great view of Santiago de Compostela.

Santiago de Compostela from Monte Predoso - You can see the Cathedral -Restoration wrapped in blue
Santiago de Compostela from Monte Predoso – You can see the Cathedral -Restoration wrapped in blue

The top of the hillside had this beautiful bush with yellow flowers. The bush reminded me of sage, yet it was prickly.

Spanish Gorse Bush (yellow)
Spanish Gorse Bush (yellow)

Coming down from Monte Predoso, I took a completely different route. It swung me around to the far side of the town. At one point I was hiking on a Camino de Santiago trail. Should have taken a picture of the marker! The trail lead me through some abandon areas.

This was on part of one of the Camino de Santiago trails
Part of one of the Camino de Santiago trails
Part of one of the Camino de Santiago trails
Part of one of the Camino de Santiago trails

Up and over hills, into the backside of Parque de Alameda.

Parque de Alameda
Parque de Alameda

It was a very nice hike. I believe it was supposed to be a 3 hour hike, and I turned it into a 5 hour hike. I enjoyed every minute of it. I highly recommend a visit to Santiago de Compostela. Nest stop, Seville, Spain.

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