Pilgrims in Santiago, North Spain

For my next stop after Porto, I had decided that Northwest Spain was the next obvious direction to head in. Out of randomness I picked the only location I’d ever heard of before from reading many other travel blogs online – Santigao de Compostela.

The name might be familiar to you? Maybe.  The only reason most peeps know of it is if they have heard of a famous pilgrimage walk called El Camino de Santiago.

This is a walk that traditionally starts in northeast Spain, or even from France or other Europe locations, and takes generally a month of walking up to 500 km total across Spain to end in Santiago at the shrine of St James. You’re meant to discover god and/or yourself during the long days of walking and blisters. I guess you also learn about thoughts of murder when attempting to sleep in traditional Spanish albergues filled with snorers each night, as a lot of older people will do this pilgrimage. I think one day I would like to do this walk when I have a spare month of my life and a lighter backpack.

Trying to find my hostel felt like a pilgrimage as I discovered the man at the bus station information desk didn’t speak any English. Bits of my Spanish learning came back to me with my badly pronounced ‘¿Donde est Catedral?’ Which didn’t mean I could understand his instructions. Shrugging my shoulders I began to trudge in the direction he pointed.

By pure luck I did manage to walk to correct way and heard the cathedral bells ringing after a while which helped me hone in the precise location. I knew my hostel was right next to the cathedral and found it after lots of walking up and down the twisty cobblestoned streets. I was tempted to say ‘yes’ as each person I met in the hostel asked if I was a pilgrim after that long walk from the bus station. But I’m sure I looked far too clean with nice clothes to really get away with that. It was pretty obvious I hadn’t been walking for a whole month.

 The end of my long journey from the bus station

I stayed for two nights in Santiago and enjoyed relaxing a little. I also checked out the cathedral (of course) and watched a service where the latest arriving pilgrims had their names read out (aww). There was a nice park with a view of the town and a modern art museum with some odd displays.

Looking out over the city from the park

I hung out with this guy for a while

More tulips

One of the Modren Art museum displays. And yes those are appendages on the teddys

Again, just odd

Another pilgrimage back to the bus station (this time at 5am in the morning!) and I began a long bus ride reaching right across a large chunk of Spain towards Barque Country.

Where I stayed: Azabache Hostel

Price: €18 in a 4 bed dorm

Overall: It was an alright hostel. Just a place to sleep really. The showers were the best feature with amazing water pressure and heat. Laundry was the cheapest I’ve ever seen at only €2.50 a load.

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