Once my gracious hosts, Isabel and José, picked me up from the airport they told me our first stop was going to be the old city of Santiago. What an incredible little place! This place has so much rich history! Camino de Santiago or The Way of St. James refers to the pilgrimage routes that lead to the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great (which is located exactly where I was! :D). This place attracts people from all over the world. The coolest part is people still do the pilgrimage route today. They say some people do it for religious penance, some do it for spiritual cleansing, and others do it simply for adventure. The most popular trail is from France, but some do it from other parts of Spain. Whichever route they take, I give these people major props. I'd actually like to do it some day. There are spots you stop along the way and people stamp your book to prove that you completed the whole trail. You know you've identified the "walkers" when you see people with large backpacks at the cathedral. Every time their spotted, people erupt with cheers and applause. Very cool.
This cathedral is absolutely stunning!! The architecture is ridiculous and everything about it is just beautiful. I've included pictures below
Isabelle and Jose's home in Galicia is gorgeous and has the most amazing view. Galicia is definitely a lot greener than Madrid . Though the weather was a lot cooler/cloudier than Madrid, I welcomed the change. It was great to see another area of Spain. Another difference was the language. I was just starting to improve my Spanish when everyone here speaks the Spanish dialect of Gallego. :O lol but it was interesting to hear a new language. During my stay, I was taken to beautiful beaches, historical sites, and simply unbeatable views throughout the coast. This is also a fisherman place, so needless to say, I ate ALOT of seafood, trying many things for the first time! Goose barnacles? Yep. It sounded a lot lovelier in Spanish and I decided not to ask WHAT I was eating before I tried it to ensure that I would indeed try EVERYTHING lol
One of the epic places we went to was a little ways from the house. We needed to drive on a windy road... on a cliff ... in the fog ... Oh and did I mention all of the streets are built for one way traffic? Lol it was a little terrifying but the pace in this "pueblo" is very slow so I was just praying that there wasn't a careless driver coming in the opposite direction! But when we got to the top of the mountain I understood why I was brought to this wonderful little place. San Andreas de Teixido. It is a sanctuary dedicated to Saint Andrew. It is at the foot of the Atlantic Ocean and actually located on the highest cliffs of Europe. Isabel and Jose told me that I absolutely needed to visit this temple. The Galician legend says that if you do not visit it once in your life, you MUST visit it after death. Furthermore, you must drink from the fountain called the "Power of Three Pipes", which I did! Lol
I was lucky enough to experience two festivals during my stay as well. First, after meeting Isabel's wonderful family, we all took a walk to watch the festival of the Virgen Del Carmen, which is the sailors patron saint. During our short walk to the harbor, I saw families dressed to the nines and bars packed with people. Everybody (and I mean EVERYBODY) waits excitedly at the dock for her statue to arrive via a large boat. Her boat is preceded by a few other boats. A loud siren goes off as she is hoisted off the crane. There, a number of men are waiting to carry her a few blocks down. As she is being carried through the streets, dancers dressed in all white are leading the procession. At the location where the Virgen del Carmen statue is placed, these dancers perform a traditional Spanish dance.
The other festival I saw was the Ortiguera Festival. The music performed here is Celtic folk. Though I am not a fan of this genre of music, I genuinely enjoy music festivals and am always down to try something new. My week here ended with a relaxing Saturday night, enjoying cheese and wine while watching one of my favorite movies, Pretty Woman .... in ENGLISH!!
My takeaway from Galicia: the people are super friendly, the food is incredible, the beaches are gorgeous, and the views everywhere are exceptional.
Views from the casa
San Andres de teixido