Santiago de Compestela

October 10, 2017 - Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Today was a big day on our schedule. We had to drive from Porto to Santiago de Compestela in Spain, a trip of about 250km each way. We went down for breakfast about 7.30am. Now that we were at the Teatro with the others we had another breakfast room to find our way around. I had decided on cereal to start and couldn't find any juice. It wasn't until we had toast in the toaster that we discovered there was a second room with more things laid out. There was our juice to start our day, and the hot things as well.

We were supposed to leave at 8am but it was almost 8.15am before John arrived with the new bus. A large coach with all the goodies including high seating and tinted windows. Quite a change from the little bus of yesterday. We all spread out again and a 'Lurch' like Alessandro drove us to the north. 'Lurch' more in features, sullenness and leanness rather than height.

We crossed the Spanish border and stopped at San Simón for a rest break. From this highway service centre (the same everywhere really) there was a view down onto the inlet of the Rio Rande. We were back in Spain again and the air was fairly smoke-free. The smoke has been very heavy while we have been in Portugal. Most of Portugal is backed by mountains and the on-shore oceanic winds and the cold Atlantic currents seem to maintain a constant inversion layer.

With everyone refreshed we droned on again to Santiago de Compestela. We arrived at 11.30am and arranged to meet up at the bus around 2.30pm (Portuguese time). John led us up to the Cathedral constantly reminding us of the way back to the bus. 'See, here the Cathedral, here the Square, here the Church and there the way to the bus.' We lined up for a look inside but the queue hardly seemed to move. Nerrida found out there was a Mass inside so we were waiting until they came out. We were about 20 minutes in the line before we went inside but had been reluctant to give up our place and come back later. Inside, we had a good look around and then lined up to see the casket of St James. After shuffling along in the line for a while Margaret walked around to see what was happening at the front. She then realised we could go down to the crypt to see the casket without lining up to 'embrace the apostle'.

Outside we had a walk around and then found a little café with an upstairs room where we had a Tortilla Vegetale for two (way too much really) and a couple of beers for €25.

We were all back at the bus by 2.30pm except for Jeff and Jay, two older Americans from Maine. After waiting maybe fifteen minutes John went back to search for them then Danny and Robyn went up to stay near the church junction to save John worrying about covering that spot as well. That was a very good idea. The rest of us remained near the bus and discovered a drawback of having a driver with almost no English. Although John was in contact with him we could find out little or even communicate ideas back to John. Jeff and Jay were finally found at almost 4pm after they had gone down the hill from the Cathedral and lost their way back to the bus. This was now turning from a long day into a very long day.

The bus stopped at St Simón again on the way back for a coffee and comfort break. Margaret and I indulged in a coffee this time and discovered that there were worse things than the Madrid Railway Station slop that is sold as coffee.

It was 7pm before we arrived back at the Hotel Teatro and we were glad to kick our shoes off for a while.

Tonight we walked over to Café Avenida again to share a Salad Avenida, red wine and bread, but this time we also had two deserts to share. A pudding that is made with ham and eggs and flour called Pudim Abade de Pris (from Braga region) and a meringue type called Torte Do Algarve. Both were recommended by our waiter as being typical for Portugal and they were both very sweet and rich.


San Simón
Decoration on the Cathedral
The altar in the Cathedral
Dome of the Cathedral
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