The Camino left a lot of us tired and worn-down. Now, many of us, including me, are fighting illness here in Santiago. As goes the saying, “The Camino never ends.” Well, neither does life. Even though we’re sick, we are still enjoying our time here in Santiago. It’s a city with so much to do, so many people to meet, and so much history to uncover. I’ve tried to take in as much of the city as possible, meet new people, and learn new things, but there’s still so much left out there that is yet to be discovered. Today, I was reminded of that fact.
My buddy Quint (who has become one of my closest friends) and I just started walking around with no particular destination in mind. As we wandered further and further away from the parts of Santiago that we frequent, we discovered a beautiful park that neither of us had ever seen (or at least, noticed). We walked through the park and just enjoyed the peace and tranquility—a big chance from the fast-paced and noisy city. But this was just the beginning of the beauty we found there. Both of us stopped all of the sudden and let out a sigh as we peaked a hill. In front of us was a gorgeous view of a part of Santiago we had never seen. Houses, pastures, trees, and other beauty filled the valley in front of us, while mountains and a beautiful sun served as an incredible backdrop for the valley.
We sat in relative silence for a couple hours just taking in enjoying the peace and beauty of it all.
Like I said before, it reminded me of all that is left in Santiago that we have yet to experience and enjoy. Moreover, all that is left in the world to experience and enjoy.
“The Camino never ends.”
We began today with class as usual. In my class we talked a lot about different types of seafood, which made me crave it. Apparently the seafood here is supposed to be delicious and I’m surprised that we haven’t tried as much of it yet. I’ll definitely have to put it on my Santiago bucket list to try some navajas (razor clams) as recommended by my teacher, Amanda.
We had nothing planned from Iria-Flavia for the afternoon, but Dr. Talbot had gotten us tickets to go and see el Portico de Gloria, an absolutely beautiful structure in the Cathedral de Santiago. It’s currently being reconstructed, but we were able to climb up the scaffolding, with the protection of stylish construction hats, and see it up close. It was designed and carved by the artist Miguel and it actually used to be the outside of the Cathedral. So when pilgrims would come in from the Camino and looked at the Cathedral they would see this gorgeous, colorful arch with intricate carvings of angels, saints, prophets, and Jesus. Later, an exterior was added to the Cathedral which helped with keeping the Portico free from erosion. The detail was incredible- I have absolutely no idea how someone has that much skill and patience to be able to craft something like that out of a solid piece of rock. My mind was absolutely blown at the beauty of it. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to bring cameras up onto the scaffolding so we weren’t able to get pictures but that just gives you all an excuse to go see it yourselves! It’s definitely something worth seeing.
After that, we went to the Santiago Cathedral Museum. It was really interesting. There were different floors explaining different parts of the Cathedral. I learned that there used to be a massive stone structure inside the Cathedral that was absolutely beautiful, but then torn out in the 1700’s because the style had changed and people wanted it to look more modern, so they replaced the inside with a wooden structure, which was later removed in the 1940’s because it, again, was thought to be old fashioned. It made me sad that such beautiful structures were torn down because they were though to be old fashioned and ugly. Luckily, the lowest level of the museum was dedicated to this stone structure and various pieces had been found and used to reconstruct what it would have looked like inside the Cathedral. It was really cool.
On one of the floors there was a huge open courtyard where we looked around, and then lounged in the sun for a little bit to relax.
My favorite was the highest floor, where there was an outside balcony overlooking the Plaza de Obradoiro. It was amazing to look out and see the entire plaza and the different pilgrims entering upon finishing their Camino.