My first post Camino night was quite interruptive. At the hostel “The Last Stamp” in old town of Santiago de Compostela.
The Last Stamp faces a narrow lane just a few blocks from Santiago de Compostela Cathedral. And my bed was close to a window facing that lane. There were people singing and yelling and shouting passing in that narrow lane way all night.
Besides, the room I was in was hot and I was tempted to open a window several times during the night. A door facing bathrooms and stairs opened via a switch and closed automatically afterwards. And we were four people sleeping in close proximity.
Looking one way towards the window. My bed is bottom left. My walking boots are out there on the balcony.
A few pics out over Santiago de Compostela’s old town through those balcony windows above. 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, a drunk and obnoxious Dane arrived back at the hostel after a long night on town. He must have 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 that 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 for the location of the local supermarket at the reception.
“Why I would want to go there?” The receptionist looked almost offended. “The local market is just a block away”.
So I took the receptionist’s advice and checked out the local mercado publico.
The market was in a lovely spot with food being beautifully presented. Yet, there was only one place to have a feed from what I could tell.
The Santiago de Compostela Cathedral has two daily pilgrim masses. There is a day mass at 12pm and a night mass at 7.30pm.
My pilgrim companions and I arrived well in time for the 12pm mass. The reason was to get good seats underneath for where the botafumerio would swing. If it would swing. A few photos while waiting for the action:
This is how the cathedral’s ceiling looked like. Something to hold up the bucket during botafumeiro.
It looked like the Cathedral has some VIP seating. My guess is that the benches were not for the great unwashed pilgrims.
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. I counted 13 in total. Yes, not all confession booths are visible in the picture below.
Lots of sinners in Santiago de Compostela? Or are the confession booths needed as an outcome of so many pilgrims walking the Camino? Having done a lot of thinking along the way and now feeling an urge to confess?
Is this statue inside Santiago de Compostela Cathedral depicting St James? One would assume that it is.
No question of who these are, some of my pilgrim companions. They were waiting for the mass to begin. Or more likely, they were waiting for the mass to finish. So that the swinging of the botafumeiro can begin.
The mass lasted almost an hour and no botafumeiro followed. And I don’t think that the mass improved my behaviour either. I am still a sinner. Oh well.
Lunch was on the cards after mass. We pilgrims went for one of those frozen meals that get advertised everywhere. Pasta, pizza, paella…
My fettuccine fungus was just awful. My thoughts went back to those 99 cents TV meals you can buy at Walmart and elsewhere in the US. Definitely no return business.
On my way back to the hostel, I stumbled onto a supermercado. It must have been the supermercado that the receptionist mentioned earlier today.
I forgot that Spaniards are notorious in underestimating 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 Santiago de Compostela town afterwards.
First stop was the Pilgrim House which is a supplementary entity to the Pilgrim Office. Here, pilgrims can get support and they provide some basic services for pilgrims. I picked up a self-questionnaire, with reflective pointers for anyone who finishes the Camino. I will do in the next few days.
This next picture has nothing to do with the Pilgrim Office. It provides an idea of what pilgrim memorabilia is on offer in Santiago de Compostela. There were 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.
You could see the Santiago de Compostela cathedral from various places in the park. It is so dominant on the skyline.
As a great unwashed from the street, there wasn’t much of the Parador that you could see or get access to. This is the inner courtyard via a photo through locked glass doors.
I think that the street below, Rua de Carretas, is where the Pilgrim Office will move to. It appeared that the whole street is currently being dug up. The photo is from outside the parador of Santiago de Compostela.
At around 6.45pm, I popped into the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral again. I noticed many more pilgrims and others congregate for good seats for the 7.30pm mass than for the midday mass. This made me decide that I must see the botafumeiro. I could not miss it.
So I stayed through a second mass in one single day. That is something that I can say has never happened before in my life.
And for the second time today, or even the third time, somebody has taken a dislike to me and what I do.
- I mentioned the intoxicated Dane arriving back at the hostel early this morning
- I sense that the young girl who has the opposite bed at the hostel, has also taken a negative view of me. She seems to sleep more than she is awake and she is not a happy camper
- And now, inside the cathedral, the bloke to the right of me tells me that I am speaking too loud. I was chatting to a French pilgrim who sat to the left 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 botafumeiro?
You bet it was. It was quite a spectacle, a moving spectacle, and I will let the photos do the talking here. Yes, I snapped a lot of pictures from it all.
And then it was all over. End of swinging.
Watching the smoking and swinging botafumeiro high up in the cathedral was definitely a moving spectacle. I felt quite blown away with it all and how can you then top that?
So I decided to return to the hostel afterwards and have some supermercado items for dinner. The botafumeiro felt like an appropriate conclusion to the Camino. Although I will still be in Santiago de Compostela for another day and a half…