"Gargoyles & Graffiti"chronicles architectural elements that I find interesting or unique in my travels. Gargoyles are my passion, but today graffiti (which I hate but am learning to love as it is everywhere) is as much a part of architecture as the gargoyles and decorative railings that thrill me.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Santiago de Compostela: The Way of St. James

There were two reasons why I took the cruise from Barcelona to Dover. The first and most important was that we did an overnight in Lisbon. I thought it would be the highlight of my cruise, but in reality, I enjoyed so much more the three places I didn’t even care if we visited – Cherbourg, Brussels and Gibraltar. (Just goes to show our expectations don’t always match our realities.) The second reason was to visit Santiago de Compostela, the third most important pilgrimage site of the Catholic world. It did not disappoint. This blog covers my observations and enchantment with this lovely city in Spain. 

Santiago de Compostela Cathedral

Protesters or pilgrims?

Our group: Brendan, Tiara, me, Yvette & Neil. Ray took the photo.

Walking on to the plaza of Santiago de Compostela, I entered a surreal world of hundreds of years ago. There was a mist in the air and it was chilly as we stood in front of the Cathedral. Our group of five, two couples I met through Cruise Critic (I got so lucky meeting them) and myself traveling solo, had the most wonderful guide imaginable. Brendan of Guided Galicia drove us to Santiago and the remaining area in a lovely new Mercedes van. I assumed I would bone up on my Spanish on the drive, but to our amazement, Brendan hails from New Zealand, so he speaks wonderful English! He told us that he and his lovely Galician wife and their two children live in Vigo, Spain.

Brendan could not have been more cordial and knew so much about the surrounding area, but let me not digress. 

Santiago de Compostela Cathedral

The Mass was going on when we arrived at the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. Three priests performed the Mass and it was beautiful. The scent of incense was heavy in the air as we wound our way around the different areas of the Cathedral. I did not feel right about taking pictures inside, even though many people did. I would love to have the memories but it just didn’t feel like the right thing to do. 

There are some wonderful youtube videos of the Mass at the Cathedral. Here is one I especially like:

Outside Brendan showed us the marker for the Way of Santiago de Compostela, and there are so many routes to get there. I also saw a marker in front of the Godiva shop on the main square of Brussels. 

Marker for the Way of St. James in Santiago de Compostela

You can walk the way of Saint James from England, Portugal, Brussels or even closer locations in Spain. There are hundreds of websites and blogs devoted to the pilgrimages of the young and old that make their way to this religious city, the capital of Galicia. 

One of the blogs I especially like is:
Camino to Santiago de Compostela

wall outside the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela

Me in front of one of the sweets shops

And if you happen to find yourself in this area, either arriving by cruise ship to the ports of Vigo or La Coruña, or by pilgrimage, contact Brendan from Guided Galicia. You won't be disappointed. 


  1. I think I'd be standing right there in front of the sweets shops, too...or maybe I'd be INSIDE the sweets shops! Love your new blog look--it glows!

  2. Thanks, Jeanne. They had dozens of little shops in the town and people stood outside and gave out samples of their local sweets. I only had one but it was delicious. The rest of our group was in the sweets shop while Brendan took my photo.

    Loved the rabbit on your Atwater Pond blog. Wonderful photo.

  3. That is somewhere I really would love to go. Need to put it on my bucket list. Great blog, Luh. Thanks.

  4. Love the photo outside the sweets shop. By the way, did you ever find out if they were pilgrims or protestors?

  5. Your group looked fun. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I love all that you are doing with the sidebar! Nice work. And fun pictures and a great title. The only thing I thoughts was "she could have gotten 3 posts worth if she broke this up into pieces!" just one idea if you want to make it seem like you're posting a lot. :) ps--i saw my blog on your blogroll--flattering!

  7. Thanks, Melissa. That is a thought. Just commented on your blog. Great stuff!

  8. The youtube video was a nice touch.

  9. Melissa, by the way, I have taken your advice and am doing shorter posts now. Thanks for the suggestion.