Travel-Bug Tales: Hugging Saint James in Santiago de Compostela, Spain!
|At Cafe Casino.....|
|Art hanging across the walls of Cafe Casino...|
|Paella galore....seafood pasta paella!|
|Judita and me at Cafe Casino....|
|Modern chairs mixed with old library charm....Cafe Casino.|
|Cafe Casino....Santiago de Compostela, Spain.|
First stop, after arriving in Santiago de Compostela and being united with Judita was of course a good place for lunch! So we discovered 'Cafe Casino' museo desde 1873. Originally a hiding place for men with their cigars in old styled smoking rooms...the vintage charm was evident, and you could just imagine my delight as we entered the doors to this charming place! A magical blend of beautiful antique library charm with a slight art gallery appeal of hanging canvases and glaring modern spot lights mingling with ornate sparkling 19th century chandeliers...in other words a stunning place to enjoy a lovely afternoon meal or coffee whilst waiting for the rain to pass. Sitting down on a pretty floral sofa in the ornate wooden paneled room, I felt I should have dressed in my full 1920s regalia...as it was almost like having a momentary glimpse into the Downton Abbey drawing room. With grumbling tummies I ordered my very first pasta seafood paella whilst Judita opted for a normal rice paella, and occupied ourselves by snapping away with our cameras. The pasta paella scattered with a generous helping of calamari was indeed very tasty...little did I know it was the beginning of a calamari journey for me, as I was to have calamari at least once a day for the whole of my trip! We followed the delightful Spanish ensemble with some tea and a piece of the famous Santiago tart...which is a crumbly sweet cake filled with nuts and sprinkle with a sugary topping. With our tummies fueled, we gradually dragged ourselves away from the comfy floral sofa and ventured out into the puddled wet streets in search for a UNESCO gem.
[To find out more about 'Cafe Casino', please click on the link: www.cafecasino.es]
|'Aarrrgh...a door for giants!' (St James Cathedral)|
|UNESCO protected Saint James Cathedral, Santiago de Compostela, Spain.|
|Judita and me outside the UNESCO listed Cathedral....|
|Saint James Cathedral, Santiago de Compostela, Spain.|
Unlike our last travel adventure, there were no confessions of love from strangers on a Portuguese balcony this time...but I think I might have deterred a friendly attempt to establish new connections whilst waiting in a queue to hug the statue of the Apostle Saint James in the UNESCO listed Saint James Cathedral! [To find out more about the famous Camino pilgrimage or Saint James Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, please click on the link: en.wikipedia.org/Way_of_St._James] Besides paying respects to the underground room where the remains of Saint James is believed to lay, visitors could also go for mass, confessions in several languages and even hug the golden statue of Saint James enshrined right in the middle of the great Cathedral. As we dutifully followed other visitors in lining up towards a short narrow pathway of stairs, the tanned Mediterranean toned man with silky long locks of curls behind me began by asking; 'Where are you from?' I whispered a brief answer and he proceeded to ask questions as I followed the steps...before I knew it, Judita (who was in front) had hugged Saint James and was walking toward the exit steps. Turning abruptly away from the question and staring at the golden Saint James in a slight bit of panic, I had sharply gasped Judita's name to plead for instructions....a little embarrassed that I had been distracted in a queue of a holy place whilst everyone stared on to see what caused the small commotion. Judita whispered; 'Hug Saint James and kiss the shell on each shoulder!' Staring back at the golden Saint James and feeling still a little embarrassed, I whispered a quick; 'Hello I'm May, and I hope you don't mind me hugging you!' Then I hugged Saint James. As I filtered through the exiting steps, we almost burst out in whispered giggles...with me realising my silliness and Judita thinking how profoundly unbelievable that I was going to be chatted up in a holy place by a stranger!
|The Camino Office where pilgrims can get their final stamp and certificate for completing the journey!|
|An old style hat shop....love those red hat boxes!|
|Can you spot the tourist and the Camino pilgrim?|
Next, we did a spot of shopping in the nearby shops around the Cathedral, where we discovered a little jewellery shop sandwiched between some souvenir shops. Browsing the many sparkly colours of earrings, pendants, necklaces and bracelets that were affordable as well as pretty, we decided to pick something to commemorate our special trip to Santiago de Compostela. The scallop shell being a mythical symbol of the Camino's pilgrims through history could be seen everywhere, from souvenir shops to murals around the old city and the golden statue of Saint James within the Cathedral. Secretly I was pleased to see it, as it reminded me of my favourite decade again...the 1920s and I almost settled on a pair of blueish green enameled scallop shell-shaped studs, but alas it was to be a different pair as I fell in love with these silver oval shaped dangles adorned with intricate patterns and what looked like my favourite crystal...the blue topaz. Perhaps it was meant to be, as I would have felt like a cheat otherwise...not having walked the miles of the Camino in order to earn the symbolic scallop shell! But even with that I was very lucky as Judita tried to console me; 'It doesn't matter, as I have walked the miles for you too!' Feeling utterly blessed it didn't matter if I had the scallop shell or not, and I left the little shop a very happy girl with my lovely blue topaz earrings. So that ended the first day of our trip in Spain with some smiles and warmth. Hopefully you have enjoyed this post...more to come, is part two of our adventure in the seaside town of A Coruna, Spain! Last but not at the very least, I wish all you lovely darlings a fabulous rest of the week!
Until the next time,
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