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Mari's Northern Spain and the Camino de Santiago Trip Report

Mari's Northern Spain and the Camino de Santiago Trip Report

Jun 15th, 2005, 02:45 AM
  #61  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Mari,

Thank you for your latest installment in your saga. I can only imagine your emotion when you stood in that beautiful Plaza do Obradoiro and looked up at the Cathedral. Congratulations !

With regards to the restaurant, could Mari or Cova give me the address/ directions? I would like to try it next month.

Question for Cova, Do you think play/ Zarzuela you mention will be playing in early Sept.? My parents will be staying in Madrid for a week then.

Nedsireland,

I'm glad to read about the Botafumeiro swinging on Sats. When I was in Santiago in 2002 it wasn't.
cruiseluv is offline  
Jun 15th, 2005, 03:50 AM
  #62  
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Cova, your are exactly right! The restuarant WAS "O Dezaseis" (#16). DH probably remembers how to get there so I can ask him. The place was packed by the time we left.All locals except for one table. I wish I had been hungrier, it was such a waste of a good restaurant with my being almost full by the time we made there

The Botafumeiro is swung at uncertain hours at best. The pilgrims office says that it is almost sure to swing everyday at noon during the pilgrims mass. Sometimes it will swing in the 7:00PM mass as well if someone makes a 'donation' to the church. The price of this donation allegedly runs around the $300 , but we were warned not to offer to pay because sometimes two or three groups are paying simultaneously to make it swing!

Ned, I LOVED those grelos but I am yet to figure out their american equivalent, if any! Maybe they are turnip greens. I think that collard greens are acelgas but I am not sure. At least that is what I use to make my lame attempt at caldo gallego

The doors on the Portico de la Gloria are not open so you cannot walk into church through them but you can see them from the from in between the outer doors.
marigross is offline  
Jun 15th, 2005, 05:06 AM
  #63  
 
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Hi cruiseluv,

do you know when they will be staying here? I can check next season´s program and tell you if there is something interesting.

"La Parranda" will be on during this month, and next month there is a tiny thing by Pablo Sorozabal at the Teatro Español, "La eterna cancion" (between you and me, I saw it in february and it wasn´t anything special).

Rgds, Cova
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Jun 15th, 2005, 05:15 AM
  #64  
 
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Hola Cova,

They will be there the first week in Sept. ( I think from Sept 1 to Sept 8).
My mom likes plays as well as zarzuelas.
Thanks for any info!

Do you know the street address of O Dezaseis restaurant? Or what is it near? Thanks!!
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Jun 15th, 2005, 05:36 AM
  #65  
 
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Hi cruiseluv,
O Dezaseis address
Rúa de San Pedro, 16
15703 Santiago de Compostela
Tlf: 981564880

It´s located near the Puerta do Camiño, kind of north from the cathedral, not far away from the Bonaval park. The owners are very involved in the traditional galician culture. I´d say that their best dishes are the grilled meats and fish.

I´ll check at home to see if there is something during that week in September. It will be difficult, because it´s kind of an in-between season. Many companies are in other spanish cities during the summer. I think that "Victor or Victoria" with Paloma SanBasilio will open during that week, and if they speak spanish and "Hoy : el diario de Adan y Eva" is still on, that would be a great option with two very good argentinian actors : Miguel Angel Solá and Blanca Oteyza.

I know that at the beginning of september the Scala of Milan Ballet will be at the Teatro Real and the Hong-Kong Ballet will be at the Teatro Albeniz. The program for the Scala Ballet looks quite good, lots of Stravinsky.

Rgds, Cova
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Jun 15th, 2005, 06:11 AM
  #66  
 
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Thanks Cova,

Yes! They do speak spanish, actually it's our native language. And they love Paloma San Basilio, so it would be great if they could see that one. If you find out that it will open that week , let me know what theatre and I'll try to get them tickets over the internet ( if doable). Also, if they sell tickets in advance at the box office maybe I can try getting them when I'm in Madrid in July( only for one day so it might be difficult).

