Day 27: Santiago de Compostela

Day 27
Date: Sunday, Oct 2, 2016
Start: A Picarana
Stop: Hostal la Salle, Santiago de Compostela     👍
Distance (Day/Total): 15/634 km
High Temp: 19 C/66 F

A single thumbs up or down is simply an indication of whether I would stay there again or not.  It is not a recommendation.  A double thumbs up or down indicates that the place was great and I highly recommend it or absolutely awful and stay away.

Start at 7:15 am.  No breakfast as this hotel.  It’s pitch dark and cold and windy.  The first km or so is along the highway but there is a shoulder.  I see another headlamp, bobbing along, on the other side of the highway.  Probably heading to Fatima.  Once off the highway, out of the wind, it didn’t feel as cold.

I come across the albergue where Sameer and Rebecca were planning on stopping and I see them having breakfast thru the window.  I go in to say hi and see that Sue is with them.  We walked together for a little while but then I went ahead.  Quite a few pilgrims.

Pilgrims’ Office

Short day and I am at the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela by 11 am.  It was still early and I figured I had plenty of time to get my compostela and make it the noon mass.  The Pilgrim’s Office has moved from the last time I was in Santiago in 2014.  There was a security guard at the front door, directing traffic, and there was staff making sure people did not cut in line.  This was a problem two years ago.  There appeared to be more security, also.  Past the main door was a courtyard and the line for the compostela stretched into the courtyard and down these stairs.  But I could see the office door.  So, I might be able to make it in an hour.  That door turned out to be to the wing that had the office.  The line was much longer than what it had seemed in the beginning and it took over two hours to get the compostela.  An hour in, Sameer and company showed up.  Took a look at the line asked me how long I had been there and left.  Said they were going to lunch and then return.  Got my compostela.  I didn’t get the distance certificate but later wished I had.  There is no charge for the compostela but the fee for the distance certificate pays to run the Pilgrims’ Office.

It was now after 1 pm and I decided to get some lunch.  I really wanted a hamburger.  I walked around but didn’t find any hamburger places.  Finally, saw an Italian restaurant that served hamburgers.  Big mistake.  It was bad and ate about half.

I had booked a private room at the Hostal la Salle at the recommendation of the British/New Zealand IT guy from two nights ago.  It was nice but quite a ways from the cathedral. The room and bathroom were extremely small, even for European standards.  But clean.  Although I had booked for one night, I planned on staying for two before heading to Muxia and then Fisterra (Finesterre).  I told them I’d let them know tonight.

I was going to walk around a little bit, scope out a place for dinner before heading to the 7 pm pilgrims mass.  I had ice cream.


Walked around.  Decided to stop at an outdoor cafe for a beer.  Tables were hard to find but someone got up and I grabbed his table.  Shortly thereafter a table next to me opened up and a really tall guy in a yellow windbreaker sat down.  He looked exhausted and was clutching his compostela tube (little container to hold the compostela), which he placed on the table.  He gave the waiter his order.  Shortly, the waiter brought out a huge goblet with some ice.  He poured tonic from a little bottle and then, with a flourish, produced a huge bottle of Beefeater and made a big production of pouring the gin into the goblet.  The whole thing was very dramatic.  If I was not so shy, I would have pulled out my camera and started recording.  The guy in the yellow slicker seemed exhausted.  I got to meet him later on.

I drank my beer and watched the crowds.  It’s significantly more crowded than two years ago.  There are just too many people.  It’s too loud.  But isn’t that what we always do.  We tell ourselves that something was so much better, before.  Our memories of events improve over time.  So, Santiago is probably no different.

Naw.  It’s really crowded.  And I decide there and then that I won’t stay another day but head to Muxia, tomorrow morning.

Line for the 7 pm Pilgrims Mass

I finish my beer and start heading to the cathedral.  On the way I run into the British couple I had met on Day 10.  They were using the camino as a general guide of where they wanted to go, walking only the parts that they wanted and taking taxis for the rest.  They were very upfront that they were tourists and not pilgrims.  We had a very nice visit and I was glad I had run into them.

I get to the cathedral and there is along line to get in.  They haven’t opened the doors and I notice the signs saying no backpacks inside.  So, I wouldn’t have been able to get in this morning because I had my pack with me.  No backpacks in the cathedral is another change from two years ago.  Also, much more security.

The mass was nice but once again I remember it being so much more moving the last time.  There was no botafumerio either.

After mass, I decided to skip dinner and on the way to the hotel bought an empanada with minced pork (I think).  It was really good.

Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela







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