Just as a matter of interest, after one finishes walking the Camino how long do people tend to stay in Santiago de Compostela. Does one usually get there and then, I presume, just fly home? Or do people tend to stay for a few days and then leave for home?
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Shirley MacLaine ran into the town and then flew out! But I think she is an exception.
We spent 3 days in 2002 - with one day a bus trip to Finisterre. It leaves at about 8h30 and you get back at about 4h30 - so you can call it a day.
In 2004 we spent 2 nights and I wished we'd had one more because there was a sepcial museum in the park that I would have liked to have gone back to; we never got to do the guided tour on the roof of the cathedral - will do this time - and I wanted to go back to the market but ran out of time.
I always walk straight too the pilgrim office and then move on to finisterre... the first time i stayed for 1 night, but i find that after a long walk the shock of soo many people in a small place is too big...i never enjoy it.
the place itself is pretty nice to look at, but imo nothing special. Salamanca or Merida (which you pass on VdlP) are waay more intresting
It's funny, only now I realize that I've developed something like a routine when I arrive in Santiago... First I allways go and great Saint James and thank and pray, then I go to the pilgrims office, then the hotel, then to Restaurant "Rua Nova" to say hello to the owner, then siesta, then dinner followed by a few drinks. Next morning a big breakfast, then the pilgrims mess at 12, afternoon museums or just sitting outside, in the evening a big meal, and then the next morning the bus to Fisterra.
I personally think it's worth to spend two days in Santiago.
We are all different. My routine is Cathedral, hotel, pilgrim office. I end up looking like a fake all clean and sweet smelling when I pick up my compostela but I just like to get rid of my stuff as soon as I can.
In answer to the original question, two full days is enough.
Most of the pilgrims I met stayed between 10 minutes and 5 days in Santiago. One left for the train station just after getting his Compostela. Me and my room mate (whom I met only in the last day of walking) stayed for 5 days. We would wait on the cathedral steps (Plaza de Platerias) every day for the arrival of pilgrims and try to find the ones we have known on the road. There was always a joyful reunion.
I knew it was time to go when I no longer saw familiar faces in the latest arrivals, and the ones who have arrived have left one by one.
Two whole days is enough, I guess, but not including the day trip to Fisterra. Lots of stuff to see esp if you are the museum and church architecture type of person.
Oh no! Another question I had not considered!
I'm hoping an old friend will fly out from the UK and meet me there for a couple of VERY long lunches before I head off to F'sterre.
Then it might be fun to return towards France on the FEVE narrow-gauge railway from Ferrol to Bilbao, via Oviedo and Santander.
The CSJ guide says this train "offers a leisurely journey through beautiful scenery and, if you have the time, a trip to be recommended."
Some chorizo, good bread, cheese, couple of bottles of wine .... beats an airline seat any day.
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I stayed for three nights at three different hotels. It was fun to decompress, shop, attend the pilgrim mass, and relax my tired body. It was also nice to hang out in the cathedral square and watch pilgrims come in for the finish.
However, I think I ended up staying longer because I spent a lot of time there with a group of Spanish pilgrims. They took me under their wing and brought me along to various restaurants and cafes that I would've never found on my own - or experienced their full potential w/out native Spanish speakers who knew their cuisine... :arrow: