Posts Tagged ‘Santiago de Compostela’

Botafumeiro

March 26, 2015

misa para los peregrinos

misa para los peregrinos

catching sunbeams

catching sunbeams

setting Botafumeiro in motion

setting Botafumeiro in motion

setting in Botafumeiro motion

setting Botafumeiro in motion

catching sunbeams

catching sunbeams

Botafumeiro  is a censer that is swung at special services in Catedral de Santiago in Santiago de Compostela.

It is swung at the special Friday evening mass, and occasionally at other masses too.

I witnessed the occasion at Friday evening mass last week. It takes place at the end of the mass. The censor is lowered, filled with burning charcoal, then with eight men pulling on ropes, it swings into the transepts, almost to the ceiling.

It is quite dramatic when first seen, accompanied by loud organ music.

Each day at midday a special mass for pilgrims.

Saturday midday mass, the censer was swung, as it was at the mass following the midday mass on Sunday.

The clergy in attendance were robed in purple not green. Those pulling the ropes robed in claret.

Friday and Saturday, the censer was stopped. On the Sunday it was allowed to swing and slowly slowly come to a halt.

The description on Wikipedia, like most things on Wikipedia, false. No way was 40kg of charcoal and incense shovelled into the censer. Nor did the swinging censer fill the cathedral with smoke or produce large volumes of smoke. Botafumeiro is normally found suspended at the end of the rope, not kept in the cathedral library.

The Botafumeiro is suspended from a pulley mechanism in the dome in the centre of the cathedral, the entire mechanism flexes as it is swung.

Aeropuerto de Santiago de Compostela

March 24, 2015
Aeropuerto de Santiago de Compostela

Aeropuerto de Santiago de Compostela

I arrived a week ago at Aeropuerto de Santiago de Compostela, late at night and tired. I took the airport bus which passed through the ugly part of town.

My return to the airport, pressed for time, I took a taxi.

A far more pleasant journey, through open countryside.

Why did I not change my flight, stay longer?

Airport bookshop had interesting best-sellers, books from Paulo Coelho and This Changes Everything / Esto Lo Cambio Todo from Naomi Klein.

best-sellers Paulo Coelho

best-sellers Paulo Coelho

This Changes Everything from Naomi Klein

This Changes Everything from Naomi Klein

Misa para los peregrinos

March 22, 2015
setting Botafumeiro in motion

setting Botafumeiro in motion

setting Botafumeiro in motion

setting Botafumeiro in motion

catching sunbeams

catching sunbeams

Each and every day a special mass in Catedral de Santiago for pilgrims who have walked El Camino de Santiago.

Today Sunday, the cathedral packed, standing room only.

No sooner had the mass  finished, then another mass presided over by the Bishop.

For the midday mass, there was no swinging of the censer or Botafumeiro, but for the mass that followed there was. The difference to the other days, it was allowed to slowly slowly, swing to a halt.

Misa para los peregrinos

March 21, 2015
misa para los peregrinos

misa para los peregrinos

catching sunbeams

catching sunbeams

Each day at midday, a special mass in Catedral de Santiago for pilgrims who have walked El Camino de Santiago.

I was not sure what to expect, a cathedral full of pilgrims, pilgrims lining up to be blessed.

From what I could follow, a list of pilgrims read out.

As with special mass last night, the censer or Botafumeiro was swung.

Hamburguesa en A-Vaca

March 20, 2015
disgusting hamburger in A-Vaca

disgusting hamburger in A-Vaca

I strongly recommend A-Vaca as a place to avoid.

Service without a smile.

I ordered a classic burger.

When it arrived it tasted disgusting. And why no lettuce or tomato?

As I bit into it, I found the outside cooked, the inside raw and oozing blood.

As I was sat by the counter, I angrily pushed it across the counter, said it was disgusting, and to make the point, wiped my fingers now dripping with blood, across their clean wooden counter.

My reaction did not go down too well.

They tried to claim, uncooked, dripping blood, was normal. No apology for what I had been served.

Note: Talking to locals, they have all been disgusted at how the burger was served.

At this point I should have got up and walked out.

Instead of cooking afresh they simply reheated a little more the burger I had rejected. But still it was disgusting.

Then to add insult to injury, they overcharged me on the bill.

They insisted I had ordered a different more expensive burger. I had not.

