Santiago de Compostela, Spain — August 21, 2017

I spent most of yesterday walking around the city away from the busy area of the cathedral, stopping now and then sit in the shade and read a few pages from Tom Sawyer, a book I hadn’t read since my boyhood. I had forgotten how good it is, even for adults. Admittedly, it portrays race relations as they were then, which many people today think is politically incorrect. I downloaded it free from the Gutenberg Project, a site that has umpteen thousands of electronic versions of old books whose copyright has expired.

I made the mistake of going out for breakfast at about 7 am. No coffee shops were open. I had forgotten that the Spanish start their day much later than other nationalities. I went out again at 8:30 and was able to have my morning coffee with a giant slice of toast with butter and jam. That’s a typical Spanish breakfast.

When I left the coffee shop, I snapped the following picture. The reason I took it is that this woman was the first solo female cyclist and the first female road cyclist that I had seen on this trip to Spain. I have seen women on mountain bikes with male companions who were apparently from other countries and had cycled the Camino with their husbands or boyfriends.

I felt like giving this woman a cheer, but she would have probably misunderstood my motive. Notice that she’s riding out in the left lane, claiming her right to be treated as an equal to those operating a motor vehicle.

Santiago is littered with green spaces. There are parks everywhere. Although Spain does a better job than Arizona at maintaining streets, roads, and public transportation, parks and public buildings are neglected. When it comes to parks, that may not be a bad thing. It is nice to see vegetation growing wild and untrimmed in the city.

The largest park that I have visited is named Alameda. I walked to and through it this morning. It is on a hillside and slopes down a point not far from the city center. I took this photo at the top of the hill near the center of the park in the early morning, hence the long shadows. There were not many people in the park at this hour. The few that I saw were mainly joggers getting in an early Sunday morning run.

At the very center of the park stands this poorly neglected church. As you can see, the door is covered with graffiti. If you enlarge the picture or look closely, you will also see that at least two panes of glass are broken in the window above the door.

I think that almost no one among the hordes of tourists in Santiago are aware of this almost-hidden path. Both ends of the path are accessed through a narrow opening between buildings. They look as if they lead to someone’s backyard. I discovered this path through greenery in the heart of the city only because it showed on Google Maps. It was both a convenient shortcut and a welcome break from the bustle of the city.

I’ve decided that when I arrive in Madrid on Wednesday, I’m going to spend the remaining week of my vacation there. Even though I’ve been to Madrid several times, there are still plenty of things there that I have not seen.