Vigo and Santiago de Compostela

Trip Start Apr 18, 2009
Trip End May 07, 2009

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Flag of Spain and Canary Islands  , Galicia,
Friday, May 1, 2009

Vigo, Spain  - just North of the Portuguese border - was our next destination.  We had decided to do a tour to nearby Santiago de Compostela - where thousands of people make a pilgrimage each year to the cathedral named after  St. James aka Santiago and where we would see his remains under the alter. 

The drive through the countryside was wonderful - Northern Spain is absolutely beautiful.  Just off of the coast of Vigo are some islands and these islands provide a barrier to the inlet in Vigo - so when the tides rise and fall they do so in a way that provides a lot of plankton without a tremendous amount of pressure to the waterways inland.  This is a perfect condition for farming oysters, mussels and scallops and we were able to see many examples of the 'beds' used for this farming.

After about an hour and a half we reached Santiago de Compostela and walked through the charming streets to the Cathedral.  The streets in the old town are all made of large rectangular slabs of granite and are perfect.  The old town is so picturesque  - immaculate streets - well kept buildings - inviting shops and cafes and some very beautiful churches in addition to the Cathedral of St. James. 

We were very lucky today that there was a special mass taking place and that they would be using the incense burner.  This is the largest incense burner in the world and you can not belive the demonstration.    They lower the burner from in front of the alter and 'fire it up' then they use a large pulley system with very thick rope to raise it and start to swing it.  It swings across the transept over the heads of the masses in what seems to be the length of a football field - but I need to check that fact - it was really an unbelievable sight - which I attempted to capture of both film and video - I will see if I have any better luck uploading a video than in the past.

After the service we had time to walk around some more - we stopped to have cappucinos and dessert for lunch and I managed to get a little shopping in.  There was a shop that had a lot of pottery from a local town and I found four nice pieces  of local art there.  I found a really nice cross with the cross of St. James along with the clam shell displayed in the center.

We saw many pilgrims and quite a few of them had dogs with them which was really sweet - but made us miss Choco.  Jeanie and Monroe have a new White German Shepard named Shadow and they were going through withdrawls as well.

Soon it was time to head back to the bus for the drive back.  There was a sailing event going on in Vigo on this day so we saw some of the sailboats - checked out the local mall and then it was time to set sail. 
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