Today was one of the most fun days that I’ve had in Santiago so far! I’m really becoming comfortable with the city, and it’s now a lot easier to find my way around. I’m really starting to enjoy the whole homestay kind of atmosphere, which I didn’t warm up to initially. But Teresa, our host, has been really wonderful to us, washing our clothes and cooking really delicious meals for Quint and me. Often, members of Teresa’s extended family come over to eat lunch, and sometimes Quint or I will eat with them, which is just another great opportunity to practice our Spanish.
Our activities today included karaoke, the pilgrimage museum, and taking a tour of the rooftops of the Cathedral of St. James! (Thanks to Dr. Talbot for posting the photos shown above.) It was truly an amazing experience, and a really good way to get a grasp on how large the cathdral actually is. It was a breathtaking moment when we were standing on near the statue of St. James and the bells began to toll. The bell tower wasn’t more than twenty yards from us, so as you can imagine, the sound was extremely powerful, and I think quite impressive to all of us. It makes me think of the awe that the people must have felt back in times long ago when they visited the cathedral, when such buildings were fewer and farther between. Tomorrow we get to go up onto the scaffolding inside the church to see the Pórtico de la Gloria. We’ll go up in two groups of eight, wearing hard hats and seeing a part of the Cathedral that we will likely never have the chance to see again from the same point of view. So everybody keep your eyes peeled for more fascinating blog post about that.
After the tour, we split up as usual, and I ended up having dinner at the pleasantest little café you ever saw. Laura and I were looking for Mediterranean food, which we couldn’t find, but we saw that this café had a Mediterranean burger. I did not order it, but I did order the Paris burger, which was an ox burger on top of fancy European bread with a massive pile of bacon and queso azul. ¡Qué fancy! After dinner, we had café con leche, (coffee with steamed milk, we all drink it often) and with traditional Spanish hospitality, the proprietors invited us to have a free shot of coffee liquor with our café. Apparently, it’s both popular in Galicia and culturally significant.
I’m very excited about our excursion to Pórtico de la Gloria, and there’s been some talk of heading to the discoteca on Friday night. It’s a classic Spanish experience, but I’m just not sure if I’m hardcore enough to do it properly. Miguel, Teresa’s son, told Quint and me that most discotecas don’t open their doors until three or so in the morning. So we’ll see about that… A siesta (or two) may be necessary. =D
Anyway, Mom, Dad, Dwayne, Jane, Will, and Victoria: I miss and love you guys! I hope that y’all are having awesome summers, and I can’t wait to tell you all about my experiences when I get back!