The rain in Spain falls mainly… somewhere else

Yes there was sun in northern Spain last week, oh joy. Apparently Galicia should have rain 24/7 at this time of year but we were sooooo lucky and didn’t see a drop. I had made a rendezvous with Joanne to walk part of the Camino Santiago de Compostela – neither of us had a few weeks to spare for the whole thing, but we could manage a few days to spend on the last section. There are loads of websites about this but basically it has been a pilgrimage route for hundreds of years, and still is.

We started at Cruz de Ferro and walked through sierras decorated with wind turbines – lots of wind turbines.

Wind turbines
Wind turbines

Joanne had come all the way from Sydney so it was very disappointing that she had an accident on day 1. Thank goodness I had some first aid training. We spent the evening in casualty and I could not believe it when she was wheeled from the treatment room with TWO bandaged legs: stitches in the right knee and a sprained left ankle.

God claims his first pilgrim!
God claims his first pilgrim!

Being a well-adjusted sort of person she decided that she would simply have a different sort of trip – relaxing and reading. She travelled by bus and taxi and I was fortunate to meet a Canadian surgeon who walked at my pace and was interesting to talk to. It would be tough to get lost because there are lots of waymarks ranging from yellow painted arrows to various representations of the pilgrims’ badge of the cockle shell

one of many varieties of waymark
one of many varieties of waymark

I tried hard not to be a history bore but collected many photos of identikit mediaeval chapels like this one:

P1010800

One of the best preserved villages is the tiny O Cebreiro which is a must-see if you are in the area; some of its buildings are thatched in direct descent from bronze age huts.

After a week’s walking (max was only 15 miles per day) we made it to Monte de Gozo, the Mount of Joy, where pilgrims got their first site of the cathedral shrine that was their goal. I was looking forward to a good view but what an anti-climax! We could see suburbs, but the towers were hidden by a bunch of trees to which somebody needs to take a chainsaw. There is only an ugly monument (and a chapel of course) and not even a cafe – the rest of the route is well supplied with cafes and bars, very civilised.

The old city of Santiago is delightful and would make a good weekend trip from the UK. Lots of history, but also amazing architecture, great bars, amazing cake shops and some really top class seafood restaurants. And here is the goal of the Camino:

Santiago Cathedral
Santiago Cathedral

Originally C12th Romanesque, the baroque facade changed the cathedral’s exterior character entirely. Inside the simple lines remain with the exception of the sanctuary which is wonderfully tastelessly baroqued with masses of gilded angels.

A view from the roof
A view from the roof

PS Here’s one for Terry:

Hi Kats!!!
Hi Kats!!!

8 thoughts on “The rain in Spain falls mainly… somewhere else”

  1. Firstly, I think your Australian friend was lucky to get out of the hospital with just two bandages. From the look of the hatches in the red panel behind her it looks like they had her in the “cold storage area”.

    Secondly, leave the trees alone :angry: If anything needs moving it should be the buildings :geek: (We don’t have a tree-hugger smiley so geek will have to do.)

  2. Fantastic report. Poor Joanne, but I’m glad you found someone to walk with.
    Lovely blue skies… ah, I remember those, I think.

    Obviously all the cakes were eaten before you could take a photo ❗ ❓

  3. good trip Anna sorry about joanne. Must be good to see the sun and blue skies for that long
    The pilgrimage starts at St guilhem Le Desert 10 km nth of our village so there is chance to do the first bit also when you are ready, PS The true pilgrims walk in leather sandels but lots of cake on the way

  4. So are you near Roncesvalles? There are several starts depending on whether you are French/Spanish/Portuguese and it’s arguable that one could begin at Canterbury if you are English – now that would eb a walk!!

    Btw, when is there to be a meet chez vous??

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