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Spain 2010 – Day 9: Lugo & Santiago de Compostela

Greetings and welcome to day 9! We’re heading into the twilight of my journey through Spain, but there’s still plenty yet to see. Today we make a stop in Lugo on our way to Santiago de Compostela. Lugo is the home of one of the finest and best preserved Roman walls in all of Europe. Santiago is the final destination of the Way to St. James pilgrimage. Let’s see what Spain has in store for us today!

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So we hopped on the bus and left Oviedo and headed towards Santiago de Compostina. On the way, we stopped in Lugo to visit some of the best preserved Roman walls in Europe. Old Lugo (the part inside the Roman walls) is a pretty cool little town and the walls are a popular spot for runners and other locals seeking a good walk or some exercise. Lugo is also in Galicia, a providence of Spain that is well known for preparing octopus. Apparently, they’ve developed a technique (freeze drying and multiple dunking in boiling water) for cooking octopus that renders it soft and delicious. I’m a bit skeptical of that, but I’m curious to try it.

A monument to the people of Lugo and their tradition of cooking octopus (the lady is holding a utensil used in cooking octopus). The backside of the Lugo monument which depicts the preparation of the octopus (look closely). The old Roman wall of Lugo. Considering how old it is (1700 years), it's in impressively good shape.

We arrived in the town square of Lugo just in time to witness another wedding! My aren’t we lucky? Of course, I had to snap a picture of the bride. Then we headed off to a hole-in-the wall cafe for what ended up being a delicious lunch (thanks Sam!).

Another wedding! This time it is in the town hall of Lugo. When I came back by here an hour later I thought the wedding was still in progress until I realized that the bride was different. Yep, THREE weddings in two days! Lunch in Lugo. Our guide, Sam came and joined us and ordered all the food. We had prawns two ways, stuffed mushrooms, Gallician tuna pie, and two desserts. Quite a treat! 

Now on to Santiago de Compostela! As I’ve mentioned before, this is the final stop on the pilgrimage known as the Way to St. James. The apostle himself is said to be interred at the cathedral here. Now we’ll get a full tour of the cathedral and environs tomorrow, so for today we just did a quick walk of the old town to see the restaurants and shopping district. I noticed quite a few pilgrims wandering the streets already. They were easy to pick out. Either they were wearing hiking gear (from doing the pilgrimage in the traditional way) or were decorated in matching garments to identify members of the same group (which likely came by bus or some other motorized means).

 Pilgrims dancing while the musicians play. This was completely impromptu. The pilgrims saw the musicians and asked them if they would play a song so they could dance. More pilgrims in the streets of Santiago de Compostela

Later that evening, we set out to find dinner. I was still curious about the octopus we heard about in Lugo and decided to order a plate as my first course. I got the whole thing to myself as none of my dinner mates had any interest in trying some. Still, I ate most of it and didn’t find it to be too bad. However, I don’t think I’d order it again (except perhaps to impress others with my gastronomic fortitude).

Yes, I tried the octopus. It's like scallops but a bit fishier and chewier. They were cooked in garlic butter and sprinkled with paprika - very traditional. Many of the restaurants in Santiago had displays out front showing the quality of their meat and seafood selections. This is the display at the place where I had the octopus. Another restaurant display, this time with live specimens. Check out the size of that sucker!

We have another full day in this town which is great and I’m looking forward to checking out all of the shops and exploring the nooks and crannies of the old part of Santiago de Compastela. Tune in again to see what I discover!

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