Strangely the day we go to Santiago we see very few pilgrims. This might be because it’s just after Easter and they have all been saved and gone home.

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John The Atheist

We do meet one pilgrim, though he’s not a religious one, he’s a travelling British artist called John who draws really good pictures, of the Cathedral in felt pen on brown wrapping paper. He has been following the lesser known pilgrim routes in Spain for 18 months, he stays for free where he’s offered places, and he gets through a pair of boots roughly every month. In Christian hostels he gets locked in for the night from 8.00pm go 8am just in case he might go out and enjoy himself and become a happy sinner.

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Shell Walking Sticks

Religion is big business here. There are countless shops that really put the “grim” into “Pilgrim”. you can buy walking sticks decorated with medieval red crosses and shells, happy-clappy tambourines, effigies of saints, plastic cupids with ridiculous faces, jet or ivory rosaries, trendy pilgrim T-shirts,and even joss sticks with your own saints’ day.

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Cathedral Of Santiago

The Cathedral dates back to the 11th Century and is in the Spanish Romanesque style. The exterior stone work is stunning, and Inside the altar is very baroque and beautifully gilded.

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Quintana Door

On special years, and 2010 is one of them, you can enter the Cathedral through a door on Plaza de la Quintana, where a sign invites you to “Hug the Saint”. Apparently you get extra religious points for going through this door – hmmm!

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Carved Stone Shell
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