On Top of the World, At the End of the World: Galicia (Part 1)…

Hello, my lovely readers!!!!…I’m writing this to recount the fabulous time I had last weekend in the beautiful autonomous community of…

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…Galicia (procrastination may also be a major motivation for writing this, though)!!!!…

Now, I know the title seems random, but let me explain what it means…As the most Occidental (Western) point in all of Europe, Galicia was once known as Finis Terrae (Latin for “End of the World/Earth”) because it was believed that, beyond this point, there was nothing else that existed–That is, until 1492 came around (and we all know what went down that year)…

That weekend, I went to two cities: the capital, Santiago de Compostela, and A Coruña, a lovely resort city (which I’ll talk about the next post)…

We arrived to Santiago early Friday morning, walking first thing to our hostel (my first!!!!), which was called “Roots and Boots”…

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…Thankfully, it wasn’t like this–it was more like this…

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Admittedly, the first day was rather crummy outside (but, hey, it’s Galicia–it rains a lot)…Still, I very much enjoyed the main sight of the day…

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The Catedral…

Constructed between 1075-1211, it was built in the period of transition between the decline of the Romanesque and the beginning of the Gothic…Also, it is said that the remains of Santiago (a.k.a. James [yes, the apostle]) are buried here: After being decapitated in 44 A.D., his remains were later transferred to Galicia because he evangelized in the Iberian Peninsula…Given the Roman persecution of Christians, the tomb was abandoned and eventually rediscovered in 814–which prompted Alfonso II to commission the construction of a chapel over it (which eventually would become part of the Catedral)…Therefore it’s the destination for those who walk Camino de Santiago (The Path of James), a pilgrimage/hike that started around the middle of the 9th century after people across Europe got word that Saint James remains were there…

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Today, thousands of people from around the world walk the trail–not necessarily for religious reasons, mind you, but to simply take in the natural beauty one sees while walking the trail…

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…Like this guy…

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…The roof–where I indeed was “on top of the world, at the end of the world”…Note that on some (if not all) of the towers you can see the image of a shell…When people first started trekking the Camino, they often got lost and confused other cities for Santiago (Read: Before GPS)…Therefore, the shells on the towers were a way to help people know whether they were actually in Santiago or not, and to this day, every person who completes the trek gets a scallop shell as proof that they actually did it…

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…The main church…

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…St. Jame’s tomb…

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…Part of the Pórtico de la Gloria (Small Gate of Glory), which represents every major event of Christ’s life…

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…Treasure room…

Hey, I’m not going to lie–I thought the interior of this place was kind of creepy (cue the ominous-sounding Latin chanting)…

Then we went to this place, a former palace that’s now the library for the Universidad de Compostela (I don’t quite remember the name)…Anywho, there was a really interesting exhibit of paintings by the artist J. Méndez that represent the iconography of Renaissance artist Cesare Ripa, which in itself represents the virtues, passions, and vices of Man…

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…Can’t quite remember what virtues these were…

The next day was absolutely splendid, and we went to the Cidade da Cultura (City of Culture, in gallego [Galician]), an architectural, cultural, and entertainment complex that celebrates the heritage of knowledge, investigation, creation, and cultural consumption…Alas, this place hasn’t even been completed–As of the end of March of this year, construction has been stopped due to the lack of available funds…But, hey–what is there is pretty interesting…

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…Don’t ask me what the naked Winston Churchill-looking statues are supposed to mean–I couldn’t tell you…

Oh, and did I mention that Santiago isn’t that bad to look at???…

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In general, it wasn’t a bad way to spend the first 2/3 of the weekend–but the best was yet to come, :-)…

Has anyone else been to Santiago–and if so, what’d you like about it???…

7 thoughts on “On Top of the World, At the End of the World: Galicia (Part 1)…

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