Saturday, 26 October 2013

Santiago de Compostela, Spain: The Cathedral of St James

Following a long bus ride I was in Santiago de Compostela. Santiago is very famous around the Christian world. It is the end of the Camino and the 3rd most visited pilgrim destination after Rome and Jerusalem (the 4th is la Mont Saint Michel from a previous blog post). Why? A Cathedral, still why? This part I actually didn't know until I arrived. So I also wondered why people walk hundreds of kilometres for weeks on the famous Camino trails to visit this particular cathedral. It is the cathedral (and resting place) of St James. James who? Jesus had 12 disciples/apostles, 3 of which (Peter, John and James) are held in much higher regard than the rest. So this is apparently the same James that was a very close friend and witnessed the resurrection of Jesus... I'm agnostic and very open minded so enough preaching. This city is impressive regardless of religious beliefs.

I arrived late at night with no accommodation and it was pouring rain. The bus station was warm and had WiFi so I made myself comfortable planning to stroll and book at a hostel down the road. The rain wasn't letting up and I was getting sleepy so I decided to sleep in the bus station... then the bus station closed so the street it was. For some reason I know dark corners are a preferred spot for us guys to relieve ourselves when public toilets are lacking so I chose a spot with a little distance. Playing sleep roulette didn't work for the first time but I was actually excited to try sleeping in the street in a foreign country. I put my valuables in my inside pockets and fell asleep holding my pocket knife.

When I awoke I ate a much needed breakfast before strolling around the streets and visiting the square in front of the Cathedral. Although it was now late October the city was full of people that had just walked the Camino. The most common is a 800km walk from St Jean Pied de Port in France. I felt like an imposter walking around with my backpacks and sleeping bag. It was a little embarrassing saying I arrived by bus.

I soon found a very central hostel and booked for 2 nights. I slept before meeting up with a girl from CS at 100 Montaditos, a chain of bars that will make many more appearances in my blog.

The next day I met another CS girl, Isa, for a coffee and a tour. She was very cool and interesting. When we ordered coffee 3 complimentary plates of food were dumped in front of us. This is the real Spain! After an afternoon siesta back at the hostel it was time to meet up with 2 Swiss girls and a Chinese guy all studying Spanish... I took them to 100 Montaditos where 500ml glasses of beer and plates of food are 1 Euro on Wednesdays... today just happened to be Wednesday.

An 8 Euro table of beer and food
The next day I booked one more night in the hostel due to terrible weather then I met back up with Isa for an amazing lunch at her place. She is a Spanish teacher of English (difficult to not make this ambiguous, Spanish English teacher), an artist and a traveller. She offered for me to come to her class in  the evening for her adult  students to meet a native English speaker... it would have been fun but I declined due to time constraints.

That night I decided to mingle with the hostel crowd instead of locals. After 4 months of travelling this was my first card game drinking session in a hostel on this trip. There were 2 Israeli guys, an American girl, a German girl and a Kiwi guy. The Kiwi and I taught them many of the best (aka worst) sayings from downunder. The Israelis arrived in my dorm the same day as me so we were already good mates. One was nicknamed "Cuts", after a few drinks I kept accidentally adding an "n" somewhere in the middle of his name. He liked it and it caught on amongst the group. "Cu#ts" was a pretty cool and very ripped guy. He was getting very friendly with the American girl and showing her the veins on his forearms. I told him I had more veins on a part of my body, that coincidentally happened to be the singular opposite to his new nickname, and offered to show... he wasn't too sure what to say but eventually declined. Everyone else had a good laugh.

The next morning I wasn't sure whether to go west, east or south. I lined up a couch for one night in Vigo so south it was!

Next stop Vigo.


  1. Keep up the posts Trent. Your are not missing anything too exciting in Brisbane.

  2. Thanks Angus, maybe just the storms by all the facebook statuses.