Prevue July-August 2017 - 63

The last leg of the Cape Finisterre route before heading
into Santiago de Compostela, feeling very much like pilgrims, as
Pensado Barbeira suggested early on, began with dinner at the
organic, Michelin-starred O Fragon restaurant. Here, tucked away
behind the mountains in an ultra-modern building with floor-toceiling windows facing the sea, the chefs offer local fish specialties
with an eclectic twists, and, the piece de resistance for many at our
table, razor clams. One week every year is also dedicated to the
local razor clam festival. Leaving Cape Finisterre, we stop by Monte
do Gozo, a.k.a. Hill of Joy, in Santiago de Compostela, where
many a pilgrim have caught the first view of the city after a long
and arduous journey-the three spires of Santiago de Compostela
Cathedral-and wept with rapture.

THE ROAD TO SANTIAGO
Bagpipes play in the Plaza del Obradoiro as we step out of the 15th
century Parador de Santiago Compostela, a former pilgrim's
hospital that faces the famed cathedral, and into the morning air for a
culinary tour of the city. But first, like most pilgrims, we venture down
into the crypt of St. James and explore the gorgeous frescos of the
church, before joining mass and watching the botafumaro swing over
the standing-room-only crowd, offering hope, and to many, a fresh
start. An extra bonus awaits groups on the roof, which is explorable
with a guide and easy to traverse, despite its many twists and turns.

Galicia's culinary scene runs the gamut of tastes, textures
and flavors-from Michelin dining at Casa Marcelo to homemade
almond cake served through a walk-up window by nuns at the
Monastery of San Pelayo de Antealtares.
A stroll through the mercado de abastos (food market) is
a feast for the senses with strings of chorizos, mountains of
seafood and cheese aromas at every turn. Colorful produce line
the streets, but it's the octopus-prepared on the street-that
steals the show. Aside from the almond cake, a Galician octopus
dish epitomizes this area, we're told.
Although corporate and incentive groups will find a mix of
four- and five-star hotels (we also stayed at the UNESCO World
heritage San Francisco Hotel Monumento), cottages and guest
houses, many opt for hostels; the true pilgrim experience (some are
downright upscale).
Tours can be customized according to the group's needs,
though Pensado Barbeira says the real awe-inspiring moment is
generally derived from the road itself. "I believe that there is no
more exclusive experience than to realize The Way of Santiago. The
realization of The Way of Santiago, both the physical and spiritual
physical way, is an experience that only those who have made
The Way know."
spain.info; parador.es; sanfranciscohm.com; tourismo.gal

prevuemeetings.com | 63


http://www.spain.info http://www.parador.es http://www.sanfranciscohm.com http://www.prevuemeetings.com

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