Something about Spain never gets old. Wether its the delicious tapas and sangria ( my favourite tapas being the croquettas and calamares), the unique culture or the frequent appearance of the sun, I always enjoy a trip back to España.
This time, we visited a whole new region – Galicia. Our first stop, the quaint and possibly most picturesque city I have yet seen in Spain, Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia. Santiago’s main attraction is the majestic Cathedral which lies in the heart of the city and houses the shrine of one of Jesus’ apostles, St.James. The Cathedral is also the destination for the Camino de Santiago (The way of St.James), an infamous pilgrimage route.
There are various routes you can take and people walk for weeks/months to get to Santiago. Many meet in Praza do Obtadoiro, the main square in Santiago that welcomes thousands of pilgrims every year. I saw a group meet up in the centre giving each other tight hugs with tearful eyes, congratulating each another on their accomplishment. I had only walked 4km of the route (not by choice, it was the way in to the centre from our hotel) that day and I was already feeling emotional, not because my legs were hurting from the wrong shoes I wore but because I saw it in their faces, the past few weeks were hard and they probably nearly gave up a few times. Yet there they were, new friends gathered at the end of their journey.
It is said that this square embodies the 4 pillars of the city. The cathedral (religion), town hall (politics), the rectorate of Santiago University (culture) and the hotel de los Reyes Católicos (economy).
This small city is an architectural galore with four different styles of architecture Gothic, Renaissance, baroque and neoclassical. You could get lost in every alleyway and find hidden gems, as long as you find your way back to the cathedral. We stumbled across this pretty cocktail bar, Cateleria on Ruela de Xerusalen, which I definitely recommend. The Pina Colada and Mojito are the top on my list and for 5euros each and ask for Dany, he was very willing to top up our glasses with rum…
And like any place in Spain, our drinks were accompanied with bread, nuts, olives and crips – why don’t we get this service in the UK???
One of the locals my mom became best friends with told us to visit Cafe Bar Mazarelos for authentic tapas at non-touristic prices. The small local is situated on Plaza de Mazarelos number 13 and had the best tapas I have had in a long time with fantastic prices. It was so almost impossible to walk back to the hotel without waddling.
If you want breath taking views of this magical place while taking peaceful walks, head over to Carballeira de Santa Susana. From this park, like almost any other point of the city, you can see the towers of the cathedral welcoming all travelers and pilgrims to Santiago. It was almost like St. James was watching our every move.
On the second day, we just left the map behind ( and also tried to avoid Google maps) and wandered around without a clear aim. We found book fairs, leather bag markets and …. wine.
Oh how I love a good glass of red wine, especially when it costs less than 3 euros. Like any place in Spain, Santiago comes alive when the sunsets and on our last day the sky bled a dark red to mark the end of a beautiful time.
I loved my short time in Santiago and honestly, 2-3 days here is enough time to explore and I am sure I will be back, the next time I would have hopefully accomplished the 100km minimum of the Camino de Santiago.