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1st time walker needs advice for Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela & HSBC Bank branch location

Grace CYS

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese Camino in April 2017 - completed
#1
Hello everyone

I'm currently on the Portuguese Camino for the 1st time, due to reach Santiago de Compostela (SdC) on Easter Sunday (16/4)


* What is the opening hours of the Cathedral at SdC?

* Is there an audio guided tour of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela?

* If so, where do I go to ask/pay for this?

* How much does it cost?

* How long is the audio tour?

* If it does not have audio guided tour, are there maps to show me which/where are the places of religious/ historical significance?

I'm most interested to know where the tomb of St James is.



Other Qs

* Is it possible to walk 23km fr Padron to SdC in 5hrs / 6hrs? (I've booked accommodation at Padron on Sat 15/4)

* If I don't reach SdC in time for the 12pm Pilgrims Mass, is there any Pilgrim Mass besides 12pm?

Else, is there morning Mass on Mon 17/4 besides 12pm Pilgrim Mass? My flight is leaving just after 1pm on Mon (17/4) so I'll miss 12pm Pilgrim Mass on Mon too.


Other queries

* I want to find out if there is an HSBC (bank) branch in Santiago de C (near to the Cathedral). I tried looking up online but it is in Spanish.


If you could answer ONE of the above questions, I'd be truly grateful.

Grace
 

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Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#2
Many of your questions on mass times, maps of the cathedral and so on are answered on the cathedral's own website: http://www.catedraldesantiago.es/en

The relics of the apostle are in a crypt directly under the main altar of the cathedral and are accessed by a small door and flight of steps on the north side of the sanctuary. Another door on the opposite side of the church leads up to the large silver image of the apostle which many people choose to embrace during their visit. The passage ways above and below the altar are very narrow - please observe the one-way system. Easiest simply to follow the stream of other visitors.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
#3
Having tried a search for you it does not look as though there is an HSBC branch in Santiago. It gives Banco Gallego, so maybe they are linked. The only HSBC given is for Madrid, (edit:- but that may not be correct. See @sulu 's post below.)
 

sulu

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Ronces-SdC (03-04/10);Oporto-SdC (10/2011); VdlP via Portugal 03/04 2012/2013;Part Invierno 2012; Toulouse to Sarrance 2012; Ingles to Muxia June 2013 Cami Catala and Aragones 2014; El Salvador & Primitivo 2014; Camino de Madrid 2016; Levante 2015,2017
#4
I want to find out if there is an HSBC (bank) branch in Santiago de C (near to the Cathedral). I tried looking up online but it is in Spanish.
Hi Grace, there are no HSBC banks in Spain. I was reliably informed of this by HSBC themselves as that is where I have my British account. You can use your debit card in ATMs but they charge you each time so it is wise to do so infrequently and to carry your money in a safe place.
re other questions, the cathedral is open all day, you can't miss the tomb of St. James it is in the crypt and there is usually a queue, likewise there is usually a queue to go up behind the altar to give St James a hug. I'm fairly certain there is no audio tour, entrance to the Cathedral is free, you can't go in with a back-pack!
The Botifumeiro will fly on Easter Sunday so you should try and get there for the 12 o'clock mass, but you will need to arrive in Santiago in time to get rid of your back-pack.
Padron has a lovely albergue, there is also a lovely albergue in Teo which makes the walk into Santiago shorter!! :)
Good luck, buen camino and I'm sure other people will have more info.
Sue
 

SabineP

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
#5
And of course take into consideration that every bank is closed on Easter Sunday and Monday.
 

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sulu

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Ronces-SdC (03-04/10);Oporto-SdC (10/2011); VdlP via Portugal 03/04 2012/2013;Part Invierno 2012; Toulouse to Sarrance 2012; Ingles to Muxia June 2013 Cami Catala and Aragones 2014; El Salvador & Primitivo 2014; Camino de Madrid 2016; Levante 2015,2017
#6
And of course take into consideration that every bank is closed on Easter Sunday and Monday.
Monday isn't a Bank Holiday here in Spain, unless you're in Catalunia or Valencia, but Friday, and possibly Thursday, banks will be shut. For anyone needing banks or shops. Good Friday is a holiday and many places close early on Thursday. Sunday, of course, almost everything is shut and restaurants will be bursting at the seams, especially if they are good. :)
Shops will be open on Saturday, there used to be a law that food shops could not be closed 2 days consecutively, or, that at least 1 had to be open in places of any size, I don't know if this still applies, it was in force before people had fridges!!
 

SabineP

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
#7
@sulu ..thank you for clarifying that about Easter Monday! Like Belgium I thought all was closed too.
 

Grace CYS

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese Camino in April 2017 - completed
#8
Thank you so much everyone for your prompt replies. I'm so touched.

I've just returned to my hostel which has wifi & will check the Cathedral website. Thanks Brady.

