Relaxing in Santiago

I rolled out of bed around 8, enjoying the extra sleep. I went for some breakfast then had a walk around while it was quiet. I went to visit Santiago’s tomb and the cathedral.

For lunch I met up with my Camino friends and said goodbye to Jelonda, as she would be heading home. In the evening I went on a walking tour around the city.

It started in the main square outside the cathedral. The original cathedral didn’t look as grand as it does today. It was once in a Roman style, and looked very simplistic. However as the Camino grew in popularity, during the 18th century, the church built the facade that we see today.

To the left is the Paradore hotel where it will cost you a small fortune to spend a night. It was once the location where all the pilgrims stayed, but before that it was owned by the king.

The main power in Santiago belonged to the bishop, but the king made the building under his authority, and became an estate within the city, that had different laws. Somethings were legal in the building but not outside.

The building opposite the cathedral are governmental offices, including the police stations.

Gov. Building left, Paradore right

On the other side of the cathedral is the main entrance, where above the pillars on either side of the doors are strange, evil looking creatures. Which seem out of place for a cathedral.

They are meant to be lions! At the time these were carved, the stonemasons actually had never seen a lion in their life, so they did their best with descriptions and their imaginations.

There is a park that over looks the cathedral, boasting some of the best views in the city. Here there are two statues of ladies in colourful clothing.

They were fashion designers at the time of the Spanish civil war. Many of those who opposed the tyrannical government fled Santiago and hid in the surrounding countyside. These two ladies did not, and they were suspected to be protecting those who were in hiding.

They were raped, beaten and tortured almost on a daily basis, but they still walked the streets in defiance. They became symbols of the city’s stoicism.

Back into the city we were shown a building that was housing for the wealthy elite of the city. Below this in the cellar, they used to keep horses and cattle, to protect them from Galician winters.

The cellar was also where you would go to the toilet! Since then proper plumbing has been installed and they are now bars.

We were also shown a statue of the first ever pilgrim, King Alfonso II. When he was notified of the finding of St. James remains. He left his palace to see and verify the finding. So he is accredited as the first pilgrim, and the route he took was the Camino Primitivo.

Once the tour was over we all went for drinks and tortilla y potata. I said goodbye to Christin, as she has an early morning flight back home. Still being on Camino time, by 10pm we were falling asleep, so we called it a night.

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