Upper Room Window, Secrets in Santiago de Compostela

Mini Walking Stories: Secrets in Santiago


Mini Walking Stories is a project I’m doing this month to catalog what has been an AMAZING year of walking. Every day during December, I’m going to choose one photo and invite you to come along with me for a few minutes on one of the walks I took in 2022. Read more stories here.

Upper Room Window in Santiago de Compostela

Secrets in Santiago de Compostela

I have walked into Santiago de Compostela on a Camino four different times.

Each time, I have stayed in a different hotel. I suppose I was trying to discover my all-time favorite place to stay.

And in March of this year, I think maybe I found it.

Our walking group was quite small, so we were able to squeeze into a boutique hotel that I had earmarked a long time ago. Usually my group is too big for this hotel. Also, it always seems to be booked, and now I understand why.

The hotel itself, a restored 18th century home, is gorgeous, with lots of fun, small details, like antique mirrors, exposed wooden beams, and bath tubs for soaking tired feet.

One of us stayed in the room on the top floor that had a window with peekaboo views of the rooftops of the city, including the cathedral.

We could hear the cathedral bells ringing from our rooms, and when we stepped out of the hotel, we were right in the middle of town.

But maybe the very best part of the hotel was that when we checked in, our hostess handed us a special map of the city. Of course, it was the same map that is available at hotels and tourist offices all around town, except that she had hand-written all over it, circling her favorite spots and pointing out do-not-miss corners of Santiago.

This hostess (and her map) opened up the city of Santiago to me in a way I had not previously experienced it on multiple other visits. Even with extensive reading about the city, I had not been to see most of her suggestions.

I had missed her favorite view of the town from Parque Da Alameda, even thought I had visited the park.

I had not been to the Old Mercado or the smallest street in Santiago, nor had I seen the shadow pilgrim in the cathedral square at night.

We had a wonderful couple of days in Santiago exploring all of her suggestions.

With the constant arrival of pilgrims, Santiago seems to embody a perpetual spirit of celebration. My own (not really) secret of Santiago is that I find an empty cafe table in the square by the main cathedral entrance, order a drink, and sit there for a full afternoon. It’s some of the best people-watching in the world.

But now I have a whole collection of Santiago secrets for what I hope will be many future trips to the city.

I don’t want to spoil the secret of how lovely this particular hotel is, but if you are planning a trip to Santiago, drop me a line and I might just spill the beans. Be sure to book the attic room.

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