Santiago de Compostela

This entry is part 21 of 29 in the series Part 4: Astorga to Santiago to Finisterre

Parador de los Reyes Catolicos**

It is still, relentlessly pouring!!!  So, what to do?  Well, first, at 9:30 AM, the inescapable, mandatory breakfast.  We choose entirely different items… Bonnie:  peppers, egg, potato tortilla, salmon, croissant / Nick: churros, cakes, fruits, sweet stuff.  And, why not, mimosas (OJ with Champagne).  Then out to explore the cathedral’s excellent museum.  We meet an interesting fellow, a museum man himself, who has a love of musical instruments in art and in life.  He is from England and appreciates that Nick has built musical instruments from English kits.  We visit the room that showcases the Botafumeros, giant incense burners occasionally and unpredictably used in Masses.  And one is missing!!!  Nick thinks that we have a chance at seeing an amazing phenomenon today.  We make tracks to the cathedral’s nave and see the Botafumero in place, ready to go.  Great Service, with many monks or bishops or whatever participating.  Pilgrims are acknowledged, with the ones who had travelled the farthest being “dos desde Le Puy, de los Estados Unidos”… that’s US!!!  We are so thrilled!!!  The Botafumero does not disappoint.  A red-robed team hoists it overhead, and sets it swinging, ultimately in a sweeping arc seventy feet above our heads.  (It once broke loose, and sailed out through a window.)  Through the rain, we head back to the Parador and lunch in the Tavern.  The food is OK, with Bonnie having cockerel in pepper sauce, and Nick scallops, again, plus a chocolaty cake.  B+N.  Then out again for ATM money and see the simulation of the cathedral’s renowned “Portal of Glory,” currently shrouded for restoration, then an exploration of the Parador, top to bottom – it’s a living museum – and to check the news for weather reports.  Disappointing… rain and more rain.  At 7:30 down to what is now “Our Bar, with Our Table” for a Martini and gin and tonic and attendant goodies.  I have a #2 Martini and Nick has a glass of wine and we share some cheese and bread.  We discuss the fact that most folks walking the Camino don’t appear to be all that spiritually inclined… unless it counts that you are taken by the wonder and adventure of the walk, and are the better for it.  It’s a journey, it would seem, that is better experienced than analyzed.  Back to our room, nodding off to the patter of rain on our window.

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