Visiting Santiago de Compostella
|Bus group assembles in Noia|
|The mayor and tour guides|
When we arrived in Noia, the Mayor of the town came out to greet us and we enjoyed a walking tour of the historic parts of the once-walled town, which are being revived. The main church was interesting but the old church which has been turned into a museum, was more interesting. It houses the engraved stone slabs that once adorned the graves of important people. We discovered hundreds more stacked up outside.
The new graveyard, like all modern graveyards in Galicia that we saw, has tombs stacked reminiscent of large ornate filing cabinets. A bit eerie, but well maintained. We were told about the mariner's camino and given a clam shell to wear around our necks. Pilgrims walking the sanctioned camino wear a scallop shell and follow the scallop shells embedded in walls along the many routes. Apparently, the old route from Noia is no longer recognized as official.
|The Cathedral at Santiago|
Santiago was interesting but, as I said many times, I was glad we hadn't walked 300 miles or more to get there. The crowds were astounding. The tourist shops overwhelming. The cathedral front was being restored and covered in scaffolding. The pilgrim's Mass at noon was jammed to capacity and we had to stand despite having arrived early per instructions. The queue to visit the statue of St James was appallingly long so we only went to see the tomb in the underground passage which was easy and interesting. We left before the very end of the Mass and heard later that they swung the incense burner after all.
The cathedral itself is devoid of much decoration except the chancel behind the altar which is distressingly ornate with gold everywhere. It really speaks to the excesses of the Catholic Church in contrast with the pilgrims, some walking barefoot to honour the Saint. I can understand the journey of self-discovery, but for it to end through ugly industrial parks on the approach to the city only to find souvenir overload and gilded standing-room-only glory is bitter sweet.
We had a nice lunch at one of the many street side tapas bars, then got on the bus with our certificates and checked Santiago off the list.
|Article about attempt to revive the camino in Dingle,|
|Iglesia de San Martiño in Noia (Noya)|
|Stone slabs in Iglesia Santa Maria Nova Museum|
|Old tomb with slab|
|Inside the church|
|Slabs in the museum|
|ICC members taking it all in.|
|The modern graveyard|
|Slabs stacked in back of the museum|
|Drunken statue in Noia|
|Arrival at the bus lot in Santiago|
|The extraordinary Parador de Santiago - Hostal Reis Catolicos|
|The central nave, altar and statue/tomb of St. James in the chancel|
|Scaffolding on the Cathedral|
|Shops sampling their wares on the streets|
|The Parador on the square across from the Cathedral|
|Pilgrims singing in the square|
|The back entrance to the cathedral|
|Wine and tapas|
|A quiet corner of Santiago|
|The main street through the old town|
|Seen from the Parador balcony|
|The old town stretching down from the central plaza|
|Street below the Parador|
|City of Culture|