Day 4 – Santiago de Compostela

Wednesday 1 May 2024 – The target for the day was to retrieve the panzer from its car park spot, use it to get us to Santiago Airport (via A Thing To See that Jane had identified as a diversion for us) and thence be wafted to our hotel in downtown Santiago on a pre-booked taxi.  We achieved much of this, though not entirely without incident.

Our first concern was that someone or something might have damaged the tank in the car park, but all seemed fine when we got to it. The two days’ parking charge was a princely €12, which I’d say is remarkably cheap for parking inside the walls of an ancient Roman city.

The first incident concerned getting out of Lugo.  Whilst we were wandering around, we noticed that there was a huge amount of road maintenance/repair/upgrade work going on.  While I suppose it’s good that crappy old roads are being upgraded, the result looks a bit like this.

It’s a lovely smooth surface, but it seems a bit sterile in the context of the traditional buildings that surround it. The combination of frequent roadworks and such surfaces also means, as we found out, that such a surface gives the tank driver no clue as to where the nearest route might be that would enable him to squeeze out through the walls. Satnavs were of no use, as the brand new roadworks perpetually conflcted with the on-screen directions given.  All in all, it was reminiscent of an episode in the Canary islands when we drove round a town called Arucas for what seemed like several hours trying to find an exit which wasn’t blocked by roadworks.

We made it, eventually, and without any damage to the beemer, thankfully.

So, the Thing To See was next: an ancient temple in the tiny village of Santa Eulalia de Bóveda, a few kilometres off the main drag between Lugo and Santiago. Exactly how ancient seems to be a matter of debate; many sources claim it was Roman, but at least one other I’ve seen talks about it as a Visigoth site. Who knows?  Maybe visiting it might help clarify?


The satnav took us along successively narrower roads until it swore we were in the village of Santa Eulalia. We drove very slowly through it on a very narrow road, trying not to run down a beagle which was intent on being friendly. The building which Jane thought might be the temple seemed a bit covered in scaffolding, but there was nowhere to park and no way of turning round to go back and look again to see if that was the temple. Eventually some people, not unconnected with the beagle, came along and Jane had a chat with them, as a result of which we discovered the place was closed today.


Jane had checked that it was open on Wednesdays, but this Wednesday was May 1st, a holiday – International Workers’ Day; or International Non-workers’ Day as it should more properly be called. Anyway, the practical upshot was that our best move would be simply to carry on to Santiago, which we did, along beautifully-surfaced but alarmingly narrow roads and with short but lively debates at each intersection between country lanes as to whether we should believe TomTom or Google Maps’ advice about which was the better route to Satiago airport.

The route we ended up driving along was the road that led through many of the towns that the Camino Francés winds through. So we drove through Medlide and Arzua in some 15 minutes, as opposed to the several hours it took us on foot last Autumn.

From there on, our journey to our hotel in Santiago proceeded smoothly.  Enterprise car rentals agreed that we hadn’t damaged their precious beemer, and Jane persuaded our pre-arranged transport driver to turn up early to take us from the airport into town.  (The driver did a good job of actually coming to find us rather than skulking outside whilst we searched for him).  The taxi was one of these vast van-sized Mercedes people movers, and I have to say I’m glad it was he who was driving – getting through the streets of Santiago old town is not a job for the faint of heart. But he managed it without any crashing, swearing or gesticulation and deposited us outside our hotel.

This is the very fine Mosteiro de San Martiño Pinario, an absolutely vast establishment which was once a monastery and which dwarfs the very substantial cathedral opposite which it stands.

The red blob above is the entrance; the blue blob is where our room is. Ignore the “temporarily closed” – I can vouch it’s open, because I’m currently sitting in the bar, drinking gin served by a very courteous and generous barman. Because it was originally a monastery, the rooms are agreeably monkish; this is the sight that greeted us as we opened the door to our room.

and the room is comfortable enough, but luxurious? Nope.

That’s why I’m writing this in the bar, altogether a more appealing environment for content creation. And I am indeed content.

As one would expect, there are many monasterical touches: stone-floored and wooden-beamed corridors

rows of monkish cells;


(note the Camino sign in the middle);

and agreeable spots for sitting and contemplating.

So we’re well set up for an overnight stay before embarking on the meat of this sojourn in Galicia – the Camino Finisterre. For nostalgic reasons, we did take a stroll through Santiago, to reacquaint ourselves with the cathedral

and opposite it the Pazo de Raxoi, a French neoclassical palace which now serves as the town hall, now free of the scaffolding which disfigured it when we were last here.

We also took a bite of lunch at the Taberna de Fuego Lento, a lively downtown eatery. All this wandering around had to be done paying due respect to the Galician weather which was being very, well, Galician; sunshine one minute and the next…

…one is glad for nearby shelter.

I seem to have found quite a lot to write about in what I had actually expected to be an unremarkable day. It may be a case of displacement activity to stop me thinking too much about tomorrow; as usual, day one of any extended walk always seem to be the tough one, and tomorrow will have its challenges. I will of course write about them so that you can sympathise with my pain, as I’m sure you’re only too certain to do. So be sure to keep an eye on these pages so you can have a good laugh about our exploits.




One thought on “Day 4 – Santiago de Compostela

  1. Kate Burridge

    Bravo on driving that beamer! It is so gorgeous there. I love the rain! (Thus Ireland).


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