In Santiago de Compostela

9 Sep 2014

Even if you're not doing "The Camino", Santiago (in Spain) is a wonderful town to get lost in.

The spiritual pilgrimage, el Camino de Santiago de Compostela, has long been a road endured by pilgrims young and not-so-young from around the globe. My mother-in-law happens to have walked the camino for 10 years (a week at a time!) and this year she finally arrived at Santiago.

After a very short flight, we arrived to meet her at her quaint hotel's beautiful gardens, and joined in for some drinks and to plan some adventures with the rest of friends and family that had gathered there for the occasion.

We got there early and explored the grounds.

They had beautiful flowers and plants in every nook and cranny of the garden.

It looked like a fairy town.

We ordered some jars of Sangria and sat in the shade, munching and chatting away.

We used this time to plan our route for exploring the town.

We decided to get right down to business and walk to the Cathedral to get a tour.

Starting with an impressive mass to welcome the pilgrims who'd arrived that morning...

We then joined a tour guide who showed us the Cathedral and it's story.

The legend says that Apostle Saint James, who travelled to the most Northern part of Spain - the Finis Terrae (the end of the world) to convert more people to Christianity was buried in a secret wood; but his tomb abandoned as Christians were persecuted around 44A.D. Centuries later, his tomb was re-discovered by Hermit Pelagius after witnessing a bizarre light in the sky - a stellae. This is where the name Compostela derives from. A pre-Romanesque church was then built, and this gave start to the pilgrimage.

Today's Cathedral was built in the 11th Century and daily tours happen within its grounds - they even take you to the rooftops!

The architecture of the Cathedral itself is impressive, and full of nuances and secret legends, which the guides are more than happy to share with tourists. The tour is just under an hour long but mostly involves hanging out on the roof tops of the Cathedral, admiring the tranquil town with a 360 degree view.

And people watching...

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