Day 3 - Santiago de Compostela

>> June 2, 2011

For our third day we headed to Santiago de Compostela. Santiago is the capital of the Province of Galicia the most northwestern province of Spain. The city and its cathedral are most famous for the being the final destination of a pilgrimage called the Camino de Santigo, or The Way of Saint James.

First and foremost we had to see what all the hub bub was about. So we entered into the cathedral and got a view of ol' James himself, (or at least where he is reputed to be buried). And yes, this is James the apostle of Jesus. The burial site is beneath the main altar in front of the church.

We noticed a line going up and into the altar (see previous picture) so we hopped in to see where it went. It ended up going up and behind the figure of St. James (found in the middle of the altar). Once inside this large gold contraption, it was very clear that pictures were not allowed. I saw a few ladies kissing the back of the figure's golden head but we were not really into that sort of thing. In fact we felt kind of awkward because we did not know what to do once we were inside. I decided on a nice tap on the shoulder and then we were on our way back out the other side. Before exiting I looked back to see the man behind me giving the statue a full on embrace.

We didn't get to see this contraption in action but this gigantic Botafumeiro as they call it is probably the most famous censer in the world. It is filled with burning coals and incense and is swung back and forth at speeds up to 60 km/hr. or 37 mph producing large volumes of smoke along the way.

We were surprised to see such graphic depictions of a certain Spanish legend in the cathedral. The story is that Saint James came back to life to help Spain against the Moors in the Battle of Clavijo in 844. Apparently he came looking a lot like a pirate on a white horse with a white banner and killed a whole lot of Moors, hence the name Matamoros.

After we had fully explored the interior we began our trek around the exterior of the church.

The rain started to come down a little.

And then it came down a lot. We took cover under a small patio with all the other tourists.

When the rained calmed down we checked out some of the other beautiful buildings in the city.


In Sarah's research about the city she found that there is a tour that you can go on that takes you to the rooftop of the cathedral. We finally found the small door to the entrance of the place and signed up for the next time slot. It was a little expensive but we had a hunch that it was going to be good.

Not only was it good it was probably my favorite moment of the whole trip. Normally groups would be 25 people or more but our tour was only 6. Our guide was funny and very easy going so we all had a great time hanging out on top of the cathedral.

Without fail there is always some sort of restoration going on.





Below this cross is where they would burn the clothes and other belonging of people who had died of the plague. Probably stemming from this is the practice that those who complete the Camino de Santiago burn the clothes that they wore after they are finished.

Notice how gigantic the chimney is on the left. It was once a sign of wealth in the city. A big chimney meant that you had a big kitchen and that you and your family ate well.

This was our last day with Alyssa before she took off on a plane to Ireland early the next day.


On the roof looking at the back of the facade.

On the ground looking up at the facade.

Just down the road we found some nice open park area and a school on a hill.

The weather really cleared up!

Then we came back around and got a nice far away view of the cathedral.




I leave you with one of my favorite shots of (once again) the cathedral. You can see a couple pilgrims resting on the steps.

Next up....more good weather and La Coruña!



2 comments:

~MOM~ June 4, 2011 at 9:50 AM  

Hello Jordan and Sarah, love your pictures. Now I see my favorite ones in a frame on my wall. :) Thank you for keeping up the blog. I enjoy it very much. Love you.

grandma duyst June 5, 2011 at 1:38 PM  

Grandpa looked at these on Sat. with your mom so today was my turn. Its truly amazing how you and Sarah have been able to see all this history. They are fantastic pictures. You both are looking so European. Thanks for getting this blog together.

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