Let's cut to the old proverbial chase here for a minute, huh? Blah blah blah, we went to Spain. Blah blah blah the car was stick-shift, blah blah blah we drove around a bit, and blah blah blah, I haven't written about it in awhile...
Are we caught up yet?
One of my favorite parts of the entire trip was the day we went to Santiago de Compostela (Thursday for those keeping track at home). We left early, and sans Chris (he didn't want to "drive," or "travel," or "see things" I guess...) and, thanks to my good thinking, parked about 30 miles outside of the city (it was the first parking garage I saw).
Part of my obsession with Spain revolves around the fantasy of one day walking the Camino de Santiago from France through Spain and ending up in (obviously) Santiago. It looks amazing, and seems like it has about as much to do with religion as anything else in Europe does, which is to say "loosely tied to the idea of, but not really only about" which makes it safe for a nice, well meaning Atheist like myself to experience. Which is to say, I could totally see myself doing it one day with out the fear of "finding god" but with the hopes of "finding myself" along the way.
Anyhoo, neither here nor there, it's just an interesting aspect to the history of Santiago that it's the final destination to one of the most famous and still-used pilgrims trails in the world. The history of Santiago is fascinating and definitely worth looking into if that's your sort of thing, but it's not why we're gathered here today.
We are gathered here today to mostly (I assume) look at pictures and maybe have a retort or witty comment from yours truly (maybe not so much of the latter as the former, but you're going to get them anyways.)
So here's some pictures!
These are big business in Santiago, and I already opened with the Spongebob one, so here's some others:
These are just a few of the hundreds, but you get the idea...
Now here's some of the town and the cathedral. The cathedral was spectacular, but we got there right as a massive Mass was being held (remember we were there during a holy holiday with the Pope in the country and people were feeling extra Catholic-y) so we snapped a couple of pics and ran into the more comfortable Heathen-y parts of town, but there wasn't a nook nor a cranny that wasn't adorable or photo-worthy... Really, it's just one of those towns that begs to be photographed, although now that I'm back home and learning about photography I can see that almost everyone of these pictures is underexposed, and sure I could fix it in post (as they say) but where's the eventually-embarrassing fun in that?
Anyways, here she is, in all her slightly underexposed glory: Santiago de Compostela.
And of course there's the surrounding 50,000 year-old town along with it's many restaurants...
I liked the idea of this one, but no one would go in with me, they serve one thing, and one thing only. Wanna guess what it is?
And we got our first (waaaay too expensive, plus Chris wasn't there, so we didn't get them) glimpse of:
And then there's the famous:
If you've read John Barlow's book Everything But The Squeal (if you haven't, you should, it might plant a Galician yearning in you like it did me) there's a whole chapter on Santiago, and this is the place he describes where he watches the lady make the empanada. I really wanted to eat here but the place was packed, and everyone was too hungry to wait...
So we ended up at a nice little corner restaurant down the alley and saw they offered another one of the other reasons I wanted to go to Galicia from John Barlow's book, Caldo.
I've had every version I could get my hands on here in New York, and while most of them have been excellent, and most of them probably much more refined, this caldo, with the grelos, a green that is unique to this part of the world (I think?) gives it an Earthy bitter-green flavor that I've not come across with any other version I'd tried. This, again though, is another example of the oft repeating theme in our trip to Galicia in the end of August, was a case of "I wish it were Autumn."
Even as I sit here writing this in January, I'd trade just about any food in my fridge for a nice hot bowl of this stew/soup (a "stoup" I believe it's referred to as according to whomever came up with it for Ray Ray?).
Oh well, it was just as authentically Galician as I could hope to find in a tourist-trap!
Another stalwart Spanish tapas, gambas al ajillo!
After lunch we meandered around some more and I saw this and deemed it somehow appropriately connected...
But not as nearly as near or dear to my heart as my favorite:
God, I love a good graffiti-ed anarchy sign... I might have to start doing that myself again...
And here's some more pictures from about town...
All and all it was another magical day as far as magical days went on this trip (all of them were magic in some way) and although it wasn't as thrillingly gorgeous as Salamanca, or historically beautiful as Toledo (posts forthcoming one day, I swear!!!) I'd go back to Santiago in the same heartbeat as any place else we went on this trip. As far as Galicia goes it was for sure the crowned jewel of the trip.
That being said we never made it to A Coruna, which is supposed to be stunning as well... So I'll have to go back sometime for a side by side comparison! Next time I'll bring my new picture taking skills and maybe actually know what I'm doing a little bit more...
As far as next posts go we have only a couple left! I know I've streched this out about as far as I can without rioting and a jail sentences getting involved, but the next few posts are stunners, and if you're looking back on this post after I've written the other posts, and haven't been one of the thousands upon thousands of people waiting impatiently for every single post (or zero people... there's some room for error in the above statement) then it'll all just seem like a nice series of posts about my trip to Spain... Just don't look at the post dates!
But I'll try for sooner rather than later, and we all know how well I am at keeping blog related promises!
Anyways, ta-ta and all that stuff! Thanks fro reading!
Yours eternally as ever,