The following two days, due to flight alterations, we had a chance to do a little sightseeing, so on day one we went to La Corounna by train. Steve had visited the town sometime ago and he was able to show us around some of the general places of interest and the harbour where we had lunch in a restaurant before jumping on a bus to take us back to the train station later in the afternoon. Once on the train, we had a relaxing journey back to Santiago.
In the evening we wandered into Santiago’s town square to find a restaurant. As it was early there were not many places open, so we went to the same restaurant as the previous night but, unfortunately, the service wasn’t up to the same standard. After our meal we meandered back to our hotel to call it a day.
The next day Steve woke with a throat infection. Due to a national holiday in Spain many chemist type places were closed so we ended up going to the local hospital.
After his treatment, Steve was given a prescription which meant we now had to find a pharmacy that was open. Eventually we found one, so with medication purchased, we now had time to relax whilst we wandered the narrow streets of Santiago at leisure.
As we entered a small open square near some shops, we came across several groups of local people in costume
preparing for a procession through the town. We watched a while taking photos and try find out what was happening, but we no one could tell us.
After the morning’s excitement of Steve and the hospital visit, we decided it was time we had a coffee break before further enjoyment.
Once refreshed we continued to walk around the many winding streets when we stumbled upon the local fish and produce market.
This I thought was most interesting with all the different types of fish, crabs, lobsters and meats on offer, compared to back home.
We spent some time in the market before wandering over to the cathedral. Inside we joined the queue to see and pass by the shrine of St James, the patron saint of Spain;
legend has it his remains are held here. We walked around slowly and absorbed the atmosphere.
On exiting on to the streets we came across the people we had seen earlier in the procession. At this point we still didn’t know what it was for or why.
We entered a shop to buy gifts for Steve’s grandchildren and Steve asked the shop keeper what the procession was about.
We learnt it was the Galician Literature Day (Dia das Lestras Galegas) and was to commemorate the publication of Cantares Gallegos (1863) written by Galicia’s most famous poet; each year is dedicated to a different author.
We stood outside the shops and watched the procession go by.
After the procession it was time for lunch, so we headed back to the restaurant just off the main square that we’d visited when we had just finished the walk ………… and a very pleasant lunch it was too.
After lunch we wandered through the town and headed towards the local park. The temperature now was getting too hot to be in the open so we headed to the local park, we needed some shade from the trees. Once in the park we followed the tree lined paths, when suddenly Steve spoke to a couple of overly dressed ladies but, as usual, there was no response – they didn’t speak English!
As Derek was taking a group photo, I noticed from behind that one of the ladies was reaching out to Steve. ‘Strange,’ I thought. She could have been a pickpocket for all we know so we left quickly!
We made our way back to the hotel to finish our packing, rest and freshen up before going in to town to find somewhere to eat and party.
We left our hotel and discussed wanting to eat outside as it was still very warm. We headed off to find a restaurant and eventually found one in the square, near the university, where lots of locals were dining.
We had a few aperitifs in a bar opposite, keeping an eye out for a vacant table and just people watching in general.
Suddenly we saw an opportunity. Some people were just about to leave, so we dashed over to occupy the seats before anyone else could get them……..and, a further bonus during the rush, we never spilt our drinks!
Now seated we ordered more aperitifs to calm our excitement of the dash; it also gave us an opportunity to check out the menu.
‘What could be better than this?’ we thought, ‘A meal out in the open air, taking in the sights of Santiago Compostela.’ The restaurant was buzzing with diners, relaxing and enjoying themselves, and we were just soaking up the atmosphere and experience.
After the meal, as darkness fell, we eventually started to make our way back to our hotel through the narrow bustling streets, seeing lots of the restaurants open and busy with customers, inside and outside, eating and drinking. It was as if the whole of Santiago had come to life. People were everywhere; it was difficult to walk along whilst trying to avoid everybody, and not accidentally bump into someone.
Finally we were back at the hotel – the end of our last night and a memorable occasion.