Today was fun….a rest day in beautiful Santiago. We arrived yesterday and checked in to San Martin Pinario (the monastery). It is the favored place to stay for most pilgrims and has an awesome atmosphere. As we walked around the cloister on the huge bricks that have been worn smooth over centuries, the Celtic folk music floating in the air, I looked at everyone’s faces and remembered what it is like to experience this for the first time. I love Santiago and it feels like coming home.
Music fills the streets and everyone is happy, having just completed a camino. They look exhausted and overwhelmed, they are bandaged, they limp and use their sticks. Others look stunned. Some people just sit and lean against the pillars watching.
It’s always a bit of a shock when you finally walk up to the cathedral. It is sad because the walking adventure has finished, but wonderful because it is such an achievement. I’m always amazed at what I have done and the distances I’ve walked.
Last night we went to an Italian restaurant to eat familiar food and chat about our adventure. Today we returned to eat pizza for lunch-the best pizza ever!!!
Moira, Katy and I wandered around town, ate ice cream and churros, and posted stuff home that was no longer needed.
Gonzalo arranged for a friend to take us sight seeing around the outskirts of Santiago and he surprised us by turning up out of the blue himself to explain things in English. We went to Monte de Gozo, the Cultural Centre and the church with the crooked pillars and museum (dating back to the 12th century). Pilgrims don’t get to see these things, so it was very special and so very kind of him to take time off work to do this. It is his busiest time of year and I am very grateful indeed to have such a kind friend.
Tonight was the icing on the cake. I left my peeps and met up with my Aussie friend Jen who has just walked with a group from Sarria on the Frances Camino. Jen found love on the camino a few years ago and moved to Barcelona. She set up a travel business and has organized our last few days in Spain with a trip to Finisterre and Muxia. Anyway, I’m off the track. Today just happens to be her birthday.
We walked up near the back of the cathedral to find a full orchestra set up and as we arrived there was a huge fanfare and it was as if they were announcing her stately arrival.
We then walked up to the main square and a group of Galician singers started singing ‘happy birthday’ to someone! Funny.
We then went down to a beautiful Michelin star restaurant (Casa Marcelo) for a celebratory dinner. You cannot book here and it is first in, best dressed. Whilst waiting for it to open, we chatted to some Canadian women and they asked if they could join us, so we had a big group of 9. We all sat at a really long table down the middle of the room and the fun began….about 8 courses of the most delicious Asian fusion food I’ve ever had! It was like something from Master Chef and I had no idea what I was eating but it was incredibly tasty. No menu and you just eat what you are given. Every mouthful was mouth wateringly delicious with unexpected bursts of flavour popping out from nowhere. OMG! I died and went to heaven!!!
Happy Birthday Jen. I’m SO glad you were born!