We didn't want to miss this place, so we went to Vigo by sailboat, took the train to Santiago de Compostela from there and were the last kilometer of the Way of St. James pilgrimage on foot from the train station to the cathedral.
Unlike the places we've been sightseeing so far, the old town of Santiago is really beautiful. As in so many old places, it is located on a hill, so the climb from the train station in the blazing sunshine is a little strenuous. However, no one has said that pilgrims are easy. That was probably also what the other pilgrims meant, who could also take the train with a backpack, hiking stick and scallop shell.
The marketing as the end point of the Way of St. James (the many different ways of St. James) naturally brings a lot of tourists to the city. And religion is independent of the time of year, so tourism there is not a seasonal business. Santiago really has something to offer for that. Except for the skull, they kept the rest of St. Jacob in the cathedral.
James the Elder was the full name of St. Jacob. He was sent to the Iberian Peninsula to do missionary work there. Apparently he was quite successful because he did not survive and found his grave in Santiago.
Since the 1970s (as Wikipedia writes), pilgrimage tourism has been increasing, the Pope came to visit in 1982 and has given pilgrimage even greater momentum through this marketing trick.
I am sure that you can find yourself nicely during a several-week hike and maybe also have one or two conversations with your God. But when I stand in front of the souvenir shops and watch the pilgrims, who all shop vigorously there, I have my doubts. Didn't the traders get kicked out of the temple at some point?
But it is very impressive when you are at the end of the path in the wide square in front of the cathedral stands. Before we went through narrow, winding old town alleys, then suddenly everything opens up and you are on a huge square. At its edge are more or less exhausted pilgrims who try to capture a particularly original Instagram pose with their smartphones. In my opinion there is a lot of folklore and little religion.
I would like to make a positive note that there is no entry for the visit to the cathedral. The museums on the outskirts are more or less expensive, as is the tour with the tourist train (rubber wheels and imitated steam train noise). But God does not take entry. Unfortunately, at the time of our visit, the interior of the cathedral was a huge construction site. Maybe we will come back in a few years, then the construction site could be over. Or it ends like in Paris. Let us not hope that there are fire extinguishers on every corner.
The main attraction in the cathedral is the figure of St. Jacob, whose bones are said to lie in the crypt below. We also queued up to get very close to the statue. The path leads past a really beautiful church window.
The statue is - how could it be otherwise - equipped with scallops. I don't like eating them, I just don't like them.
The waiting time until the shoulder of Jacob was still bearable at one hour. I had imagined it worse. At some point it was time to grab the statue on the shoulder.
Maybe that will help us to make progress, but I think it's more neutral. Therefore Sissi will not sail better or worse. But it can't do any harm either, and the view from above of the rich decorations is definitely worth the wait.
Outside, we also noticed that a longer stay in a church in the great heat is very pleasant. It is calm and cool.
We were hungry and looking for food. A few days ago we had the idea of finding a kebab shop and eating a kebab. We had already seen advertising for Burger King and KFC in Santiago, but no rotating grill skewers yet.
Then it was time. St. Jacob showed us the way to the kebab shop. Typically “Newroz” stood over the restaurant and behind the counter the grill skewers turned. We always eat very well on our sailing trip and always try to eat local specialties. This time it was not a lasagna shortage for Jens, but an acute underdosing, because of which we avoided local dishes.
It was a kebab, almost like at home. Unfortunately the garlic sauce was an industrial product and ketchup really doesn't belong on the kebab. Otherwise it was delicious. We emptied the plates until the last grain of rice.
While we were eating there, I had a direct view of the crossroads and the pedestrian lights with animated traffic lights. After the meal I filmed them briefly.
Then we went to the train station. The trains between Santiago de Compostela and Vigo run about once an hour. So the wait was not that long. I photographed our train at the entrance, which then took us back to Vigo at 180 km / h on the new line. For € 9.55 we took the slow train on the way there for an hour and a half, for € 11.50 we were able to shorten the way back to 50 minutes with the express train.
Oh yes, there is something else. We have seen that it is no longer necessary to visit St. Jacob himself. He can now also be reached with a smartphone and then gives his blessing by telephone.
¡Gracias amigo Santiago, hermano Santiago, por ayudarme a llegar hasta aquí! ¡Gracias por tu persona, por tu compañía, por tu testimonio, por tu legado!
He hears these words again and again, unfortunately his answer on the phone did not get down to us.