Wouldn’t you love to walk the Camino? Haven’t got time to commit to training or a spare couple of months to complete the task or maybe you lack the commitment or the budget to buy all the gizzmos that are involved. Do what Mr and Ms X did and just head to the finish line!
Walking the Camino means following the scallop shells along the way until you make it to the end- the Cathedral where the remains of St James are said to be buried. There is lots to be heard, read and believed about the story of Santiago/St James. Once you accept the story and it’s flaws, you can then embrace the mystique of this city. At the moment the cathedral is undergoing a massive restoration as it had been dangerously let go. It is to be completed by July 2021 when lots of important people are said to be arriving. Even the Pope will be there with a giant hammer to break down one of the doors
So, imagine that you have completed your walk now and you arrive with aching feet to find this: I guess it’s all about timing! The pilgrims need to have walked a minimum of 100 kms or ridden by bicycle 200kms to receive their certificates and have their names read out during the Pilgrim’s Mass held each day at noon. So there is no cheating as you collect official stamps along the route.
We did however get to visit St James’ tomb so now that makes 4 dead dictators and 2 apostles/saints who we have ticked off our list.
If you are serious about this Camino walk, be prepared for some serious gear and outfits. No judgement, just sayin’.
Today’s pilgrims are cared for by lots of services provide around town. They even have their own post office and museum. So if you are planning to visit here, there is no escaping the scallop shells and exhausted walkers. Mr and Ms X enjoyed watching them arriving, some more exhausted than others and some who looked like they could turn around and sprint back to France or Portugal or from wherever they started.
Santiago de Compostela is a great place in which to get lost as you explore the winding narrow laneways. There’s always a church nearby given that there are 31 in this very small old town!
Make sure you pass through the park to visit “The two Marys” sculpture. These 2 sisters hold great affection by the city and their story is one of bravery and is very heartwarming. There’s great food to be had and there is even a bar that gives you a complimentary tapas dish with the coffee, beer or wine that you order. It was great to begin sampling the region’s Pintxos and tapas after the heavy Portuguese dishes.
Just be prepared that when you are ready to eat, the restaurants aren’t so kick back and relax as Mr and Ms X did!