Azabachería, the final façade…

Azabachería, the final façade… it sounds like the opening of a Patrick Steward Star Trek monologue.  We might well say ‘boldly going where no peregrino has gone before’, because although this north façade of the cathedral is the first that most peregrinos pass as they finish the francés/primitivo/norte/ingles routes, it’s usually ignored in the rushContinue reading “Azabachería, the final façade…“

Royal Pilgrims

The last time I was in Santiago de Compostela, it was crowded with Germans, most of whom were named Heckler & Koch.  I could almost hear Malcolm Tucker from The Thick of It in my head swearing that there were enough goons hovering around to stage a coup d’état.  In fact I probably haven’t seenContinue reading “Royal Pilgrims”

Platerías facade

For many peregrinos, undertaking the Camino and visiting the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela gives them a connection with pilgrims past, and much of their spiritual comfort comes from feeling part of a millennium-long continuum, rather than from visiting apostolic relics.[1]  In this vein, the Platerías facade (Pratarías in Gallego) offers them one of theContinue reading “Platerías facade”

Santiago/St James in the Last Supper

Given that it’s Easter weekend I thought Santiago in the art of the Last Supper might make an interesting post.  When we think of artistic representation of the Last Supper, the first painting that comes to mind is undoubtedly Leonardo da Vinci’s fresco in the Dominican convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, in Milan.[1]  ButContinue reading “Santiago/St James in the Last Supper”

The Cross and the Camino: the Crucifix of Santo Domingo de la Calzada

Apologies to the sculptor and commissioners, but the newly installed crucifix of the cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada in La Rioja (a town I really like and featured previously) – it looks like it was made of Playmobil (a Lego-like product, manufactured in Spain).  It did get me thinking about what a crucifixContinue reading “The Cross and the Camino: the Crucifix of Santo Domingo de la Calzada”

Rattle and hum: the towers of the Obradoiro façade

Following on from my last post on the Obradoiro façade, where we looked at the central portion in particular, let’s now take a little closer look at the sides.  In fairness, as you face the façade, your eyes are drawn to the centre such that it’s sometimes hard to appreciate the two flanking towers thatContinue reading “Rattle and hum: the towers of the Obradoiro façade”

The front of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela – the Obradoiro façade

It’s the one in all the postcards and selfies, and anyone who has walked/cycled that far has almost certainly had their moment immortalized in pixels and probably taken a few photos for others too. Everybody say ‘Quesoooooo’! The western façade of the cathedral was the brainchild of Fernando de Casas Novoa, who began construction inContinue reading “The front of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela – the Obradoiro façade”

The four façades of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

The cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, built over the supposed resting place of the Apostle James/Santiago, is one of the most incredible medieval buildings on earth.  I, quite frankly, love it.  The first time I entered it was on a late evening in August 2016, after a friend from America and another from Germany andContinue reading “The four façades of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela”

The Camino and the Spanish Civil War (part 6 – Santiago de Compostela)

At the east end of the cathedral (the ‘back’, so to speak) the square known as Praza da Quintana is divided into two levels, the lower Quintana de Mortos (‘Square of the Dead’) used to be a cemetery until the end of the eighteenth century, and above the steps lies the Quintana de Vivos (‘SquareContinue reading “The Camino and the Spanish Civil War (part 6 – Santiago de Compostela)”

Medieval Mapping – a superior technique for a modern pilgrim?

When chatting about guides and maps to the Camino, John Brierley’s A Pilgrim’s Guide is often spoken of approvingly, particularly for its maps.  Indeed, a separate smaller maps-only versions of his guide to the Camino Francés and Camino Portugués are also available.  Part of the reason they are so successful is that they follow aContinue reading “Medieval Mapping – a superior technique for a modern pilgrim?”