Green Spain-Departure

Santiago de Compostela
September 19 – 26, 2022


Santiago de Compostela

I woke up feeling much, much better than I expected. I had assumed that I would be a mass of aches and pains, barely able to crawl out of bed. But nope! I felt great! Yes, there were some pain points, but in general, movement was unhindered and it was no problem meeting the group for breakfast at 8 am.

Why were we having breakfast so early if it was the last day? Well, David and Hana had to load the bikes onto the trailer and get south to their base of operations in Malaga as quickly as possible. The Canadians were not in such a great hurry, but their plans were similar: they would keep “their” bikes and ride to Malaga, but at a much more relaxed pace. I admit that while I was looking forward to going home, I was also a little jealous.

Post-breakfast was a steady stream of activity. The Canadians were busy packing up their bikes for their ride, and Dan and I helped Hana and David load the “Swiss” bikes and Hana’s bike onto their trailer. Ok, maybe we didn’t help so much as “watch”, but there was moral support!

Last bike on and getting buttoned up for the journey

Once Hana and David pulled out, Dan and I watched the Canadians stream out of the parking garage and take off for their next adventure. Yes, I wouldn’t mind at all riding to southern Spain. Or riding anywhere, really. I had a great week and despite yesterday’s mishap, I was ready to ride some more.

And (their) adventure continues!

It was just the four of us now. Micah was chilling in the hotel room, but Mac, Dan, and I wanted to do something with the few hours we had left. It was 9 am and we didn’t have to check out until noon. That was three hours of exploration time!

Because our arrival in Santiago was so delayed (Monday instead of Friday), we hadn’t had a good chance to really enjoy the historic town. Now was our opportunity, and the three of us headed back in that direction to see what else there was to see.

Back to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

With all of the Way of the Clam signs and people I had seen, it was nice to come back here and appreciate it as the goal of so many people’s journeys. The “Praza do Obradoiro” (plaza in front of the cathedral) wasn’t empty, but I could imagine it packed with people on holidays and festivals. Today the crowds were comprised of quite a few successful pilgrims, celebrating their arrival with hugs, photos and even some tears. It was interesting to watch them interact with each other and, in an even more interesting manner, themselves.

Completion stones in the plaza

Happy pilgrims

After people-watching for a little bit we eventually wandered around to the back side of the cathedral. I’m not sure if we could have easily gone inside, but I assumed that entry would be limited at such an important and popular destination.

Fonte dos Cabalos

Oooh, fancy clam!

Door of Forgiveness of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

So much symbolism

It was easy to get lost in the history of a place like this. The people who lived here, the things they did, the events that took place – so much I’d love to know! But alas, my Time Machine was in the shop so I’d have to settle with making up my own stories.

Interior of a building, mid-renovation

It was a beautiful Monday and the streets were just populated enough to give the town an energetic vibe, but not make me feel like I was wading through a sea of humanity. The three of us kept wandering, no particular destination in mind, taking lefts or rights as the scenery dictated. There really were no wrong turns here.

Now that’s a simple – and old – door knocker design

Covenant of Santo Agostiño – Xesuítas

We eventually found ourselves at the Mercado de Abastos de Santiago – the fish market of Santiago. I think that we were there at an odd time, as many of the stalls were empty or closed up. End of the season? Monday morning? Whatever the reason, the market was quiet today.

Old Market stone

New Market stone

Olivo Centenario – which actually was planted as part of a city renewal project in 2008

Beauty underfoot

Last night’s dinner location!

The fine art of stone carving

Still room for renewal

The only acceptable form of street art

The hotel that we were originally supposed to stay at for our early arrival in Santiago

Zürich? I think we took a wrong turn somewhere

We were making our way back to the hotel. There was some last-minute packing to do and lunch to take care of. Our taxi arrived to take us the half hour to the airport and – just like that – we were on our way home. It had been a fantastic experience and reinforced my love of Green Spain and the beauty that it holds.

Dan taking life too seriously

I’m leaving on a jet plane; don’t know when I’ll be back again

Next time I come, I’d like it to be with Dan, on our own motorcycles, and with more time to explore this beautiful corner of the world. Life is what you make of it, and I intend to make the most of it.

Thanks for reading!