Thanks again for all the info!
cruiseluv is offline  
Jun 15th, 2005, 06:26 AM
  #67  
 
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What a great trip report of such a cool trip! We were in the area last week (feels like an eternity ago) and also went to Santillana del Mar. It was such a surprise and I loved the church and cloisters. The intimacy of it just gave it a special feeling. We were staying with family in Meruelo and saw quite a few pilgrims, as there is, I believe, a church that is a stop or a marker close to their house. Besides the views all over (and the other spoiled views by the incredible amounts of development that is occurring because of the relatively new highways)the groves of eucalyptus were spectacular and their smell - oh that smell. Your description of the walk has only reinforced my wish to do at least a part of the camino when my children are older and I can leave them longer.

One thing, I have always been under the impression that Spaniards have their heavy meal at lunch and a lighter meal at dinner (comida and cena). As a matter of fact, a local lady who made a cocido montanez for us would only do it at lunchtime for us because it is a lunchtime meal, she said. Is this tradition of the heavy lunch slowly phasing out?
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Jun 15th, 2005, 06:52 AM
  #68  
 
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Hi cruiseluv,

Victor/Victoria will probably be a great hit, similar to My Fair Lady or Man of La Mancha. Paloma will be accompanied by Paco Valladares, one of the greatest actors in the spanish theatre (his voice is amazing).
http://es.news.yahoo.com/050531/185/436ne.html

It opens on the 8th of September, but tickets are only sold from the 9th of September onwards :
http://www.topticket.es/victor.htm

Sorry

Cova
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Jun 15th, 2005, 09:15 AM
  #69  
 
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Cova,

Oh No!!!! My mom will be crushed!

Thanks for checking!
cruiseluv is offline  
Jun 15th, 2005, 05:55 PM
  #70  
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This is the last installment of what turned out to be a semi-epic trip report anyway. I want to thank you all for bearing with me this long and more importantly for all your help (specially Cova and Cruiseluv) in planning this great adventure from the drawing board up!!!!!

Our second day in Santiago was sunny and warm. We slowly got up and lazily made our way through town to find a place for breakfast. After wandering around a bit we went into a bar in front of the Philosophy department of the university. Once again we forgot about the size (huge) when you order a bocadillo (sandwich) and asked for two: one jamon and one lomo. There was a constant flow of students coming and going, I saw a large amount of Latin Americans among them. When the two humongous sandwiches arrived I thought that there was nooooo way I would eat all that- boy, was I mistaken. The bread was just perfect, the roasted red peppers were just the right amount of sweet to contrast against the salty lomo. That sandwich took the award for best lomo (ham) and is among the top ten all time sandwiches ever. Naturally, I ate the whole thing. I even considered taking one to go….

Old town Santiago is just perfect to wander aimlessly around. We went back to the Cathedral and purchased our tickets for the crypt and the museums. We (I) wanted to get good seats for the pilgrims mass so we headed upstairs and sat in the front pew looking at the side of the altar as we had been advised by our very knowledgeable guide.

Word of advice for viewing the botafumeiro: #1-SEAT IN THE TRANSEPT (short arm of the cross) NOT IN THE NAVE. (long arm of the cross). #2-ARRIVE EARLY so you can seat in the transept. #3 - The entrance to the cathedral is closed sometime before the mass so refer to #2 again.

Pilgrim’s mass starts at noon, we were firmly entrenched in our prime seats by 11:00 AM. 11:30 would get you a seat in the back and since I could not see the nave I have no idea how soon that filled up. Before the mass a nun came out to practice singing the psalm for the day, the alleluia and the kyrie.

I must say that I have separated from the catholic church but hearing that kyrie (Lord Have Mercy) being beautifully sung in Latin and thinking about how it has been sung and heard by weary pilgrims every day for a millennium in that very spot was one of the most moving experiences I have had. It gave me a sense of continuum through time…there were a lot of teary faces by the time mass ended.

