Santiago, Sardines and Shopping

There is Santiago beyond the historical centre, monuments and pilgrims. This is what we set to discover on a bright Thursday morning. To be more precise, we wanted to do some shopping and give it another try after Tuesday. The receptionist at the hotel had given us directions to shopping streets earlier but we’d only made a short and lousy effort. Being in busy shopping areas and the thought squeezing into tiny fitting rooms had been too much on Tuesday afternoon. I was met by angst in five minutes in Zara. I had been so pleased with my Camino and then I felt horrible and ugly in the shop in my sports gear. Had no choice but to escape. Now then, after a couple of days in town it was much easier to approach the shopping areas.

There were busy streets beyond the tourist attractions. In the morning the streets would be bustling with people going to work, unlike the countryside where we would not see a soul in the mornings except the occasional herds with cows or sheep. There were parents with children on their way to nursery school and school. Those tiny boys and girls in their school uniforms: orange and green or maroon and navy blue; pleated skirts, trousers, cardigans and vests. So cute! I bet the children do not love the uniforms but they certainly looked nice. A bit older children seemed all to have their rucksacks on wheels – they where pulling something like old ladies’ shopping charts but with hello kitty, angry birds etc on them.

We also saw cafes and restaurants that were crowded but with no tourists at all. The other day we’d had lunch at Traperia Boroa. The service was not that friendly at first and we were sent upstairs to an empty hall because we were only two – or because we were tourists? Well, other people would soon follow us, and yes all came in twos. The starters were the best ever, chipirones (small octopus) with tiny grilled belly peppers. The main course I chose was baklava which was also very good. All this was accompanied with water, wine and cafe solo or dessert. And all this for 11 euros! It was a late lunch around 2:30 and we did not feel hungry for the rest of the day.

In the end we did not do much shopping, some souvenirs and presents to take home. Among them were conchas (shells), a cook book (:- a book on Galician seafood dishes), some postcards and a rosary to remind of the journey afterwards and to help me calm down. We found a nice park near Porta Faxeiras and near Carballeira de Santa Susana, a big park, and decided to have coffee a llevar/take away there. It was in the end much more relaxing to sit in a park, sip coffee and enjoy people watching. There were quite many people jogging, coming out of and going into the big park. Teenagers on break. Pensioners taking breaks, mothers, grandparents and children (both with babies and older children like a mother with a daughter expecting a grandchild). This was part of Santiago and Spain too. The family seemed to be there for each other, all generations. Grandpas and grandmas pushing prams or walking hand in hand with small schoolchildren. Three generations having their evening walks or on their way to a meal.

Come lunch time we strolled towards the old town and the street full of restaurants. There were fish and sea food on display in the restaurant windows. The had something like small locker windows full of e.g. pulpo, calamari, crabs and mussels. Hoy sardinos caught our eyes and sardines it was we had for lunch. And some tortilla espagnol and calamares. The place was busy and full of locals. A lovely lunch in a bustling restaurant.

 Spanish omelette and deep fried octopuss – sorry no picture of the sardines.

The evening was topped with an open air concert by a municipal brass band playing Bach and some Spanish pieces the names of which I cannot remember and I’ve lost the programme. This was on Praza da Quintana right by the cathedral. We all sat on the cathedral steps. What a way to finish a good day! Saw even the first sparrows on the steps – the first ones in Spain, had been wondering how come there were no sparrows in Spain.

 Praza da Quintana, view from the cathedral steps before the orchestra was there.

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