Santiago de Compostela, a beautiful near coastal city in the very north west of Spain, is a place of high religious significance for Christians. It is famed for attracting tens of thousands of pilgrims every year on the El Camino de Santiago (way of St James), which come here through a number of possible routes. The most common are those via France which start at various points around France, including Paris, and takes some weeks to accomplish.
The absolute must see events, which are guaranteed to leave you speechless, take part at various intervals throughout the year. One being the feast of St James which happens during the pilgrimage time of year (July), when the Botafumeiro or to us lay folk, the giant swinging incense pot (a 80kg pot of smoking fumes) is hoisted on an giant rope by 8 priests who start yanking in unison. The pot swings higher and higher, faster and faster until it is penduluming the entire width of the mighty cathedral at about 68km per hour. We have honestly never seen anything like it and it was only by chance that we could bare witness to it with our own eyes.
The city has an amazing atmosphere during this time of the year, with countless pilgrims in tents and sleeping bags sprawled throughout the main square who sporadically join in singing, dancing and prayer sessions making up a friendly vibe.
Be warned though, this being Spain they do love their siesta so the city will just completely shut down in the afternoon, shops and businesses between 2-5pm and bars and cafes between 4-8/9pm (if at all). So it is wise to plan your days around this and enjoy a siesta yourself.
Filled with historical and religious significance, it may occur that you have reached saturation point and crave a break. Trips to the beach and drives along the coast are too good to pass up, grab your togs (bathers/trunks/speedos/budgie smugglers) and hit the ocean for a refreshing swim, followed by sangria and all the while soaking up the Spanish sun. [Review by nikodonnell]
- Santiago de Compostela is a city in Spain's region of Alicante. It has a population of 95, is situated at an altitude of 853ft and the best airport to fly into is SCQ (Santiago De Compostela, Santiago De Compostela)
- The currency used in Spain is the Euro (EUR)
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