POSTED ON September 20, 2007 | IN Spain's Wine Country | BY joe

We are in the city of Santiago De Compostela, in the region of Galicia, sometimes called Green Spain. It is directly north of Portugal, very near the Atlantic Ocean. It is one of the major cities in Spain and a very popular tourist attraction year round. We are in the city of Santiago De Compostela, in the region of Galicia, sometimes called Green Spain. It is directly north of Portugal, very near the Atlantic Ocean. It is one of the major cities in Spain and a very popular tourist attraction year round.

The main attraction is the Cathedral of Saint James, where pilgrims who walk to Santiago from various starting points, are welcomed and blessed. It is believed that St. James is buried in the Cathedral. People from all over the world flock to the area for the walk, seeking redemption for their sins. Those who complete at least 100 kilometers receive a special certificate at a mass in the Cathedral. Our friend Karen did this walk in April of 2007. She told us the experience was quite moving and spiritual. We also met a nice couple, John and Ann, from Dublin who had walked 75 kilometers and vowed to walk at least 100 next year.

We are staying in a fabulous hotel, the San Francisco Monumento, formally a convent and in the center of the old town. We were fortunate to be able to find a room here when we arrived late in the day. It is a very popular hotel. The old city center is full of activity with many pilgrims (walkers) and other tourists. You can easily spend two days just getting to know the area and discovering wonderful side streets, restaurants and bars. Every street corner offers some exciting treats. While walking back to our hotel after dinner, we were lucky to come upon the musical group called Tunas, dressed in traditional capes and leggings and playing ancient instruments.

Seafood is the norm here. There is octopus, squid, mussels, lobster, crayfish, you name it and they have it and cook it in so many styles. Another specialty of Santiago de Cosmpostela is Pimentos Padron, my favorite. These are little green mild chili peppers about 2 inches or less in length. There are sautéed in olive oil and sprinkled with coarse salt. You get about 25 of these on a plate for about 5 Euros. These are addictive little chilis and they seem to disappear almost as soon as they arrive at your table. We saw them at the farmers’ market and wish we could find these at home.

The most popular wine in Santiago is Albariño, a white wine from the D.O. Rias Baixas in Galicia. It is a very distinctive wine, nothing that I can compare to any of our California white wines. It is a very floral wine with a slight lemon characteristic. It is a great food wine yet wonderful just to sip as a cocktail. There are a few other wines here from other wine regions in Galicia but none matches the interest of Albariño. There are several bodegas in the Rias Baixas making this enjoyable white wine from the Albariño grape. We love it and luckily it is readily available at most good wine shops in California for under $20. In Galicia, we are paying about 10 Euros for a bottle.

The main attraction is the Cathedral of Saint James, where pilgrims who walk to Santiago from various starting points, are welcomed and blessed. It is believed that St. James is buried in the Cathedral. People from all over the world flock to the area for the walk, seeking redemption for their sins. Those who complete at least 100 kilometers receive a special certificate at a mass in the Cathedral. Our friend Karen did this walk in April of 2007. She told us the experience was quite moving and spiritual. We also met a nice couple, John and Ann, from Dublin who had walked 75 kilometers and vowed to walk at least 100 next year.

We are staying in a fabulous hotel, the San Francisco Monumento, formally a convent and in the center of the old town. We were fortunate to be able to find a room here when we arrived late in the day. It is a very popular hotel. The old city center is full of activity with many pilgrims (walkers) and other tourists. You can easily spend two days just getting to know the area and discovering wonderful side streets, restaurants and bars. Every street corner offers some exciting treats. While walking back to our hotel after dinner, we were lucky to come upon the musical group called Tunas, dressed in traditional capes and leggings and playing ancient instruments.

Seafood is the norm here. There is octopus, squid, mussels, lobster, crayfish, you name it and they have it and cook it in so many styles. Another specialty of Santiago de Cosmpostela is Pimentos Padron, my favorite. These are little green mild chili peppers about 2 inches or less in length. There are sautéed in olive oil and sprinkled with coarse salt. You get about 25 of these on a plate for about 5 Euros. These are addictive little chilis and they seem to disappear almost as soon as they arrive at your table. We saw them at the farmers’ market and wish we could find these at home.
The most popular wine in Santiago is Albariño, a white wine from the D.O. Rias Baixas in Galicia. It is a very distinctive wine, nothing that I can compare to any of our California white wines. It is a very floral wine with a slight lemon characteristic. It is a great food wine yet wonderful just to sip as a cocktail. There are a few other wines here from other wine regions in Galicia but none matches the interest of Albariño. There are several bodegas in the Rias Baixas making this enjoyable white wine from the Albariño grape. We love it and luckily it is readily available at most good wine shops in California for under $20. In Galicia, we are paying about 10 Euros for a bottle.

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