While I am fortunate enough to have two friends from Galicia, neither had mentioned how different it feels (physically – it was chilly!) from the rest of Spain. Thus, I was surprised to find a place in Santiago de Compostela that looked more like Germany than anywhere I had seen in Spain (with bagpipes thrown in for good measure).
It is really special to see the excitement of the pilgrims as they enter the square in front of the cathedral after walking for hundreds of kilometers. Their enthusiasm is contagious – the hikers I ended up rooming with made it sound like a grand adventure considering the hazards they faced in the alburgues (pilgrim hostels), like loud snorers and bedbugs, and on the trail. While I did convince the hostel to stamp my notebook (only a few dozen more stamps needed to get my compostela!), I stuck to more pedestrian pursuits like the Museum of the Galician people (difficult to understand since everything is written in gallego) and checking out some of the local churches.
There’s a value in blending into the crowd. That became very clear to me stepping off the bus into Muxía on a Sunday morning and finding myself the only one not wearing a jacket. Fortunately, the weather turned out to be windier and rainier than I had reckoned so while I admired the town and its pretty coastline, I mainly focused on how I’d stay warm until the 6:45 bus (just one a day) back to Santiago. It was a lot easier to admire the verdant green hills and tiny villages from the dry interior of the bus.