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For Valentine’s Day, I thought I would write about the romantic city of Santiago de Campostela in Spain. This city is the capital of the Galicia region, and is the famous destination of pilgrims who come to worship the relics of St. James, said to be kept at the altar of the cathedral built in 1078. The facade is in the Baroque style and built in the 1700s. Try to time your visit with one of the special masses when the great silver incense burner (Botafumeiro) is brought out and swung through the transcept by a team of athletic priests. This is aromatherapy on a grand scale.

Santiago de Campostela, Spain

Santiago de Campostela, Spain

Conveniently located next door is a luxurious Parador. Many of the rooms are furnished with canopied beds. As the city is on the western edge of Spain, close to the Atlantic Ocean, fresh seafood features prominently on local menus.

Bilbao is best known these days for the gleaming, titanium clad Guggenheim Museum designed by Frank Gehry. Yet, this financial and industrial center of the Basque region in Spain retains medieval architectural charm in its “Casco Viejo“, or Old Town. The Santiago Cathedral was built in the 15th century on older foundations dating to 1300 or earlier. The narrow cobblestone streets are lined with shops and restaurants featuring fresh seafood from the Bay of Biscay and Atlantic Ocean.

Guggenheim Museum

Guggenheim Museum

Puppet show in the Casco Viejo

Puppet show in the Casco Viejo

August 2017
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