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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
On my walk I ran across several other Iglesia or Churches.
A loop around the outskirts of town led me to Parque de la Alameda.
I enjoyed walking through this beautiful park.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The trail was peaceful, no other trekkers. I ran into this guy along my route.
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. 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.
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.
The frog choir was out in full force. I spotted this guy along the creek bed.
A few other friends of the park!
There were many beautiful and colorful flowers and bushes leading up to this park. (move to before)
At the top of the mountain, was a great view of Santiago de Compostela.
The top of the hillside had this beautiful bush with yellow flowers. The bush reminded me of sage, yet it was prickly.
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.
Up and over hills, into the backside of 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.