We very reluctantly left that almost perfect campsite on San Francisco Bay (Camping A Vouga) but with the new Brexit rules limiting the amount of time we can spend in the EU to just 90 days in every 180, it is time to move on.
Our first port of call was Santiago de Compostela. Despite the criticisms I voiced in my last post (Finisterre), I am seriously thinking of doing a Camino next year (I might even create a new route of my own – LoL) and thought it appropriate to check out the finish point of Santiago di Compostela or; should I go on to Cabo Tourinan, near Muxia, which is Spain’s real westernmost point (not Finisterre).
We drove into the outskirts of Santiago and parked up near an Abu Dhabi size shopping mall with a huge Carrefour. I figured that Carrefour would keep Vanya occupied for the time it would take me to walk the six or seven mile round trip to and from the Prazo do Obradoiro where the Cathedral sits (and where the relics of Saint James are supposedly interred). As it happens, I was back at the Van before Vanya had finished in Carrefour.
It was an easy walk to and then through part of the old town to the Prazo do Obradoira and the Cathedral. You simply follow Camino shells until you can no longer see any shells because of the thickening crowds and then; you follow the crowds (especially the scruffier, smellier elements of the crowd) until you can see a cathedral spire or two. Then, there you are, standing on what must be the most wonderful square in the world to those pilgrims or walkers who have just completed a proper Camino. Honestly, the excitement of some of the pilgrims as they approached the cathedral was almost palpable; it was both emotional and uplifting even to an old cynic like me. Well done them!!!
My particular route on to the Prazo do Obradoira took me through a small arch where I was thrilled to hear a busker playing foliada (traditional Galician music which is almost Celtic in style). Just goes to show, you can take the lad out of Scotland but you cannot take Scotland out of the lad.
I had time to explore more of Santiago and when I next pass through here I certainly will but; on this occasion (after taking the obligatory photos), I was content to do nothing but sit and observe. Honestly, it was wonderful. Seeing the different ways that individuals and groups of people were expressing their total joy at having finally completed their Camino was well… sublime. “People Watching” at it’s absolute best.
Okay, so I made time to take a few more photos. Time to move on. We hope to get at least as far as Cambados today.