Today was definitely “time to play tourist” day. We woke up at around 9am and just relaxed in our rooms for a bit, trying to figure out what our plans for today were. We had checked the weather conditions the night before and determined that Saturday had the best weather, so we decided to go the beach then. Hanna surprised us by arriving at around 10am, so we went and grabbed breakfast together at the cafe/restaurante beside our hostel. Gianina chose a croissant with her cafe con leche while Hanna, Amairani and I had chocolate con churros. The chocolate was thick enough for us to dunk our churros in, but not too thick that we couldn´t drink it afterwards. We were also given complimentary glasses of cornbread and freshly-squeezed orange juice.
After breakfast we went back to our rooms to grab our stuff for the day, and went out to explore Santiago de Compostela. We headed towards the Plaza and figured that as long as we headed towards the church towers, we were going the right way. It took us a bit to reach the edge of the Plaza though, but luckily Gianina has an amazing sense of direction. On the way Amairani and I were able to buy water (it was actually really hot already, surprising because it usually only gets really sunny between 1-5pm in Salamanca). When we entered the Plaza we started looking inside several of the mini tourist shops. Amairani was able to find another magnet to add to her collection, and we both got a few shell necklaces for family – apparently the guy has been painting designs on shells for quite a while!
We finally made it to the Plaza and immediately started taking pictures of the cathedral. We saw two men dressed in costumes and one was not on a stand yet he was around a foot above the ground (I have yet to figure out how they do that), but we didn´t want to pay for a picture with them so we just took a quick snapshot and moved on. Because there was a mass going on we did not get to tour the inside, but we managed to sneak to the side and take a few pictures and videos of the bishops swinging the famous Botafumeiro (the container of incense which is swung side to side).
After posing for and taking pictures by the side of the cathedral, we made our way back to the front entrance. A nice Australian named Andy (a funny coincidence) offered to take our picture for us, and told us that he and his “mates” were going on the camino from France – a 700km journey. He even had an amazing pamphlet with stamps for each of his stops, which would be an amazing addition to his scrapbook. For the pilgrims, El Camino de Santiago is an important pilgrimage to the cathedral where the remains of St. James are said to be buried.
After shopping around a bit more, we went to find a yummy (but cheap) place to have lunch. We ended up entering the Galeon Raiña, this pirate-themed bar and sat at a table in the middle of the restaurant. Hanna and I had hamburgers (mine didn´t have vegetables), Amairani had barbecue with a salad (she forgot to ask for no eggs), and Gianina had a hotdog, saussages, egg and fries. I think Gianina got the best deal out of all of us – the burger was pretty weird.
After lunch we headed out to explore the park. There was a statue of two old ladies in colorful dresses (we originally thought that they were alive), and apparently it is a popular tourist photo opportunity. We spent around 30 or so minutes relaxing in the sun (Amairani and I got some nap time squeezed in by lying down on the benches= but we eventually moved because the birds were getting a bit too friendly. I did manage to get a picture and a video of the bagpipe player before we left!
Along the way to the tourism office, we spotted a harp player and a man playing the sitar. We managed to find the correct tourism office (after entering the wrong ones twice) and got our information for ordering our train and ferry tickets online. We were really tired so on the way home we grabbed a family-sized pepperoni pizza at Domino´s. Then we packed our clothes and other beach essentials for the next day, and went to sleep early because we´d have to get up early tomorrow. I can´t wait to hit the beach, it´s been way too long!