May 31st – June 4th, 2016
We met up with Annukka, Cassia’s mother-in-law, in Santiago de Compostela. I met her last year when we were all visiting Adelaide. She’s pretty much the nicest person ever. She was on a roadtrip around Galicia and had offered to not only let us stay with her in Santiago, but also drive us back to Elche, on the SE coast of Spain. It was awesome travelling with her because she knows so much stuff about Spain!
She took us to a restaurant in the market where you buy your own protein and then they cook it for you. We had to sign up as soon as the restaurant opened in the morning because it’s very small and they fill up every day. It was incredible. We had a feast of mussels, clams, steak, hamburger, goose barnacles, salad, bread, and Galician white wine. Everything was delicious, but I especially loved the goose barnacles.
Goose barnacles are these crazy looking things that only grow in rough tidal waters. They’re about an inch or two long. They’re really famous (and expensive) in Galicia, Spain (although apparently they also grow in Tofino!). To eat them you have to pry open the claw-like end, and then try and rip through the thick leathery tube end. Then you are left with a small bit of meat that is kind of sweet like crab. Very cool.
We went into the Santiago de Compostela cathedral to see the tomb of St. James, which apparently they “lost” for 300 years, then “miraculously” “found” under the front steps of the cathedral right when the camino needed revitalization. I am skeptical. :P We also got to walk through a special holy door of forgiveness that is only open during holy years. 2016 wasn’t supposed to be a holy year but the pope decided last minute that it would be. So now we are extra guaranteed a nice trip to heaven. Woot!
We also wanted to see the botafumeiro, this enormous incense burner on a long rope that they used to swing before pilgrims mass to make the pilgrims not stink so much. But apparently now too many people would come to mass just to see it and then leave (exactly what we were planning on doing, haha), so now they wait until the end of mass to do it. We didn’t stay.
The next day we drove to Salamanca. Apparently under one of those shells there is treasure. And can you spot the astronaut in the carvings? Apparently one of the restorative masons was feeling a bit cheeky. There is also a monkey eating ice cream, but I couldn’t find it at the time and didn’t get it in the frame.
Speaking of ice cream.. new favourite ice cream flavour: Kinder Bueno. Rich chocolate ice cream with big chunks of Bueno. YUM.
We stopped lots of times on the way back to Elche the next day. Avila, Toledo and Consuegra. Annukka pointed out all the castles along the way.
Favourite breakfast at the moment: tostada con tomate (toasted baguette with grated tomato and olive oil)
One night Annukka made us senorito paella, and then didn’t even eat any because she doesn’t eat in the evenings! It was delicious. We are so spoiled.