Day 19 – Santiago, Spain

Friday July 14, 2017

After a leisurely breakfast, we ventured out into the streets of Santiago.   it was a typically comfortable, cool, morning but it quickly became a warm, sunny, summer day in Santiago.   Santiago de Compostela is a relatively small city with a population of nearly 95,000 people and almost 200,000 in the metropolitan area.

We spent an hour at the cathedral museum, after which Pete & Kathy attended the pilgrim’s mass and I had a cappuccino while I watched the people milling about.   I saw numerous Camino pilgrims enter the area as they reached their final destination.  Some of the pilgrim groups were singing in celebration.

July 25th is St James day and the preparations have begun for the celebrations.  A large stage has been set up in one of the courtyards and the fireworks have started.   I saw some heavily armed police officers wandering around the outside of the cathedral, most likely checking things out in preparation for the  upcoming celebrations.

After lunch we visited another museum and we also saw some very large groups of young pilgrims arrive, who looked like they were part of a school group.  They had some flags but we weren’t able to identify from where they had come.

Later on, as we were being serenaded by violin music at an outdoor restaurant,  we talked to a pilgrim who was a young automotive engineering student from Germany who had just completed the 800 km ( 500 mile ) hike from France.  It had taken him 2 months to complete and he was heading to the beach in Majorca for a week of rest and relaxation before going back home.   We also talked to a couple from Austria, who were in Santiago as part of a 2 week bus tour.

It has been interesting meeting people from different countries and finding out a bit about them.

On our way back to the hotel we saw several entertainers in the streets and when we reached the park, we had a wonderful view of the cathedral.  Recent renovations on the cathedral started in 2013 and are expected to be completed in 2021.

We will be leaving Santiago with mixed feelings.