After a huge breakfast, I discover that the cathedral is open despite the renovations and the place is full of pilgrims and visitors.
Behind the Baroque facade there is a wonderful granite Romanesque church, with narrow arches, plaster vaulting and simple carved capitals; echoes of Byzantium over laced with Celtic strap-work. Every stone and joint is visible. As the cult of St James developed over the centuries it was overlaid with gilded carvings, gigantic painted cherubs and statuary until the backdrop has become almost invisible.
Now even the famous golden statue of St James is obscured by scaffolding and shrouded with cliffs of polythene.
Something resonates with this internal disruption. When I started my pilgrimage in May 2016 our present Brexit predicament was inconceivable and I feel I have thrashed around ever since, gradually stalling to a weary standstill. I find myself back here.... wondering what to render to God or Caesar.
So I’m going to walk West again to the ‘End of the Earth’ - Finisterre in an attempt to re-orientate as I turn to face to East again.
The Romanesque chapel of Santa Maria dela Corticela is up a flight of stairs that I hadn’t visited previously. An intimate space with a warm cross breeze from an open doorway and a bronze statue of a spindly pilgrim carrying a cross and scallop shell.
I wander downhill to find the start of the Camino de Finisterre until I come to a stand of old oaks and the first way-marker. Nearby lies a hollow rock and a hollow tree trunk; they seem to mark the threshold.
Santiago is an elegant city, the old quarter is a maze of arcaded granite streets with chic clothes shops, pinxo bars and sea food restaurants as well as the souvenir shops.