Fri 23 Oct - Santiago de Compostela

My first post Camino rest was a very interruptive night at the hostel The Last Stamp in old town Santiago de Compostela. 

The Last Stamp faces a narrow lane just a few blocks from the cathedral and my bed is close to the window, albeit on 3rd floor. There were people coming and going and singing and yelling and shouting in that narrow lane way all night. 

In addition, the room I was in was very hot and I was tempted to open a window several times during the night. Too cramped with closed doors. 

One way towards the window. My bed is bottom left. 
My walking boots are out there on the balcony. 

Back the other way. My bed is now the bottom right bed. 
A few pics from our through those balcony windows. One way...
...and the other. 
Internet within the hostel was hap hazard with the best reception in the lobby. As I sat there around 6am, minding my own Internet business, a very drunk and obnoxious Dane arrived home. He had clearly been drinking all night and far more than he should. The Dane tried to get engage me in conversation, but when I ignored him, I was the most boring Swede he had ever met. Fine by me. Go pester somebody else.   

My early morning view from the lobby out onto the lane. 
Later, I asked in the reception for where the local supermarket was located. 

The receptionist looked almost offended as to "why do you want to go there?"  "The local market is just a block away". So I checked out the local mercado publico. 
The market was in a lovely spot with beautifully presented food but only one place to have a feed from what I could tell. 
Sadly, the markets had very few shoppers. 

However, these guys will cook anything that you may have bought elsewhere within the market for 4€. 
Ha, I didn't find that supermercado. Hence, I went for a desayuno deal for 4€. Coffee, fresh orange juice and a croissant just next door to The Last Stamp. 

The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela has two daily pilgrim masses. At 12pm and at 7.30pm. 

My pilgrim companions and I arrived well in time for the 12pm mass, to get good seats underneath for where the botafumerio would swing. If it would swing. 

A few photos while waiting:

This is how it looked like in the ceiling. 
VIP seating?
There were lots of confession booths inside the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. Many more than what I have ever seen in a cathedral or church. 

Lots of sinners here? 
Or are they needed as an outcome of so many pilgrims walking the way? Lots of thinking done?

There were plenty more confession booths in addition to what's in the picture below. I think I counted 13 or so in total. 
Is this statue depicting St James? One  should probably assume so. 
No question of who these are, some of my pilgrim companions. Waiting for action. 
The mass lasted almost an hour and no botafumerio. And the mass did probably not improve me. Still a sinner. Oh well. 

Lunch was on the cards afterwards and we had one of those frozen meals that get advertised everywhere. Pasta, pizza, paella... 

My fettuccine fungus was $&@&;$. 

My thoughts went to those 99 cents TV meals you can buy in the US. 
On my way back to the hostel for an afternoon siesta, I stumbled onto the supermercado that the receptionist mentioned earlier today. I forgot that Spaniards seem to always underestimate distances and the time it takes to get anywhere. I shopped a few items for breakfast the next two days. 

Siesta for an hour or so was great. I decided to take a stroll through town afterwards. 

First stop was the Pilgrim House, a supplementary entity to the Pilgrim Office where pilgrims can get support and be provided with some services. I picked up a self questionnaire, reflective pointers post finishing the Camino. Will do in the next few days. 

This next picture has nothing to do with the Pilgrim Office but it provides an idea of what pilgrim memorabilia is on offer in Santiago. There were many many more shops just like this one. 
The Parque Alameda is a wonderful park just outside the old centre of Santiago de Compostela. I strolled a lap around its edges. 
Art in Parque Alameda. 
You could see the cathedral from various places in the park. 
The footpath is wide and circles Parque Alameda. 
I picked up a set of earbuds in the shopping district of Santiago before moving on to the Parador. Very impressive door. 
As a great unwashed from the street, there wasn't much of the Parador that you could see or get to. This is the inner courtyard with a photo through locked glass doors. 
Streetscape Rua das Hortas from outside the parador. 
I think that this street, Rua de Carretas, photo also taken from outside the parador, is where the pilgrim office will move to. I have heard that the whole street is currently being dug up. 
At around 6.45pm, I popped into the Santiago de Compostela cathedral again. And as I did, and as I noticed many more pilgrims and others congregate to get good seats for the 7.30pm mass, I decided that i really really wanted to see the botafumerio. 
So I stayed through a second mass in one day. Something that I can safely say has never happened in my life before.

And for the second time today, or even third day, somebody has taken a dislike to me and what I do. 
1. I mentioned the Dane from this morning
2. I sense that the young girl in the opposite bed at the hostel, who seems to sleep more than she is awake, has also taken a negative view of me. 
3. And now, inside the cathedral, the bloke next to me tells me that I am speaking too loud as I was chatting to a French pilgrim who sat next to me. What the? He did apologize later, but what the heck?

Anyway, was it worth sitting through 2 masses in one day to see the botafumerio? You bet it was. 

I will let the photos do the talking here. It was quite a spectacle. 

The botafumerio was definitely a moving event. I felt quite blown away with it and decided to just go back to the hostel afterwards and eat some supermercado items for dinner. An alcohol free day today as well. 

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