Santiago de Compestela
Jan 23, 2020
|Day 13 - Thur 23rd Jan
We have turned a corner, so to speak, having gone round the North West corner of Spain. Now we head South down through Portugal & then back into Spain at the bottom. After that it will be around to Gibraltar & probably up the coast towards Barcelona. No real plans as to where to go other than Fatima in Portugal & then Gibraltar.
Today we headed from our spot on the West coast inland back to Santiago to visit the famous Cathedral where the remains of Saint James are kept. He was apparently beheaded by Herod back in Jerusalem & his body was then brought to Spain. His tomb was hidden & undiscovered for centuries. When it was found a church was built at the spot & Santiago grew from this into the city it now is. The pilgrims started coming from all over Europe to visit the site & it is now one of the major pilgrim sites in the world.
It has become more than a religious pilgrimage in modern times & people now undertake The Camino for all sorts of personal reasons. There are many routes but they all finish up in Santiago with some the continuing across to the coast at Muxia. The most popular route today is the French route from St Jean-Pied-de-Port in France across the mountains into Spain & across via Pamplona, Leon etc. A journey of some five hundred miles.
When we got to Santiago this morning we parked on a car park beside a modern Sports Centre & hiked up the hill to the old city centre. We came here back in 2013 but didn’t know about the pilgrimages then. It is a lovely old city around the cathedral area with lots of narrow streets & fine old buildings. Unfortunately the Cathedral is experiencing major renovations so most of the interior is covered in plastic sheets closing off large areas. We were able to see the glorious gold altar & walk through the crypt area where the casket holding the Saint’s remains is on display. A bit disappointing really but maybe by the time we come back again the work will be done.
We also visited the Saint Francis church nearby where the daily pilgrims Mass is held at midday. The Mass would normally be held in the Cathedral but has been temporarily moved due to the renovations. We got to the St Francis church just as the service started so I stayed with I stayed with Viv for my second Mass in two days, my mum would have been proud of me.
Being all religious now we dropped into the nearby Pilgrims Museum where we qualified for free entry being over sixty five years old. Mind you we had to produce our passports to prove our age. I obviously look like Viv’s toy boy!
Enough walking then by the time we got back to our motorhome for a very late lunch. We then moved out of the city a bit then to an Aire in Milladoiro a few miles away to plan our next move down into Portugal. It is a nice new Aire with free fresh water plus grey water & toilet emptying points. It is a special area for motorhomes in a big car park & has about ten bays which were all occupied by the end of the day.
Mileage today - 55
Total Mileage - 1,693