Thank you Sulu & Tia for confirming there is no HSBC branch in SdC. Saves me looking for it. I should have enough cash for now but it is good to know I can withdraw cash using my card as a last resort. I find the cost of living higher in Spain than Portugal, & since I'm travelling on my own, I need to watch every Euro!!



So I'm left with the tough, v tough decision of whether

1) I should start walking by 6am on Easter Sunday, do a mad dash & hoping to reach SdC by 12pm for the Pilgrim Mass

2) Take my time & enjoy my last day of walk to SdC & attend the evening Mass.

I shall pray about this....

Thank you everyone again. Truly appreciate ALL your advice.

Take care
Grace
 

Grace CYS

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese Camino in April 2017 - completed
#9
Re Holy Week public holidays here, I've just been informed by the hotel staff that most shops will close on Holy Thu & Good Fri & of course Easter Sun. Some do open half day on Holy Thu.

Restaurants (at least some) in tourists area will remain open. I've just got some food supplies for tomorrow.

Good Friday is a day of fasting (for me) anyway...
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Donating Member
#10
Hola Grace

The main Mass of Easter Sunday in the Cathedral replaces the 12 noon Pilgrims Mass ( although pilgrims are still welcome). The Mass of Easter Sunday begins at 11.30am and usually begins with a procession accompanied by medieval instruments and the Botafumeiro.
It is very busy and you will probably need to be there by 11am - remember rucksacks are not permitted in the cathedral.
Details of the audio tour are on the Cathedral website. http://www.catedraldesantiago.es/en/node/475
You can also get maps and a recommended tour of the historic sites at the tourist office in the Rua Do Vilar.
There are two main evening masses in the Cathedral if you decide that 11am won't work for you.

Buen Camino

John
 
Last edited:

SEB

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
April (2015) SJPdP to SdC; Porto to SdC April (2016)
#11
Grace, I walked from Padron with a fellow peregrina and we started in the dark just before 6am. Even so it was well after midday that we arrived in SdC, but we had lots of stops.. Bear in mind that I am an older person - late 60s and wasn't in great health at that time, so perhaps it can be done by a younger, fitter person. You could start at 5am and walk along the road instead of detouring around the back ways, but it is still tight. Is it possible to walk on to Teo on the Saturday stay overnight there instead of Padron?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
#12
Hi Grace, there are no HSBC banks in Spain. I was reliably informed of this by HSBC themselves as that is where I have my British account. You can use your debit card in ATMs but they charge you each time so it is wise to do so infrequently and to carry your money in a safe place.
re other questions, the cathedral is open all day, you can't miss the tomb of St. James it is in the crypt and there is usually a queue, likewise there is usually a queue to go up behind the altar to give St James a hug. I'm fairly certain there is no audio tour, entrance to the Cathedral is free, you can't go in with a back-pack!
The Botifumeiro will fly on Easter Sunday so you should try and get there for the 12 o'clock mass, but you will need to arrive in Santiago in time to get rid of your back-pack.
Padron has a lovely albergue, there is also a lovely albergue in Teo which makes the walk into Santiago shorter!! :)
Good luck, buen camino and I'm sure other people will have more info.
Sue
This is good advice about money.

A career in banking and some travelling has taught me.....
  • Cash is available from any ATM, although check carefully that it is a mainstream bank for that country (branch size can be a good clue, or a name you see often), as sometimes you might find a small ATM in a shop which is simply provided through the shopkeeper, for which an additional (large) charge is made when you withdraw funds.
  • Fees by your own Bank tend to be percentage based, so amounts that you draw should not matter, however check your own banks charges structure to be clear, in case a minimum fee will be charged.
  • Always use a Debit Card if you can, as interest will accrue on a credit card from the day you draw the cash, even if you do clear your card monthly. If you are always in an Overdraft (US residents excepted) compare the interest costs to see which is cheaper!
  • The popularity of Pre Paid Cards should not be underestimated. If the card is lost or stolen that it is easy to block (sometimes online) and your main bank arrangements are untouched. It should also be easy to get a replacement card. Some new providers also link to Apple Pay if you have recent Apple Phone, not sure how much Apple Pay is available on the Camino though, perhaps not a lot.
  • Take several cards from different banks if possible. Having travelled in several countries a card / ATM might work one day, not the next or vice versa, it is rarely the card, often the quality of the data connection from the ATM.
  • Draw out what you reasonably need so that you don't have to hunt around for an ATM at every town you pass through. AND keep the PIN safe, and not with the card. Basic advice I know, but some still do that.
  • Spread cards and cash in different parts of your rucksack / luggage. Carry a small wallet / purse with what you need for the day, easily accessible.
  • Never let your rucksack out of your sight. OR have a trusted friend watch it.
  • Don't flaunt cards, (by this I mean don't have all your cards in one place, so that when you open your purse or wallet, all the cards you have are there for all to see) or make a show of cash in a wallet. You could easily become a target for a pickpocket.
  • Keep your Passport separate, and always have a paper copy of your passport.
  • Take a picture of your Passport / ID, and email it to yourself or a family friend, so that you can always get a copy.
Me? What am I doing when we start our first Camino later this month? I'm taking lots of cash spread across my pack, supported by a prepaid card + Debit Card + Credit Cards from two+ providers for emergency use only. I expect cash will be King, and card usage outside the towns will be minimal. I hope to be wrong. Passport and ID Photos are already posted online in a secure location where only I can get them.

