I entered Santiago late in the afternoon with no map and found a place to park. That was a miracle considering the time of day and the traffic. I noticed a hotel so asked directions of the front desk clerk for the address of the Maycar. It was the next street over…how lucky. The desk clerk at the Maycar informed me that the Hotel was full and no rooms were available. I explained I had a reservation and he showed me my room. The car park was right up the street but was not affiliated with the Maycar and when I investigated, I discovered it was full. I returned to my car and bought a two hour ticket to park there while gathering my luggage and hiking back to the Maycar. After unpacking and settling in, I found the Car Park had available parking so returned to move my car but it was blocked by another. I noticed a man watching the park and asked if he was the car that was blocking me and he was. I then went over but couldn’t get in the driver’s side as the door was blocked by the car next to me. The only opening was on the driver’s side and to unlock the other doors, you had to push an unlock button that was unreachable in the center of the dashboard. I finally managed to reach around to the back door and unlock it from the inside, thereby unlocking all the doors. I then went to the passenger side while the man moved his car and was patiently waiting for me to move so he could park there. Three other cars were now behind him anticipating the same spot when I left. A crowd was gathering to see if I was going to get over the center shift and into the driver’s seat. What a drama. I did and made it to the car park before if filled back up, found a place then returned to the hotel.
Getting up around 9am I had some coffee in the cafeteria then ventured out again to visit the St James Cathedral where all the pilgrims go to receive their certification that they completed the trip. It was enormous. Pilgrims were everywhere. They were mixed with tourists and were a variety of young and old but it looked like a Sierra Club convention. I never saw so many healthy looking non-smokers gathered in one place. They were an advertisement for Travel Smith, Columbia, Lands End, Timberline, etc. Nothing but the finest in shoes….hiking that is. I washed down some local cheeses and bread with and excellent wine then returned for a siesta.
I ventured out to Old Town and ran into a Spanish Bagpipe band with Drums and settled in for an Empanada and some Beer. Took some photos and toured the Old Town one more time. I discovered a beautiful restaurant called the Derby that was founded in 1929. Lots of Art Deco and good wine served with some Mussels Ceviche. I returned for the night and arose for my usual Desayuno? I was going to return to the same restaurant but discovered another that served Chocolate and Churros. I ended up having a Coffee Chocolate Cappuccino and the famous Tartes de Santiago instead. Then packed and left Santiago with no problem.
I took the main route out of town toward Benavente.