Amanda Bennett: A Year in Zaragoza, Spain

Fotos y Final March 11, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — psychohistoria @ 10:50 am
The main facade of the Catedral de Santiago
The famous statue of Santiago on the romanesque Pórtico de la Gloria by Maestro Mateo

A special indulgence offered due to the Año Jacobeo – if you say a “Our Father” or a “Hail Mary” and then take communion, you can get a pardon for the sins of a deceased relative! (I didn’t know these things still existed in the Catholic Church.)

The statue of Santiago that dominates the special Año Jacobeo door.

The interior of the Cathedral. Note the botafumiero above the priest and the classic romanesque architecture.

On Sunday morning, we opportunely stumbled upon a monastery of nuns which sold sweets and were able to buy a Tarta de Santiago, the typical cake-pie of the city which is like a pecan pie but made with coarsely ground almonds instead. Absolutely delicious!!!! Combined with orange juice at a Celtic-influenced café, it made the perfect Sunday morning breakfast (also the perfect pre-train snack that afternoon, dessert that evening, and before-school breakfast the next day as well!).

Determined to experience the emotional approach of the cathedral via the Camino de Santiago, we explored the outskirts of the city, walking through the Alameda park and part of the historic university campus to arrive at the Camino (the pilgrimmage path) which we followed back to the city despite the drizzle. Feeling very “peregrina”, we took photos in front of the yellow arrows and shell-shaped trail markers (Saint James is easily identifiable for the shell adorning his clothes, acquired during his postmortum sea journey to Galicia) and arrived at the cathedral in its full glory – a fulfilling and necessary experience.

Our train back to Zaragoza was due to arrive at 6:30 am, in time for us to go home and prepare for classes which start at 9. However, the train experienced some delays and we pulled into the station right when my art history class was beginning! A nice student told us that the train-hotel almost always arrives late, and we knew that since the delay was more than 2 hours, we would get full ticket refunds. But we still felt bad arriving to class, without our school supplies which were at home, about half an hour late. The matter, however, was out of our hands, and we were pardoned – especially since we came in raving about the great trip and the architectural details of the Cathedral, which we’d studied just the week before!!

Tarta de Santiago, made by nuns and the most delicious ever.

Grass! A park!

Gothic church, part of the Museo do Pobo Galego

Stairs worn by centuries of pilgrims in the Cathedral. They lead to a statue of Santiago which the devout hug from behind.

A cityscape of Santiago. You can see the cathedral and also a couple of glassed-in balconies, really typical of Galician residential architecture.

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