Over the altar you can see the rope used to swing the botafumeiro and it is only tied onto its hook just before it swings. It is impressive! Watching the eight attendants pull and let go until it is full swing. It DOES go just over your head, and it does so at a VERY HIGH SPEED. Stopping that BIG incense burner is just as intense as getting it to go. The attendant stands smack in front of thing’s path (which is approaching him at least 40 miles per hour) and then he grabs the supporting chains just as he steps aside to avoid getting squished. We turns with the botafumeiro until the momentum is broken and he can stop it.

Even if you are not catholic but you have the opportunity to witness this – TAKE IT. It is worth a detour!!!

After mass we went to the museum but we got kicked out for lunch. We were told we could come back at 4:00 so we went to a café and sat and the shade to people watch for two hours. Had a great salad and something that looked to me like baby conch but they had a different name for it – good stuff!

In the afternoon we returned to see the rest of the cathedral museum and the bishop’s palace. Around 6:00 I tried to go shopping for gifts for the little one back home and for my mother who was babysitting but I could not really find anything. DH gave up on me (who would have thought! He stayed with me and endured my slow walking pace for almost 150 km’s and an hour of shopping drove him away!!!! MEN

He settled with a coffee in a terrace in the Praza Acibacheria and I finally found by myself a shop with really cute shirts and coordinated handbags for our fashion conscious 12yr old so the absolute minimum shopping requirement was met. Afterwards we met again I found a beautiful jet pendant with the Cruz de Santiago in gold. That was the total summary for shopping in Spain.

Dinner was in the hotel-recommended restaurant Forno. We had asked about seafood parrillada and we were sent over there. It was good but only tourists in there. I thought it was on the expensive side (remember my 36 euro gastronomical extravaganza in Castro Urdiales?) but we were happy with our meal.

Next morning we had breakfast at a tourist trap not worth mentioning and then visited the church of San Martino Pinario. DO NOT MISS this!!!!! Absolutely wonderful Coro (choir). The one downstairs is in desperate need of restoration (the rest of the church as well) and the one upstairs was recently restored. Marvelous! We went back to our hotel to check out and catch a taxi to the airport for our flight to Madrid. We killed half and hour in the Costa Vella garden, which is absolutely beautiful for an afternoon drink (they are open to the public).

Flight to Madrid was no problem whatsoever and we were picked up by the hotel shuttle (Villa Barajas Best Western) about 10 minutes after we called. After settling our stuff down we boarded the metro and headed to Plaza del Sol. We ate a few tapas at el Champi and Luis Candelas – I KNOW they are tourist traps but some of their stuff is good and it has almost become a Madrid tradition for us!!! We got hopelessly full so we had to forego dinner. Later we moved to a sidestreet café where I finally had some chocolate con churros. At around 10:00 PM we had to accept that it was over and that we had to head back to the hotel so that we could get some sleep before our morning flight back home.

And that my Fodor’s friends, in the end of Mari’s Northern Spain and the Camino de Santiago Trip Report

****************************************

marigross is offline  
Jun 15th, 2005, 08:40 PM
  #71  
 
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Mari,

Thank you for the level of detail you provided in your report. I'm sorry to see it come to an end but of course, we can continue talking about it.

I was glad to read that the Botafumeiro is "swingin" this year. Do you know if the Pilgrims mass is every day at noon( including Sat/ Sundays)?

