Santiago-going-gone…

Posted by jswt | Posted in General, Spain - San Sebastian, Spain - Santiago de Compostela | Posted on 25-04-2010

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[Note – pix to follow – USB cable in checked baggage… doht]

Currently on an 11 hour train ride from Santiago de Compostela, along the north coast of Spain towards the final city this trip: San Sebastian.

Had a pretty fantastic week in Santiago though… The weather was nasty a few days which I took to lock myself indoors and catch up on work, but luckily the nice ones overlapped with Chris’ days off so we got to wander the city by day and go out at night.

Santiago’s centred around this massive stunning cathedral in the centre of town that’s unlike any other ones I’ve seen – it’s stone, but instead of looking carved from the earth, it looks like it’s of the earth itself. This cathedral is the final destination for a 30-40 day, 100km+ pilgrimage across Spain, so there’s a constant stream of eccentric and well worn travellers wandering into and trough town – my favourite was the surfer dude walking along with his donkey carrying his packs along a busy street.

The town is a university town, so there’s a huge young chunk of the population here to get educated and party, and it lent itself to a really neat nightlife in the old town. All of these tight mazes of streets come alive at night, and you find at least one bar on pretty much every block. The bars are small, and with that many people out, people just pour out into the street with their drinks chatting and being merry. The density and intensity of the partying was kind of unlike anywhere else I’d been – such a great and accessible nightlife that just lets you wander from bar to bar to bar popping into the ones that sound fun or that ya like the look of the crowd in the street our front.

During the day the old town’s windy roads made for good wandering, lunching, snacking and shopping. At one point we somehow ended up trapped and thought we could cut through a building under construction to get out the other side. No one stopped us from going in, so we just started wandering through this ancient giant building. Of course, even though we’re both normally pretty good with directions, we got even more lost than we started. After finding our way out of the maze of classrooms and halls and strangeness in the basement, we got back to the front desk, where the attendant who should have told us not to come in had returned from her break. We explained we were lost, and needed to find an exit and she laughed and started leading us down a hall and explained that the building was the second largest monastery in Santiago and is being renovated. She turned to go back to work and said the exit was straight ahead, but we couldn’t find it… ended up going even deeper into the monastery to a private square with a fountain, residential quarters and maintained gardens. We finally ended up having to pick a lock on a giant 30ft tall wooden door to escape. Interesting wander that it’s unlikely most people get the chance to see.

Otherwise, a pretty standard week… we both worked, wandered when we had the chance, ate together when we had the chance, and just continued loving the relaxed pace here and the feeling of getting two days in one… “I love it here” was repeated more than a few times 😛

Heard good things about San Sebastian, and looking forward to exploring it and maybe even getting some beach time if the weather holds (fingers crossed)…

Ciao!

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