10. Sep, 2021

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FRIDAY 10-09-21

Another tiring day. We awoke in good time as I had clandestine chores to carry out. Once we were cleaned up I drove the motorhome back far enough to clear the levelling blocks, thus leaving the grey water  drain outlet right above the sloping grassy strip running between our car park and the very wide path outside. Even by that time of day we were the only motorhome left behind, so I had to be extra vigilant as I slowly opened up the grey water tank valve and allowed the waste water to irrigate the grass verge. I had to do it in several hits as I didn't want to be seen by the odd dog walker or jogger. That done my next task was to take the black (toilet) waste cassette down to the line of Portaloos that were located in the small coach park right next to ours. The idea was that I would empty our cassette in to one of them as were full to busting having not been able to empty it for about 4 days, but in the end I decided against it as it seemed a bit unfair to do it given the hospitality we had been shown in being able to stop overnight in their car park for free, and besides we were heading for Santiago de Compostella where there was a dump station.  So as soon as we were ready we were off. I think we travelled about seventy miles, much of which was on a toll road, though we didn't see, or come across a toll booth until it was time to leave it - €7.00 thank you very much.

The Camperstop we were heading for was the coach park on the edge of town, nothing fancy, just a large area of sloping tarmac and a dump station (GPS: N42.894973° W8.532020°). We had to pay to use this one - €4.15 for parking during the day, then a further €14.10 if we stay overnight, plus another €3.50 for water. We've paid a lot less for proper campsites. Anyhow, once settled and having spent €3.50 on a tank full of fresh water, we had lunch and then wandered down to the bus stop where the number one service runs every fifteen minutes and would take us in to town for one euro each.

It wasn't obvious where we needed to jump off, but I'm glad we got off when we did otherwise we'd have been going out of town to the local hospitals.

So a bit about Santiago de Compostella then:

Santiago de Compostella is the capital of northwest Spain’s Galicia region. It’s known as the culmination of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route, and the alleged burial site of the Biblical apostle St. James. His remains reputedly lie within the Cathedral de Santiago de Compostella, consecrated in 1211, whose elaborately carved stone facades open onto grand plazas within the medieval walls of the old town.

The cathedral borders the main plaza of the old and well-preserved city. According to medieval legend, the remains of the apostle James were brought to Galicia for burial; in 813, the light of a bright star guided a shepherd who was watching his flock at night to the burial site in Santiago de Compostela. This site was originally called Mount Libredon and its physical topography leads prevalent sea borne winds to clear the cloud deck immediately overhead. The shepherd quickly reported his discovery to the bishop of Iria, Bishop Teodomiro. The bishop declared that the remains were those of the apostle James and immediately notified King Alfonso II in Oviedo. To honour St. James, the cathedral was built on the spot where his remains were said to have been found. The legend, which included numerous miraculous events, enabled the Catholic faithful to bolster support for their stronghold in northern Spain during the Christian crusades against the Moors, but also led to the growth and development of the city.

Along the western side of the Praza do Obradoiro is the elegant 18th-century Pazo de Raxoi, now the city hall, and on the right from the cathedral steps is the Hostal dos Reis Católicos, founded in 1492 as a pilgrims' hospice (now a parador (Inn)). The Obradoiro façade of the cathedral, the best known, is depicted on the Spanish euro coins of 1 cent, 2 cents, and 5 cents (€0.01, €0.02, and €0.05).

Santiago is the site of the University of Santiago de Compostela, established in the early 16th century. The main campus can be seen best from an alcove in the large municipal park in the centre of the city.

Within the old town there are many narrow winding streets full of historic buildings. The new town all around it has less character though some of the older parts of the new town have some big flats in them.

Santiago de Compostela has a substantial nightlife. Both in the new town and the old, a mix of middle-aged residents and younger students maintain a lively presence until the early hours of the morning. Radiating from the centre of the city, the historic cathedral is surrounded by paved granite streets, tucked away in the old town, and separated from the newer part of the city by the largest of many parks throughout the city, Parque da Alameda.

Santiago gives its name to one of the four military orders of Spain: Santiago, Calatrava, Alcántra and Montesa.

All very interesting I suppose but what we saw was just a city full of pilgrims. Frankly they're two-a-penny and barely worth a beating with a large wooden stick. They just filled the whole place up. We did enter the cathedral for a look round, but frankly it wasn't worth a very long walk to get to see. Inside the crypt were supposed to be the bones of Saint James the Apostle. St James? Never heard of him. Why not Saint Leroy or Saint Winston? Never heard of them either, so they have as much chance of being legitimate as James. Still kit's good for tourism and the back pocket of traders.

Naturally enough it was raining again, and after a bit of a look round the old streets we made our way back 'home'. On our arrival it was decision time. Did we stay the night, or head out of town to Lugo, our next planned destination. Lugo won, and after a cup of tea we made ready for the road and slipped out of town. The satnav wanted to take us all the way back to A Coruna on the toll road (it loves spending our money) and then eastwards to Lugo. We defied it and took the direct route on the A547, which looked as if it would take us for a nice ride through the mountains. Luckily at each end of the route they have built a motorway, and when they build the bit in the middle it will be a cracking route to take. As it was, we had a nice ride through the mountains on a twisting hilly single track road, but it was fine and perfectly do-able.

So here we are at Lugo. We'll only be here for the day to tick a box before moving on. We are now both keen to get further south and get better weather, thus the next couple of stops will be quickies. We have decided that when we get to Salamanca we're stopping on the Camperstop to visit the town and then going on to the local campsite for a couple of days of relaxation. Apart from one night on a campsite back at Santillana at the beginning of the trip, we've spent all  of our time in glorified car parks, which is convenient for visiting sites but we now yearn for a bit of personal space and grass under our feet where we can have a barbecue, use somebody else's shower and be hooked up to mains electricity.

So it's been a long day and not a terribly memorable one. Roll on the journey south. In the meantime I believe folk back in the UK are enjoying a heat wave. I think right now I'd swap with them.