A night out in Santiago de Compostela after having walked 800km
Santiago de Compostela threw a party for me, or at least that’s what it felt like. July 31st, the day of my arrival, saw the last day of a week of activities celebrating the feast day of Santiago (which falls on July 25th). The town was absolutely buzzing when I went to meet my Spanish travelling companions in front of the Cathedral. Cafe’s bustled into the street, buskers played from every corner and students and peregrinos rubbed shoulders in the dense, worn stone little calles of the old town.
From the Cathedral I walked a little way and fell in love with opera. Round the corner from the cathedral under an arch of fantastic acoustics two buskers performed various arias from Italian opera. I have heard opera and seen opera before but never developed a taste for it. But here in Santiago sitting on dirty stone steps with fellow peregrinos I listened to these stupendous voices boom through this cathedral arch. A crowd formed and we were given a performance of the voice that brought shivers down the spine.
It was to be a night of music. After the opera we watched a Celtic bagpipe band (Galician culture is strongly Celtic influenced), then passed several busking guitarists, a violinist and a rather scary looking clown. Then into a crowded little cafe for beers and the most delicious pinchos (bar food similar to tapas). I ran into many familiar faces as we moved from little crowded pub to little crowded pub in the narrow alleyways. In one place I ate the Spanish delicacy of pig’s ears (much softer and fattier than I’d imagined).
Then onto the concert (with fireworks going off in the background) where some local bands played before a packed audience of peregrinos in sandals and fleeces, students in jeans and t-shirts and touragrinos (tourists who bused it into Santiago) with their polo shirts and bumbags. It was a fantastic night of partying and a great way to cap off our arrival. This old town with it’s old buildings and winding streets of bars and cafes is just alive at night and for once I had no peregrino Albergue curfew to adhere to 😉