I refused to pay  more.

I counted it out and walked out.

As I walked out, I was shouted at: Go home!

When a place is this bad, so bad it should be closed down, it is important an official complaint is filed. Demand the complaint book. If they refuse, that is a grounds for further complaint.

I walked out and did not think to file a complaint. But a few days later, a formal complaint was filed with the Tourist Information Office.

A big question mark needs to be raised re the glowing reviews on TripAdvior. All in Spanish, all singing from the same hymn sheet the praises of the burgers.

A-Vaca is not serving quality burgers, and anyone who says  otherwise has never eaten a quality burger made from quality ingredients.

I suggest try New Forest Steak Burgers on Winchester market or The Advisory in Hackney.

The chips served were surprisingly quite good. But why in a silly little basket where they get cold, rather than on the plate?

If you wish to try fresh made burgers, try O Paris. I have not, but their soup and cakes are delicious. And the staff are pleasant.

Gambos al la plancha

March 20, 2015
gambas a la plancha

gambas a la plancha

Gambas a la plancha in Restaurante Los Sobrinos del Padre, where I had previously had soup.

Grilled prawns. Very salty and very messy

Catedral de Santiago

March 20, 2015
Catedral de Santiago

Catedral de Santiago

Catedral de Santiago is the final destination for pilgrims walking El Camino de Santiago.

Catedral de Santiago is the final resting place for the remains of Santiago Apóstol, the Apostle James, brother of John the Baptist, and follower of Jesus.

Midday each day, a special mass is held for pilgrims.

Friday evening a special mass is held where the Botafumeiro is swung.

I attended mass four times, spent different times of the day wandering around inside the cathedral, sitting in quiet contemplation, even one evening walked the stations of the cross, had a chat with the priests, Holy Communion from the Bishop.

What struck me looking at the gold and the figures that are the centre piece, that if I was not aware I was in a Catholic Church I could have been in a Hindu temple as the figures were very much reminiscent of that seen in Hindu art.

The gold centre piece is breathtaking, as is the swinging of Botafumeiro.

The centre of the gold centre piece, is not as would expect Jesus or Mary, but Santiago. You can walk up and through, and hug the Saint.

Buried below in a tiny crypt in a silver casket are his remains.

Before visiting the cathedral, I would recommend first a visit to Monasterio de San Martín Pinario, which contains the original carved choir stalls from the cathedral.

Festa de San Xosé

March 20, 2015
traditional musicians and dancers

traditional musicians and dancers

Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho

flamenco

flamenco

book signing

book signing

Welcome to the most exclusive party in the world. — Paul Coelho

Each year Paulo Coelho celebrates St Joseph´s Day with his friends.

This year in Santiago de Compostela in Paradores Hostales de los Reyes Catolicos, a former hospital for the poor and infirm, now a Parador.

Pilgrims follow a path,  follow their dreams, follow the signs.

Joseph followed the signs when he escaped to Egypt with the two-year-old Jesus.

Pilgrims followed El Camino de Santiago to Santiago de Compostela. El Camino de Santiago was an important medieval pilgrimage route. By the mid-1980s it was almost forgotten, until Paulo Coelho walked The Way and wrote of his experience in The Pilgrimage.

Reception with cocktails was held in the former chapel. Traditional music and dancers. Followed by prayers.

Then dinner in a spectacular dining room.

The dancers, led by Paulo Coelho holding a bagpipe, led us into dinner.

During dinner, amazing flamenco, or Galician variation of flamenco.

Midnight onwards, music, book signing.

Tortilla en Milonga´s

March 18, 2015
tortilla

tortilla

i was amazed at the size. Enough for two or three people. In Puerto de la Cruz, a slice.

Very poor quality compared with Puerto de la Cruz.

Very poor service.

Hotel Costa Vella

March 18, 2015
Hotel Costa Vella

Hotel Costa Vella

Jardín de Hotel Costa Vella

Jardín de Hotel Costa Vella

I looked in Hotel Costa Vella where I would have stayed. I had a chat with the architect.

He explained they were using materials that matched the house.

I had  learnt earllier that Paulo Coelho had stayed at the hotel.

Paulo Coelho wrote, The Pilgrimage describing his experience of walking El Camino de Santiago.

Final destination for pilgrims walking El Camino de Santiago is Santiago de Compostela.