Friday, September 09, 2005

Santiago de Compostela and Laundry

The alarm went of at 7am yesterday and it honestly seemed like the middle of the night to me! It was still not light, there was an autumnal chill to the air, and surely I hadn't had 8 hours sleep? How on earth did I ever get up at 6 every morning? Seems like a lifetime away. Anyway, we dragged ourselves out of bed for a quick shower and then hot-footed it to the bus station. Sta Eugenia de Riviera, which is where we are staying, is in a bay on the west bank of the Ria Arosa. Santiago is about an hour and a half away on the bus and it is over on the east side of the Ria. I shan't bore you with the history of the place suffice to say that it is the capital of Galicia and is a place of pilgrimage for Catholics all over the world. Santiago means St James in Spanish and (am I boring you?) many, many years ago, St James' remains were said to have been found nearby under a patch of sky with many bright stars, hence 'Compostela' meaning field of stars (that's just one of the explanations). Anyway, shameful to say that we were ignorant of all these facts yesterday morning but the pilot guide we have been using strongly recommended we visited and showed a picture of the cathedral there! It looked interesting and as the laundry was still in the process of being cleaned (the dirt being VERY ingrained!) and we had explored all there was to see in Riviera, we decided we had nothing better to do. We caught the bus in the nick of time and had a nauseatingly twisty-turney trip there through some pretty areas. On entering the city I began to prepare myself for disappointment and regret for unnecessary sacrifice of my lie-in. It seemed very ordinary, but I always forget that on approaching a place you invariably seem to see the worst parts (I should remember that having lived on the A4!) The bus dropped us about a mile from the centre, and during our walk to the old city we quickly became enchanted with the place so that by the time we reached the cathedral we were in raptures!

Every street was more interesting or prettier than the last and we found ourselves getting excited about what might be round the next corner! Cheesy, but true! It's amazing how a place can go from appearing utterly soulless to inspirational in a matter of yards, and the fact that it confounds your expectations makes it all the more enjoyable. It reminded me of places like Siena and Bruges and York, but we all know how beautiful those places are, and I had barely heard of Santiago. Anyway, as is always the case, the photos don't do it justice and will fail to move you in any way, so if you get the chance.....

We returned in the evening to clean laundry - the perfect end to the perfect day!

Woke to heavy rain and strong winds this morning so currently weather bound but hopefully not for long. Plan to sail south to some beautiful islands called the Islas Cies, near Bayona, and then it's a short hop to Portugal (well it looks like that on the chart!).


marc said...

It's great to see you too having such a great time.

Love Marc

marc said...

Please note that I will be posting deliberate grammatical errors so that you can correct them and there by keep your teachy skills up to speed.