Saturday, June 30, 2012

Luck follows us to Santiago de Compostela

Thursday and Friday we took our longest excursion (except the one to Madrid) to Santiago de Compostela.  We left on time and an hour later ran into a stop on the interstate.  The miners are protesting and were burning tires on the highway.  The police told us we would be stopped for an hour, but it took a little longer than that.  Nonetheless, we had fun dancing on the side of the highway!  

We got to Santiago and checked into our hotel.  We walked straight to the older part of town to see the cathedral.  Marivi explained the history of the camino and the cathedral to the students then she led us into the cathedral to see the remains of St. James and the statue that the pilgrims hug after their pilgrimage.  The students had some free time to try Galician food.  Robert gave them a challenge. 20 had to try the ´vieira´ (type of shellfish) and 2 had to try the orella (pig´s ear).  The students went above and beyond the requirements!  According to Robert, 
The number of people that actually ate the Vieira (10 required): 22
The number of people that ate orella (2 required): 13

Proof of having tried the ´vieira´

Trying the ´pimientos de Padrón´   
Emma Vreeke gets a hot one!
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We then went to eat dinner where the students were able to try the ´pimientos de Padrón´ which are small, green peppers.  Some of them are spicy and some aren´t.  Of the two plates we ordered, we had about 7 spicy peppers.  Robert has some great photos of students (Emma V. and Nathan especially) reacting to the surprise of eating a spicy one.  There is no way to tell if a pepper is spicy.  You just have to eat it.  They also tried ´Tarta de Santiago´which is an almond cake that is a specialty in Santiago.

After dinner, we took the students to karaoke!  

The following day, we went to a museum about the Galician people and then to the Pilgrim´s mass.  Everyday at noon a mass is held for the pilgrims that have completed the trek.  And here is where our luck came in.  The largest incensory is in the cathedral in Santiago.  The church only uses it 2-3 times per year.  Otherwise, someone has to pay for it to be used.  The day we were there, a group of Japanese pilgrims paid for it to be used!  Robert has a video of it on his site.  What you can´t see in his video are the eight men swinging the botafumeiro and the power that it takes.  Here is another video that shows that.  We took more time to eat and shop and then we headed home.

Robert has posted some photos and videos already on his site.  He will create folder and collect photos from this trip that the students took since he was sick and spent most of the first day in the hotel.  That link is here.


  1. What a wonderful way to end out the week! You can tell by the pic's, they are having a great time. Thank you Laura for keeping us updated. We appreciate it and it helps ease our minds...I see Tyler too!!....Tyler's Aunt Kiki

  2. Thanks so much, Laura! Your post prompted me to finally watch The Way and it was breathtaking to see some of the amazing places you all are experiencing. I LOVE getting tastes of all your adventures (planned and unplanned!) and seeing how immersed and happy Lydia and everyone seems. Gratefully, Lydia's Mom