The Land of Shells

Hi Ho Hi Ho its off to Northern Spain we go!

Some friends and I went to Santiago de Compostela for the weekend. El Camino de Santiago fell on the 5th of June. It is a religious pilgrimage starting in France and ending in Santiago de Compostela.

The main attraction here is the Church of St. James. His remains are supposably buried in the Cathedral. The story goes that St. Jame’s remains fell into the ocean and surfaced covered in shells. The shell is the symbol of the city and can be seen on every surface. The city was full of travelers who came from miles away. Some biked and others walked. The weather was cloudy and windy; not good beach weather but perfect for site seeing. We waited in a line that wrapped around the square to hug St. James. Folklore claims that when you give the statue a hug you can make a wish/request to St. James. After a quick 30 minutes we hugged and said our peace. The Cathedral had 50 foot ceilings at least with cherubs floating above the statue. The rest of the day was spend shopping and looking at the different kiosks.

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There was a medieval festival featuring the 12th century. Vendors dressed in medieval dresses and sold crafts and food along the streets. This weekend was perfect for a tourist! With everyone visiting for this holiday and festival asking for directions or good bars to visit was not frowned upon. We found our way around the city easily and soon became familiar with the streets.  We stayed in Monte de Gozo which apparently is a hotel for Eurotravelers aka backpackers. The hotel was out of the way but only cost the 5 of us 50 euros a piece for the two nights. The money we saved on a hotel was spend on the taxis. Unfortunately for us, there were no vans or cars for 5 people. Every time we wanted to venture to the city it would cost about 7 euro per taxi. 7- 9 euro between 5 is nothing but 14 euro between 5 adds up. I guess that hotel is mostly used by backpackers and thus taxis are less used. Maybe they like to hike 2 miles to sight see, my friends and I… not so much. The city was the best part of the trip and the next time I am in Northern Spain (fingers crossed!) I would considering staying at a Hostel in the city instead of a hotel on the outskirts.
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The party doesn’t end in Spain. Any given time during the day people are talking and drinking. 5am looks just as friendly as 3pm. Can’t help feeling swept away with the great feeling of Santiago. People offer samples of treats in the streets, reminding me of my American times in Costco. During the nights bars are overcrowded with friends, travelers and family. No age is left unrepresented. 55 year olds dance on 2 inch elevated platforms in bars at 4am while 12 year olds hang with their parents at 1am.

The night life in Spain has one goal: socialize. Fortunately, that’s my goal too.

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