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”

Know your Camino architecture: Romanesque and Gothic

Do you have a favourite type of medieval architecture?  Weird question?  Personally, as a medieval nerd I’m a bit torn between Romanesque and Gothic, but I think the older Romanesque wins out.  Why?  Well firstly it comes down to what they can and can’t do. Romanesque and Gothic are readily identifiable by their trademark arches;Continue reading “Know your Camino architecture: Romanesque and Gothic”

The botafumeiro: the oldest swinger in town

Apologies for the bad pun in the title, but one of the most impressive of all sights for pilgrims who reach Santiago de Compostela is the swinging of the botafumeiro — the great incense burner that hangs from the ceiling of the cathedral.  The botafumeiro (‘smoke expeller’) is essentially a version of the thurible (hand-swungContinue reading “The botafumeiro: the oldest swinger in town”