Fri, Oct 12 in Santiago
Fiesta day! The Spanish mostly have the day off. Half the restaurants, shops and museums are closed, and families are wandering the streets. There were big crowds in the cathedral, and I am glad that I visited St James when there was no line-up. There are even children on the streets, kicking balls, and running away from their parents. Most of the city where I spend my time is car-free, so it is safe for children to run and play. There were mimes - one of Gandhi, all spray painted white. There were actors dressed like cardinals ( the priests) and St James, the pilgrim, and you could have your picture taken with them. I took an audio tour of the cathedral this morning, and counted. There were multiple depictions of Jesus on the cross, and about 20 small and larger chapels, some with seats of up to 100, some with a few benches, and some with no seating. The famous plaster statue of St James the Moor slayer is there too. So many wars and battles committed in the name of religion.
I also toured the museum of Pilgrimage. It had a 6 lovely videos of the different paths to Santiago, taken with stop action photography, and made into a video. There also were several interactive videos, which were interesting. I took a 30 second movie as I walked around a scale model of the Cathedral. Ask me and I´ll show it to you.
It was a beautiful day - no rain, for the first time in 5 days. I spent a few hours people watching, as I got 3 free meals today from the Hotel dos Reis Catolicas, the Parador. We waited in or by the parking garage, and on showing our Compostela and passport, up to 10 people are admitted. I went to breakfast, with 3 others: a man from Luxembourg, a girl from Quebec, and a Spaniard. The Luxembourg guy had eaten there several times ( you can eat 3 meals a day for 3 days after you arrive). He led the way. We got 2 carafes of expresso, a carafe of hot milk and piles of churros ( deep fried twisted pastries) batons of whole wheat and plain sweet buns. I took my meusli.
Lunch was salmon, make your own ensalada mixta, with lettuce, onion, tuna, sweet corn and tomatoes, fried bacon, bread and eggs, a leek and carrot saute, and a piece of salmon, not to mention caviar on melba toast, and a bottle of wine - for 2 of us!
Dinner was 10 - Spanish, German and French, and me.It wasn´t as good for me: pasta salad, pork, french fries and a melange of zuchinni and red pepper, plus wine of course.
So tomorrow I am off to Switzerland, and the solo part of my journey is over. I wonder what that will be like? Always an adventure.
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