Buen Camino
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#13
May I say there os little differencebetween "pilgrim mass" and regular mass at the cathedral, other then the reading of the list of the numbers who walked from where and are from where. Plus, those stats are for the day before, so if you hope to hear a reference to yourself, you won't, unless you go to mass the day following your arrival.
 

natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago (2009)
León-Ponferrada (2014)
Camino Inglés (2017)
#15
Grace, welcome to the Forum! Hope you're enjoying the last few days of your Camino. Having been to the Easter mass once at the Cathedral, I would say that you'll be hard-pressed to arrive in time to get a seat (if that's important to you) AND to even see much, as it will be extremely crowded with locals, pilgrims, tourists, etc. If you arrive after Mass has started, you can sit in the Cathedral square (Praza do Obradoiro) and have your own quiet moment of reflection. You may see a processional coming from the nearby San Francisco church, and if you arrive around 11:30 you may even catch the main processional going *into* the Catheral.

If arriving in time for the main Easter Mass isn't as important to you as simply going to a mass here, JohnnieWalker says there are two evening masses...and (hopefully!) they'll be quieter.

Buen Camino!
Faith
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
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#17
Knowing how crowded the Cathedral gets on feast and Holy Days, I recommend that you pace yourself to arrive comfortably. Pilgrims who rush, thinking that everything will work to plan and fast, are usually always disappointed. PLAN AHEAD.

This thread contains excellent information. PLEASE benefit from it.

Personally, I recommend walking into Santiago at your earliest convenience, and comfortably, on whatever day you choose. Savor the final stretch. When it is done, it is DONE...at least until your next Camino.

Sort out your lodging and store your rucksack there if you can. On Holy Days and feast days, advance reservations are critical. If you do not yet have a reserved lodging, you might seriously find one now. Try booking.com. Many private albergues are also represented.

When you leave your lodging, TAKE YOUR VALUABLES WITH YOU in your lightweight day pack or shopping tote. Larger bags (larger than a "hobo bag") are not permitted in the Cathedral. For example, my 16-Liter Sea to Summit "Sling Bag" has always been allowed in.

You can go to the Pilgrim Office at Rua Carretas 33. Unless they changed their hours, it only closes on Christmas and New Year's Day. Again, and as others have said above, check the website for the Cathedral and the Pilgrim Office, at:

https://oficinadelperegrino.com/en/

Alternatively, there is a daily consigna for backpacks at the Pilgrims Office (ask at the "group office" if open), Post Office (may be closed), or the Compostelae shop (may also be closed on Sunday). The latter is located immediately at the top of the stairs at Plaza Praterias (to the right), just before you enter the ONLY entrance to the Cathedral (on the South transept). Check the opening hours to ensure you are not locked out from your rucksack overnight).

Do not exacerbate your stress and diminish the wonder of your arrive at Santiago de Compostela by rushing through the experience. Please slow down and enjoy the final stretch. You will realize the wisdom of this after you have done it.

I hope this helps...Have a blessed Easter.
 

Grace CYS

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese Camino in April 2017 - completed
#18
Wow! A treasure box of advice...

I have finally decided not to rush to 11:30am Mass on Easter Sunday cos I think it will only ruin my last day of walking & reflection (if not meditation which is very important to me). Truth is, I am also anxious of risking any injury on that final day due to my weak knee & ankle...

Thank you all the same to dear SEB for sharing his experience. It makes me realise walking in the dark (6am) is not something I'll want to do alone.

Thanks to John & Anemone for info on Pilgrims Mass, audio tour, Mass times & Mass at another church. I found out from the website that 7:30pm is also a Pilgrim Mass. Lucky me!

The money / banking advice from CaptNoglos (aka banking expert :) is a trur gem. I'll print it out when I get home for use in future travels. I have to investigate what pre paid card is. I totally agree with you on spreading out cash, separate from cards & keeping a photocopy of my Passport; I've done that on this trip. Good luck with your 1st Camino.

Most grateful for Faith & Andreo for sharing their experience & sound advice. Yes, I agree that rushing on the last day will "diminish" my arrival at SdC (& possibly the whole Camino experience).


Walking this Camino has taught me this on a daily basis - It is the journey, not the destination that counts. But I am a slow learner & am still learning ....


Wishing you all a Blessed Easter!

Grace
 

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