Santiago de Compostela is a marvelous place to visit, even if you’re not a pilgrim.
It is world famous for the pilgrimages people make to venerate the Apostle Saint James, whose remains are in the cathedral. Some walk as much as 1,000 miles, using one of the 8 Roads to Santiago.
This history has made Santiago de Compostela one of the top 3 places in Christendom, along with Rome
During our guided walking tour of the Old Town, we saw gorgeous camellias in full bloom. It’s a Winter plant and that’s why I can’t recall ever seeing them in bloom before.
We also learned the meaning of Compostela: the legend is that a hermit saw a star shining on a field and that led him to discover the remains of Saint James, from the Latin words for field and star.
Our first winery visit also doubled as our welcome dinner. We went to the nearby estate Pazo de Galegos in Rias Baixas where we were hosted by the father and son team, Manolo and Paul Garcia. Manolo gave the grand tour of the estate where we saw numerous camellias in full bloom as well as the prized grapevine almost 500 years old which still produces grapes.
The word pazo is Gallego for palacio or manor house and their pazo dates back almost 500 years. It was the residence of Antonio Lopez Ferreiro, a canon of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. He is credited as being the person to locate the exact location of the tomb of St. James.
Pazo de Galegos makes 2 wines: their personal interpretation of the Albariño grape, and the red Mencia. Production is only 50,000 bottles, and 40% is exported to the US so there’s a good chance you can find their wine.
They use minimal chemicals and local yeast which they claim produces the authentic dimensions of Albariño: flowery and fruity aromas of rose and apple and good acidity.