Santiago de Compostela

This entry is part 20 of 29 in the series Part 4: Astorga to Santiago to Finisterre

Parador de Los Reyes Catolicos**

 

RAINING AGAIN… ALL DAY!!!  No duffel to bring down for Jacotrans pickup.  We prowl the “mandatory breakfast buffet”  (included in the tariff whether you like it or not). Tons of food; the challenge is to keep your wits about you.  Out at 10 AM and over to the cathedral to give a statue of St. James a traditional hug, and visit his reputed tomb.  Here I should say a bit about the Good Saint’s Spanish presence  (as researched by Nick).  According to an 1137 AD Pilgrim’s Guide, “The body of the Apostle is here in its entirety, divinely lit by paradisiacal carbuncles, and diligently worshipped by attentive angels.”  But in an age given to the veneration of relics, folks were curious, and around 1600 AD, the tomb was opened – and was empty!  The Church claimed (and claims) this was because Francis Drake the Pirate was intent on stealing St. J’s bones, so the bishop at the time hid them, then died without telling anyone exactly where.  Anyway, as a courtly Spanish gentlemen said while viewing said vacant tomb, “You see, it is the devotion that counts.”   We attend the day’s noon Pilgrim Mass, at which point, according to the 1137 AD account, “The prayers of the faithful have been fulfilled, the chains of sin have crumbled, and heaven has opened its doors.”  Would it be so.  I’m patient (or try to be) as Nick takes pictures, even though I’m now freeeeeezing and wet.  I have a hissy-fit, berating the poor guy, but, hey!  We cross the cathedral’s plaza to the Parador, spend some time in it’s ornate library for email, then to lunch in the Tavern, the less fancy of the two dining room choices.  Excellent… I have mussels, and Nick has scallops St. Jacques, small but tasty.  To room for B+N, then back out into the storm, this time with some rules re shutterbugging.  We find the Pilgrim Office and get Compostelas, certificates stating that we started in Le Puy-en-Valey oh so long ago.   We look at some shops to compare jewelry with a piece in the gift shop of the hotel… nothing as nice.  Lots of Camino stuff.  Cold and wet, I spy a sweatshirt, big and cozy looking, with the big Yellow Arrow on the front.  It goes home with me.  A little more looking about the town, then back to the Parador in the pouring rain.  I change into dry cloths (new sweatshirt with leggings) and we head for the classy, welcoming bar.  Nick has a gin and tonic; I have a fabulous Martini.  We munch complimentary chips, nuts and empanadas – sufficient to suffice for dinner.

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