Thank you again for your time. I'm sure I'll think of more q's since I'll be vsiting Santiago in July.
cruiseluv is offline  
Jun 15th, 2005, 09:03 PM
  #72  
 
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I never really thought about visiting Spain. Thanks so much for enlightening me. I greatly enjoyed your trip report. Happy travels.
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Jun 18th, 2005, 08:55 AM
  #73  
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Cruise, the address for Casa Pancho is Calle San Lorenzo 13-15, Burgos. Do not worry at sitting by yourself in the bar - who cares what they think? There were lots of families meeting there so its not like a BAR bar

I am leaving today for a week in Madrid so I will take a Fodor's break for a while. I have just printed an updated Madrid Maribel file to take with me and read on the airplane so I know I will be in good hands. Talk to you soon I'm off to meet with a cochinillo that are calling my name over the Atlantic! (or is it maybe a cocido madrileño that I can hear.....)
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Jun 18th, 2005, 01:09 PM
  #74  
 
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Hi Mari,
in case I get you before you fly away ... "La Parranda" is totally recommended I am just back, and it was really great.

And pack light ... it´s being really hot in Madrid right now, thanks God for the AC

rgds, Cova
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Jun 18th, 2005, 01:48 PM
  #75  
 
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Mari,
Was so happy to see your posting on your hotel in Leon. we're going to be driving into Leon this august to Posada Regia. Would you recommend staying somewhere easier to find with easier parking? And what about its restaurant? Is it pricy? Also, did you like Leon more or Burgos. We want to see new art museum in Leon.
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Jun 27th, 2005, 03:56 PM
  #76  
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OK Fodorites, I'm back from my Madrid week. I'll post separately and BRIEFLY on my impressions from that (buisness) trip.

Cova, Madrid WAS hot! And that coming from a Boricua. I thought I would faint! I didnt make it to the Parranda

Astur, I would go again to Regia Leon. I just would make sure to have driving directions and a map with me. I think that all hotels within the old city quarters are going to have the same parking constraints. Our room was very nice and the bathroom was comfortable. Breakfast was included in the price.

We never had a chance to try their restaurant since we got a little carried away tapa hopping on our singel night in Leon.

The cathedral is breathtaking!!!!!
marigross is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2005, 03:10 AM
  #77  
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topping for Joanie_ET

buen camino!!!
marigross is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 02:16 AM
  #78  
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TTT for Schuler.
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Jan 10th, 2006, 05:24 AM
  #79  
 
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Hola Mari,

I'm glad to see you on the boards. I have a question for you. Ever since I read your report of your experience with Spanish Steps I have been giving serious consideration to doing this trip with them. I might do their Camino del Norte itinerary since I just love that area. However, my husband and son want to do the "real Camino" and don't want to do the "fake camino" as they call the Spanish Steps tour. So my question for you is: is it the kind of experience that a person traveling single would enjoy? I recognize that the composition of the group will have a lot to do with what the answer to this question is but I would appreciate if you take a stab at giving me your opinion.

How many people were in your group? Were they all traveling as couples?

I would appreciate any insights/ opinions you can offer. ˇGracias!
María
cruiseluv is offline  
Jan 11th, 2006, 02:36 AM
  #80  
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Hola Cruise!
I would not be too preocupied with going alone. When you are hiking long distances there are soooo many things that can happen that even if you start out as a group or couple you can wind up walking by yourself anyway.

DH walks a lot faster than I do and even though he mostly slowed down to match my pace, sometimes he would stop for a coffee or a glass of wine while I kept walking and then catch up with me. This was perfectly fine with me because I dont mind at all to walk alone.

The group I joined had been hiking for a week before since they were doing the 'highlights' tour. At the time there were two twosomes of awesome older ladies, a mother (late 60's)-daughter (mid 40's) twosome and a single middle aged guy.

When we met the group in Ponferrada there also wer an older couple (she walked some and he rode most of the way) and then there was a couple in their early 50's with their teenaged niece.
I think the niece was the only one slightly out of group but she was quite pleasant and the tour guides went out of their way to make her feel OK. She busted a knee (trying to keep up pace with the guys) and had to ride with the guides after the third day of walking.

The Camino del Norte seems awesome!!! Have you already started breaking your hiking shoes????
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