In the city of the pilgrims

In 2014 I drove to Spain in my car. I visited Tui, the Spanish city in the border with the Portuguese city Valença and then I went to Santiago de Compostela, the city of the pilgrims.

 

TUI

Facts about the city:

Two bridges connect Tui and Valença: Tui International Bridge (known in Portugal as Valença International Bridge), completed in 1878, and a modern one from the 1990s. Both countries being signatories of the Schengen Treaty, there are normally no formalities in crossing what is the busiest border-point in Northern Portugal.

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There was a day when we went in my car to Tui, in Spain, one of the cities of the Portuguese Way of Santiago.

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We visited the city center and Tui Cathedral. On the top of the hill, the cathedral (11th–13th century) preserves Romanesque elements in its main vestibule, and the Gothic period in the western vestibule. The town has two museums, one dedicated to archaeology and sacred art, and the other is the diocesan museum.


 

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA

Facts about the city:

Camino de Santiago (Way of St James) refers to the different pilgrimage routes leading to Santiago de Compostela. There are many routes, starting in France, Portugal and Spain. The scallop shell and yellow arrows mark the way to Santiago. You need to walk at least the last 100 km into Santiago to receive the Compostela certificate at the end. Over 250,000 walkers make their way to Santiago each year.

Santiago de Compostela; Autobus

 

It was the longest drive I’d done by car by that time. The mystique of the city is always special with the pilgrims. But Santiago de Compostela is not just the final point of the Camino de Santiago, it is a fantastic place to explore, wandering around its alleys and quaint granite streets.

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We visited the Praza do Obradoiro with its imposing Cathedral, where the remains of Saint James are (allegedly) buried. The cathedral is Santiago’s most famous building with a Romanesque structure and later Gothic and Baroque elements. At the Cathedral, we checked out the Pórtico da Gloria (the original Romanesque porch entrance) and the Botafumeiro (its giant thurible).

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The Old Town, with is winding granite streets, arches, squares and monuments has been an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985. Here we found not only Romanesque and baroque churches, museums and some of the oldest University buildings but also many cosy cafes, traditional and contemporary restaurants and some interesting shops.

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