Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Day 13 Staying Put in Santiago de Compostela: Botafumiero, Beggars, Buskers and Businessmen

Beggars were common. Most seemed to be of Eastern European origin, but not all.

Busking with a violin. We frequently see bagpipes and guitars. Last night, there was an operatic chorus that was phenomenal.
Cathedral Santiago de Compostela--on a good day

This, on the other hand, is what WE saw. Lotsa revamping in process.

The alter area
After a lazy morning of mostly rest, we prepared to go to the mass of the Pilgrims at the cathedral. The building is huge and beautiful. Unfortunately, the statue of St. James which you could theoretically walk to on your knees, kiss and get a miracle--involved in the reconstruction area, of course. So basically, we walked 110 miles to the church of the patron saint of Spain and didn't even get to see the monument. Maybe just making it 100 miles was our miracle :)

We attended the mass of the pilgrims. A nun taught us to sing the songs in Spanish. She looked like a Catholic school music teacher, but she had an angelic voice. We got the " Jubilate Deo" and the "Kyrie Eilyson" down pat before the priests arrived with significant coaching of the congregation. We arrived about 1130 am for a noon mass and had trouble finding a seat. But it all went well and the priest announced the arrivals from points afar including Paul and I from O Cebreiro. The mass was very beautiful and the setting incredible. The cathedral dates from approximately 1100 AD as a Catholic structure. A Roman necropolis preexisted it by about 200 years.

We were hoping to see the botafumiero (large incense burner--but feel free to make up a more creative and fun or even kinky meaning for this word) in action like in the movie the Way, but we found out that they only do it on Friday or if there is a visiting dignitary (thanks for the diss Pope Francis) or if you are willing to pay 300 euros, botafumerios will swing like a pendulum do (or so Roger Miller says!)
This sideways blur would be Mr. Paul Parris, former Episcopalean acolyte, aka wafer counter. He didn't want to be recognized as a church attendee. I think you are pretty much busted, baboo!

The swinging botafumiero, which is only done on Friday. Unfortunately we did not see it swinging-- just hanging there dong nothing kinda like most people on Broadway and 5th in Knoxville. But since it hit a pilgrim in the head and did some damage in the early 1900s, so maybe we are better off?

The services were heavily attended and many people received holy communion.  Lotsa pomp and circumstance but we enjoyed it.

From there, we went to LUNCH at Casa Marcelo. This is small place that seats at most 20 people at community tables. There are just a few people, Chef Marcelo and his sus chefs cooking right in front of you. They are "fusion cooking." Here comes the food porn section, so make sure you aren't too hungry!

Cozy! Love thy neighbor. They are at your elbow!
Kitchen wizardry right in front of your eyeballs.
Shaved bonita is muy bonita y deliciosa.
Marcello called this leek and potatoes with lardones. But it actually potatoes shaped to look like a leek. It is leek-free! Wish all rooves and faucets were too!
Spanish dim sum
Deep fried scorpionfish
Chef Marcelo  stayed on the move and provided a stellar lunch. If in Santiago, stop by Casa Marcelo. Small, but mighty.
We enjoyed this meal very much. Thank you , Chef Marcelo!

From here we toured the cathedral museum which held many works  of art and some information about the origins. It has been around for over a thousand years. Mind blowing. They would not let us take indoor photos but there were tapestries form Goya and Rubens.  There was a lot of stonework in various stages of preservation or decay. There were many early art objects. There was a room where kings of old ununited Spain were buried and many ornate art pieces.

We were allowed to make outdoor photos though :)

There is no shortage of buskers. This one , Gandhi, has been here a while. Pose on , apu!
Now THAT is a ceiling!
An arched view
Fans of the museum
Cheesy businesses around the cathedral..stuffed animals here. Lots of pilgrim fake walking sticks, etc.  This is a tourist hotbed for Catholics. Kind of like a religious Disneyland in some spots, although the cathedral itself preserves an air of solemnity.

A baptismal font for really big babies!
Not saved by the bell--dwarfed by the bell!
We saw dead people--everywhere!
Palace of the kings from atop the cathedral
A cardinal's eye view of the streets below.


After this, we did a bit of shopping and then back to the room for repacking of bags. A couple of hours later , we were off to dinner at Gaia, a not so fancy but good Galician restaurant. I had been seeing a dish called Peppers of Padron and wanted to try it. Yum! 

 My summation of this day: Educational, recreational and taste sensational!

Peppers of Padron. Where have you been all my life??

And now Paul's Ponderings:  A slow day, but a deserved one.   We had a great lunch after (ahem) attending Catholic mass, followed by a bit of museum visiting and shopping.   Then a hearty dinner and that's about it after 100+ miles of hiking for the previous week!   Tomorrow it is off to San Sebastian....back to Basque country and a wholly different experience in Spain.  

Weather here was cool all day and it needed a jacket....compared to East TN, quite a change.   

Overall, esta bien!

The pondering man with flowers...

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