Today was our opportunity to tour the Cathedral of Santiago and attend the special 12:00 PM pilgrim’s mass.
Would we get the opportunity see the Botafumeiro in action today? Nobody knew for sure. It was much larger than I imagined. It was originally used to fumigate the sweaty and contagious pilgrims. Now it is swung on certain holidays and special occasions as a remembrance to those peregrinos before us.
The cathedral is actually quite narrow and somewhat small by cathedral standards. The pipes from the organ nearly touch overhead.
While the cathedral is not huge by any sense of the imagination it is beautiful. We have been to some really monster sized cathedrals which were just big empty spaces. Santiago was actually just about the perfect size. It can seat 1000 and it was packed to capacity today. We arrived an hour early and got some great seats.
The entryway was being restored so it wasn’t clearly visible, but what we could see was amazingly beautiful.
We climbed a narrow stairway to the rear of the high alter.
Climbing to the golden dome.
We arrived at the rear of the golden statue of St. James which was covered with precious stones and of course scallop shells.
Next, it was downstairs to pay our respects to his tomb.
The tomb of the apostle St. James.
As the (99.9% spanish language) church service was nearly over, a team of red robed tiraboleiros arrived and started the process of the botafumeiro.
It was pretty neat. It is said to reach speeds of up to 60 kph. It really produced quite a bit of smoke and we could clearly see the flame inside as it swung by us. Click on this link to see our video of today’s botafumeiro.
After church we met with Lene and had a nice lunch.
Sandy and Lene enjoying an after lunch beverage.
Santiago is an electric city with a synergy I have yet to see anywhere else in the world. There are new pilgrims arriving every minute from 12 different pilgrimage routes, pilgrims finally enjoying a much deserved rest, lively restaurants on most blocks, and always live music echoing from nearly every plaza. There are street singers performing in front of all the popular restaurant locations, all with their donation boxes on the ground. So today I decided to photograph a few of them. This trio had a mandolin, and a huge base instrument and an accordion.
This guy was amazing. I also videoed about 15 seconds of him playing. I up linked it and you can watch it by clicking here. After listening to him for a few minutes I immediately felt the need for a Ricola cough drop.
Bagpipes are a big part of the Galician region of Spain. Santiago always has bagpipe music playing. In addition, street performers were also heard folks playing the guitar, harp, sitar, and lots of accordians. Music fills Santiago’s air.
Here are some photos of the two compostela’s we earned for making this trek:
This is from the Cathedral of Santiago.
This is from the Franciscan Order.
Tomorrow we head to Finisterre which was once thought to be “the end of the world.” It has become a fitting way to end ones camino experience by making your way there. Jorgen and Gisele will hike while Sandy and I will take the bus. Lene will take the bus on Wednesday. We will stay in Finisterre for a day and perhaps another day in Muxia. We plan on continuing the blog, probably every other day, up until we leave Spain on the 12th.