Santiago is the perfect place for the tourist, the traveler, and the pilgrim. It's got a little bit of everything for every type of person. Santiago is known for being the final destination of 'El Camino del Santiago.' The remains of apostle James (San Iago ... Santiago ... get it?) lay in the Cathedral of Santiago. El Camino del Santiago spreads all across Spain and in parts of Italy and France as well.
In Santiago one can find the 'reward' (besides sore legs and tons of pictures) for completing the Camino del Santiago: El Compostela del Santiago (A glorified certificate). The people that walk the Camino del Santiago are called 'peregrinos,' A.K.A. religious travelers. Many of them slept in the churches during the night along their trek. To make sure the peregrinos did not lose their way, the symbol of a conch shell is located on every road once walked by Saint James. The city of Santiago is littered with conch shells: in gift shops, in murals on the walls, and in the streets and signs.
During our time in Santiago, we wandered around the city, visited the local market and went into the cathedral itself. We also visited two museums packed with antique artifacts that I so desperately wanted to touch.
The cathedral was magnificent, which was to be expected. I'm still trying to get accustomed to Catholicism, because there are many aspects that I don't understand. Traditions like rosary beads, confession, hugging and kissing statues, and more never fail to go over my head.
We left the cathedral in great need of rest and food. To my surprise, our hotel was very different from normal hotels. An old monastery converted into a hotel, there were still many remnants of history left behind in the architecture and design. We ate like Queens and Kings there, with one particular waiter making sure we ate everything. Every meal he armed himself with a perpetually playful frown and the only English word he seemed to know: 'Finish!'
Santiago was certainly an exquisite adventure, looking more like a fairytale than a modern-day city. The people were friendly, the town was clean, and, all in all, it was a wonderful place to visit. We left at 8 in the morning for our next destination: Lugo!