Santiago de Compostela

Situated in the north westerly part of the Iberian Peninsula, Santiago de Compostela, like the eternal city of Rome, was born between rolling hills that permit privileged views of the city. Declared Heritage of Mankind, today, it is known the world over as being the finishing point of the Saint James Way – the pilgrimage to Santiago. It is here that thousands of pilgrims flock each year converting this Finisterrae or “Land’s End” into a meeting point of faith and thought. Even the Obradoiro square has an odd, scalloped shape that will be familiar to the seasoned pilgrim. This place welcomes, with open arms, pilgrims and tourists alike. And here we can see the building that originally served as a hospital and hospice for the visiting pilgrims. Fittingly, today, it is hotel complex. In this hospice pilgrims could sleep free, for three nights. Here three meals are served, free of charge, to the first 10 pilgrims who arrive with the relevant credentials. The cathedral, with its impressive Baroque facade, is the first to welcome us. It was defined by English travelers as being a work of pure gold, for the way it glistened in the sunshine in years gone by. If we take a close look at the main entrance, we can observe what is deemed the oldest Roman porch in Europe. The Pórtico de Glory is embellished with over 200 granite figures which represent scenes from the Resurrection. If there is something that typifies the fame of this place it is without any doubt, the image of the Apostle and the largest thurible in the world, the giant botafumeiro – which was used in olden times to disinfect the cathedral and eliminate unpleasant smells. Santiago also treats us to places such as the Fonseca Palace– this was the headquarters of the Compostela University and now is home to the University library. The San Martín Pinario Monastery - the most important monastery of Medieval Compostela, occupies some 20,000 square metres and its striking altarpieces are a sight to behold even for the most casual visitor. It is astonishing that in the same city, we can visit relaxing havens such as the Alameda Park. This tranquil scenery is enjoyed by locals and visitors much in the same way it was enjoyed by one of Santiago’s most celebrated sons – the dramatist, Ramon del Valle Inclán. Santiago also has its energetic, boisterous side – in the Abastos Market, we can take in the colours and flavours of the many appetising Galician products. Right here we can find the ingredients for dishes that require no introduction – Galician-style octopus or flat Galician-style pastry pie filled with tuna or cod, - two of the most cherished culinary ambassadors of the Galicia region.