Santiago de Compostela – Part 2

First things first. I was quite taken by some simple things. All the light switches we saw in Spain were like this… unless there was no switch to move, you just put your finger on it and it turned on. And then it turned off after a set amount of time (some stayed on by motion activation). And the toilet paper holders… so simple.. so sensible.
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One evening we went off to the Galician Folk Museum (Museo do pobo Galego). We thought it was the folk art museum, and that it was free. Wrong on both counts. At first we were greeted by some big plastic cows in the courtyard, and some maritime exhibit… and were thinking “WTF???”. But then I decided it was going to be fun, and before we left the boat room it was!
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I mean, we had no idea that each area of Galicia had its own unique ox yoke design. And then, there! on the wall! the actual yokes…
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And then it really did get more and more interesting… We saw an array of unique hats, sure to be a hit in the fashion world next season,
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The tools and steps to making our own shoes, and a range of wooden clog styles, again likely to be on the catwalk soon!
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Not sure what to do with that goat? Use its skin for wine!
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(That’s a LOT of wine…)

Or, it may be that it is the bag in the Galician bagpipes (aka gaita) (oh look! the name gaita comes from goat…),
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Here’s a short video of the plaza and the gaita player. There were two. They played from 10 am until midnight. Between them, they knew 5 songs. Over and over and over and over. The Parador doormen were amused when I told them that Ginny was ready to kill the piper. They said it wouldn’t make a difference, another would come and take his place. They played in an echo-ey little alleyway next to the cathedral.

At breakfast I asked one of the servers/hosts (a lovely gentleman named Ángel) about the gaita… Are they just for music or are they, like the Scottish pipes, an instrument for war? He says Come with me. So off we go, out back, through the kitchen, stairs, an elevator, at which point I ask Where are we going? Don’t worry (Tranquila) he says. I tell him I’m not worried, after all I have a 3rd level black belt in tae kwon do. He laughed. Through another kitchen and through a really opulent dining room (I told him it was beautiful. Do I like it? No, I’m not sure I like it, but it is beautiful) and then out on the balcony to see and hear the piper in the alleyway off the plaza. I also told him that Ginny would like to kill the piper. He also laughed and said it wouldn’t make a difference.

OK, back to the museum… There was an incredibly beautiful staircase that took you here and there. Actually, there are three here, and only certain ones would take you certain places. It was a little confusing, but we think we saw it all.
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At the top, some of the stairs were a little, well, worn,
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We saw a big old weaving loom, and some lovely fabrics (that did not photograph at all well), and a giant bobbin and gi-hugic and really scary looking combs.
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A rain suit of straw (there was also a rain suit for oxen in the room with the ox yokes). We had to ask about this… I was thinking it was some burning man thing, but nope, just a rain suit.
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They were (are???) big lace makers, and it looks like they’d have tatting bees, though they don’t look any happier than the woman doing it by herself.
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We saw lots of these little shops in all the cities we visited, where one could purchase bras, presumably panties, lacy bits of we weren’t sure what, and baby things. It was all very grandmotherly looking, as in old fashioned and not really attractive. And much of it was expensive.
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Anyhow, more at the museum…

Crazy pottery (and lots of normal pottery). The docent didn’t quite know what these were for. She suggested wine.
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Um, wouldn’t you pour it all over everything with that one on the right??

There were lots of fabulous models and photographs showing different styles of farm houses and other farm buildings.
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Although I served this up with a healthy dose of sarcasm, I really was fascinated by the place. Why do people make what they do? Is it purely function? How do they make stuff? There is presumably pride in craftmanship, and presumably local styles and inputs from other areas.

This was over by the musical instruments… in case you forget… hellfire is awaiting most of us.
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One Response so far

  1. 1

    Sheeri K. Cabral said,

    April 22, 2012 @ 8:40 pm

    I’m loving reading your travelogue!

    Those light switches are common in mainland Europe and Israel (and what I’ve seen of Jordan). Also many of the toilets (at least in Israel, it’s been a few years since I’ve been to Europe so I forget, but I think it’s like that too) are dual-flush – pull the flush lever up and it’s a “lighter” flush, for urine/paper only, and pull the flush lever down and it’s a normal flush for solids. The great part about that is that most people will just flush down anyway, so if people don’t know about it, they don’t have to be re-trained. (but try it, see if it works)

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