Tuesday, November 6, 2007


As promised, here is the account of my weekend trip to Galicia:

We traveled overnight on Wednesday and arrived in Santiago de Compostela at 6am on Thursday, wandered through the empty streets, and arrived at the cathedral rather by accident. This cathedral is the destination of the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage route since the middle ages. We met some pilgrims in front of the cathedral that had been walking for a month. I'm not really a fan of the whole cathedral aesthetic, but this one is pretty nice. The remains of James the apostle are supposedly interred there.

We registered and dropped our stuff off at the hostel (which was adorable) and spent the day wandering around the old city (which is very small) and visiting the cultural history museum situated in this monastery. It had this really awesome triple spiral staircase, but we spend altogether too much time there. That evening we watched the sunset over a very New England landscape from the top of a hill, and it was lovely.

The next morning we got up early and rented a car (a minivan, actually) with some people we met at the hostel (I know, it sounds terrible) and drove to the western coast, the Costa de Muerte (that's right: death. It's called that because it is treacherous for ships). We stopped in a town along the way, walked up a hill to an adorable old church, and hung around while tons of old people got out of mass. Inside there was a young guy practicing church music on an electric keyboard, which I thought was sort of funny. It was on the "organ" setting, of course. We bought some fruit and vegetables at the outdoor market and drove on.

We stopped for lunch in our destination town: Cabo Finisterre (Land's End Cape). It is the westernmost point in continental Europe outside of Portugal, and it's really gorgeous. We took a hike up to the top of the hill/mountain looking for these fertility rocks that the guidebook mentions, but I'm still not sure whether we found them. There was a breathtaking view of the skinny part of the cape with the town and everything...you should look at the pictures. We watched the sunset from the lighthouse.

On Saturday we traveled by train to La Coruna, a city on the northern coast of the province. We didn't get to see much of it, but the area of the old city that we walked through was charming and there were people with very long poles fishing off the seaside path of stone. We walked along the coast to the Tower of Hercules, the oldest continuously functioning lighthouse in the world. Legend has it that it was built by Hercules himself.

Traveling that far on the ground I do not recommend. It is exhausting. Also, at least three out of the five of us got food poisoning. Immediately after getting back to Granada, we got pretty violently ill. The culprit? Probably bacon sandwiches. Horrible consequence for tastiness.