|One of four courtyards in the beautiful El Parador Santiago|
|My room--medival charm but with with a comfy 21-st centry mattress|
I awoke the next morning abruptly to the sound of...cannon fire and bagpipes? Nothing like cannons and bagpipes to wake you from a sound sleep and possibly make you hallucinate that you are actually in Scotland.
I reluctantly got out of bed, packed and dressed and headed out for the cathedral, which was conveniently about 10 steps out the front door of the hotel. I can only say, what a sight! It is as magnificent as I have always seen in the movies. I made my way to the rectory and knelt at the statues of St. James with the other pilgrims, even though I felt a bit like I was cheating by flying to Santiago rather than walking. After the cathedral, I spend a hasty 20 minutes or so shopping at the markets behind the cathedral and came away with some awesome earrings that sadly broke on the way home before I even got to wear them :( Then I had to head back to the airport and my shuttle to Laias and Arnoia.
I finally had a chance to start my Strafford sweater on the bus ride, which I had avoided in favor of sleep on the trip over, and got through the t-shirt hem plus an inch or so when we arrived at the conference venue.
The conference was good, the hotel was hot, and we enjoyed some Spanish delicacies such as gazpacho, merluzca, and pulpo. I liked the pulpo so much I had it again as my final meal at the airport. All too soon it was over, and I headed out to Dublin for the second conference of the week. I realized I really love Spain. Why don't I come here more?