Road trip in Spain – Santiago de Compostela
Since finding a breathtaking picture of the Basilica of Covadonga, it had been on my bucket list to visit. I planned to visit Juan in Vigo during his school break but I wanted to go and visit this beautiful monument. We ended up planning an elaborate road trip through the North of Spain to accomplish this! First stop: Santiago de Compostela.
Who is Santiago?
Santiago, or St. James in English, is the patron saint of Spain and one of the twelve apostles. Legend says that his remains are kept in Santiago de Compostela which is why hundreds of thousands of pilgrims visit this town every year as the final destination of the Camino Santiago (aka Way of St. James).
Santiago was martyred and beheaded in Jerusalem and his disciples took his body to Spain by sea. For centuries, the resting place of his remains were unknown until miraculously, a local monk called Pelagius followed a star which, according to legend, illuminated the tomb hidden in the woods by the Galician coast. King Alfonso II ordered a church to be built around the relics which has grown into the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
Flying with Vueling
I flew from Gatwick with Vueling. This was my first time flying with Vueling but I was so pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t a busy flight so I had the whole row to myself and I felt like a VIP without having to pay for the comfort. Being a frequent budget airline flyer (*cough* Easyjet), I am used to stuffing my handbag into my tiny suitcase before boarding. It was such a relief to be able to casually carry both items onto the plane without feeling like my handbag is contraband!
Touchdown in Spain
After landing in Santiago de Compostela Airport, I waited outside for Juan to pick me up. Bizarrely, on his bus ride to the airport, the bus driver abandoned the bus for about 15 minutes with the keys in. At one point, he even considered jacking the bus since there was no sign of him returning haha.
I had a late flight so after dropping my things off at the hotel, we just went to Momo’s Bar for a drink (I had a bloody Mary and Juan had a pelegrino cocktail). The bar was really cute with some rustic and romantic vibes. Their terraced garden was supposed to have some great views but it was closed so we only managed to take a peek from inside. They had a pool table and dart board so of course we had to give it a go. We were pretty bad at both games but Juan was slightly better than me in pool (ok, maybe much better than me… but to put things into perspective, I was AWFUL). I missed a lot of darts but somehow managed to win the game! My proudest moment was hitting the bulls-eye twice. 😎
Cathedral and Old Town
We got up bright and early to explore Santiago before catching our train to A Coruña. Since I visited Santiago last summer, we were more chilled out about exploring Santiago. After taking obligatory selfies with the Cathedral, we explored the cobbled streets whilst enjoying the sunshine in the Old Town.
The pilgrimage to Santiago’s tomb was so famous that Galicia was known as Jakobsland in Nordic sagas.
Alameda Photo Ops
We ambled along to the ‘Alameda’ which was a park lined with gorgeous blooming camellia trees! Inside the park, we took a selfie with this interesting statue of two brightly clothed ladies. The statues are of the sisters, the ‘two Marias of Santiago de Compostela‘ who were famous among locals for being regular visitors of the park.
Tip: If you’re a nature nerd or looking for a nice photoshoot spot, find the alameda. Meaning “a street lined with trees”, nearly every town in Spain will have its own alameda and these are usually parks and gardens with plenty of flowering trees and photo opportunities. Do it for the IG!
We encountered a protest on our stroll. The funny thing was that the protest looked and sounded like a carnival. It actually looked pretty fun.
We bought a pack of Spanish playing cards to amuse us on our long train journeys. Spanish playing cards have a different suits to the regular 52 card packs and have their own games.
Coffee and chill
Finally, we had a coffee at a cute cafe with a beautifully decorated terrace. We sat under the magnolia tree with a great view of the fountain. They bizarrely gave us Werther’s Originals as snacks. We puzzled over this for a while haha.
After our coffee, we returned to the hotel to pick up our luggage. We didn’t realise we had been so long out in town so we were actually a little late checking out! Luckily, they were kind enough to let us off. Then we had to run to catch our train. Rolling a suitcase whilst running on cobbled streets was not fun. 10/10 would not recommend! Thankfully we managed to catch our train in the end.
Stay tuned for my post about our next destination: A Coruña! Ciao for now!