Catedral de Santiago de Compostela is the alleged burial site of the Biblical apostle St. James and the final destination for all those that have walked the camino since the 9th century. The cathedral, which houses a shrine to Saint James was built upon his tomb and consecrated in 1211. With its hand sculpted facades, tall decorative towers and its imposing weathered-stone exterior it was quite the quiet the sight to see.
Mind you, there was some scaffolding in the way.
Nonetheless it was a very impressive building. A peek inside offered me a glimpse at the shrine. It’s very gold.
The surrounding city was just as captivating and I spent a good few hours wandering its streets. A music festival in a park caught my ear and I couldn’t resist but stay for a couple of drinks. I found a comfy spot in a low slung tree to enjoy the music, taking my leave when day turned to dusk.
The next morning, less than an hour’s ride south-west of Santiago, I was once again surrounded by sunny Spanish countryside.
Today’s riding would be wonderful. There was more downs than ups, which when it comes to hills is a good thing. Trees were plenty, offering me lots of shade and by the early afternoon, just in time for a siesta, I would reach the sea.
Music festivals must have been a thing this weekend. Because the campsite I picked after cycling later that evening also had a party. A party that continued until 4:30 AM. I can tell you so because I was awake the whole time. Four and a half hours later some of our camping neighbors decided quiet time was over and very courteously set off some fireworks. There’s nothing like a bang to start your day.
I was a little tired, and likely a bit grumpy when I set off the next morning. But the cool sea breeze, flat terrain and the gentle tailwind made the cycling almost effortless. The air coming off the sea was in fact so cool that I felt no need for a siesta and rode the coastline all the way to the Portuguese border. From here I would take a ferry across the Minho, the river that separates Spain and Portugal, as the nearest bridge was a two hour ride inland. I looked across the river and couldn’t help but think that I’d soon be cycling up those hills…
I was saved by the fact that the next ferry was 10:30 AM the following morning. So instead I was free to set up camp, drink beer and nap at my leisure. The hills were tomorrow’s problem.