Travel-Bug Tales: Hugging Saint James in Santiago de Compostela, Spain!

At Cafe Casino.....
As some of you lovely darlings may know, every year my dear friend Judita and I do a trip or two somewhere....and this time we decided on Spain for a special reason. The highlight of our visit to Santiago de Compostela was....receiving a certificate in Latin commending the worthwhile efforts of completing the Camino (for Judita), and seeing the very very old Saint James Cathedral as well as finding a pretty pair of silver blue topaz earrings (for me). You see...Judita's reason was much more noble as she spent a total of 3 calming weeks walking about 25 kilometres a day in order to reach the Cathedral, whereas I just sort of flew into Santiago de Compostela to meet and cheer for her in a congratulations for reaching your personal goal kind of way. But I was proud of her for enduring the very heavy 10 kg backpack, which I would not have the faintest clue how to lift, and enduring the daily long I was happy to cheat my way there. The weather was not as lovely as we had hoped with some breezy drizzles of rain and cloud. Nevertheless, we always have so much fun laughing together that by the time we part we will be longing for our next adventure!

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 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 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:]

'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:] 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 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,
May xx

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  1. Nice choice with Spain! U girls must be falling in love with it cos i did when i was there the last time. Have the best fun & food there dear. I enjoy paellas too!! u shud visit the cathedrals too. really fascinating.

  2. Ahhh Spain is so beautiful! I love that you and your friend do this all the time, what a fantastic idea. You have really made me want to visit Spain, the architecture looks beautiful and the food so delicious...the mussles in that paella...mmm!!!

  3. It sounds like you had a lovely trip, May! And my congratulations to Judita for completing the camino, I'm sure it's an exhausting but very rewarding experience - although one I doubt I could do, because I couldn't even lift the backpack to get started :)

  4. What a wonderful trip you ladies certainly know how to have a good time, the restaurant looks utterly amazing and your experience with St James made me chuckle, I can't wait to hear more!! Oh and a massive well done to Judita for her mammoth achievement! xx

  5. oh, i've always dreamed of going to Spain! you're so lucky to be there lades!! and way to go Judita!! what a long trek, i sure would think twice before taking something like that on but admire the folks that do. um, i'm more a fly to get there kind girl too May :) great photos, i love all the grand architecture. just stunning! ♥


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~Thank you. I love hearing from you and appreciate every beautiful comment. Thank you for walking with me friend.....may your path always be auspicious!

With Loving Kindness,
♥ May xx

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