Where it started and ended: Santiago de Compostela

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We clean up pretty nicely

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Pink blazer saves the day

 

I wasn’t going to go to Santiago originally. I had this thought that if I made it there it would be because I did at least part of the camino. I have realistic expectations of myself and my capabilities, and I know that time, lack of foot comfort and my iffy about camping attitude are not the ingredients to being a successful peregrino. So it was going to be another place where I was like oh yeah, I’ll go back. I am going back to Spain of course. However….being that I was already over on that side of Spain with a car and that ever lovable time….well here’s the trip.

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Being in the plaza with all the walkers, bikers and other tourists was a trip in itself. Some groups of people came attached to each other like five year old children on a  field trip holding a  rope and singing a song I had never heard before. Other people were doing what I imagined I would do- laying down relieved. Most people were just pushy and it was kind of annoying to try and have any kind of peaceful thought provoking experience when it seemed like this was nothing more than the largest ball of twine in Spain. All a big show made popular by some religious freak, but there I was. Part of it. I even bought something at the gift shop and lit two “candles”

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Candles lit for special people

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Here, you can enter and touch St. James James! Well, I don’t honestly even remember what the wait was for because everyone was so pushy and the people watching was way more interesting.  My memory is weak now, but I do remember being by a group of older ladies. Actually, a majority of the crowd were older ladies having some kind of ladies visit/vacation. Perhaps their version of Vegas. Unfortunately it seemed wrong to complain about clusters of shrunken perfume reeking vessels cutting me in line to see something I wasn’t exactly waiting my whole life to see. What was another five minutes…plus we already ate lunch so I was content.

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After a good amount of walking about, I can say that Santiago is a nice city and has some charm aside from just the cathedral, but I really would not plan on spending more than one day there. Luckily Diego booked us a special place to stay, and it goes down in the history of my life as one of the best places ever and solidified the happiness and joy of the whole trip.

http://www.bachao.es/

It is a rural house just outside of the city and you get to it on a tiny winding road. You’ll think you have arrived a few times, but you haven’t until you’re pretty sure you are just driving deep into an unknown forest, and then the property just pops up like a glowing and beautiful siren calling to you except you aren’t in the Odyssey and everything will be okay if you just follow the two overly friendly dogs that just ate half of the snacks that fell out of your side car door. (ehem, Jimena).

We went all out on our room and got the giant suite because you know we had to have the best after camping….

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We feasted on our St. James cake in bed along with other bits of food we had been schlepping around with us and totally passed out with big plans to explore the beauty of the grounds in the morning.

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These two dogs may look like your average fools, but when we asked about a good route to walk and see the river, the owner said oh just follow the dogs, they’ll lead you. Even if you don’t want them to, they’ll go with you. So with no actual idea of where we would go, and with the hope of ending up back at the house we let Jimena and the other old mystery dog lead us down to the river. Really legitimate.

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Before we started off on this journey I personally wished that I had had the appetite of Michael Phelps upon seeing the breakfast buffet….yet the word buffet does not do this spread justice because for some reason buffet has come to be an ugly word for me. It brings to mind Old Country Buffet…which I used to love and I think goes without saying why I perhaps have grown to not love it.  IMG_5158 IMG_5159

They had the most amazing homemade tortilla, yogurt, fresh juices, jamon, olive oil, toast, coffee, really great coffee…..just all you could ever want in a breakfast. I wish I had taken more pictures now but I felt like enough of a dork taking this one because I was trying to keep it cool like this was the kind of trip I go on all the time. And I was wearing a Pull & Bear windbreaker with the American Flag on it and that was probably enough.

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Jimena flouncing about. IMG_5171 IMG_5172

Really she was a decent guide but she could have gone with a few less bathing breaks. IMG_5181 IMG_5182

My pictures aren’t doing the justice I want them to to the scenery. You just have to go to know. I think it was also the feelings I was having at the time of the trip that made the green greener, the river more beautiful and the rain even rainier. I just know that I’ll always love that day and smile when I think about it. Thank you to the kind people at the Casa do Bachao, and thank you to your wonderful dogs that crack me up.

I am finally coming to the actual final leg of the trip: A Coruna.  I am way late on all of these but it wasn’t that long ago that I made the final payment on the rental car.

The one year anniversary of my sisters wedding also just came and went….and it will be one year ago that I flew back to Spain for the second time to meet my crazy high school students. I’ll make sure and wrap it up by next weekend.

besos

 

 

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One comment

  1. Santiago was a special place to me the four times I visited. THEN I walked the Camino (we only did 20km on the last day so that we could enjoy it), the city was totally different to me. Walking in from the East and seeing the spires from Monte do Gozo was a relief, but also bittersweet because I knew the journey was ending.

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