June 12 – We had a leisurely breakfast at our hotel with an excellent croissant instead of the usual toast, then walked the remaining five miles into Ourense. Although it was still cool in the morning, this city is surrounded by hills and is much warmer than other places nearby. My morning weather check surprised me by reporting that by the end of this week, the high temperature will be 100 degrees!
After a shower and our midday meal, we set out to find the number 1 thing to do in Ourense, which is to see the Catedral. There is a bus stop right outside our hotel, so we asked the hotel clerk which bus to take to the cathedral. He said all of them went there! Must be a popular place, as this is a big city with at least 30 different buses. So, we hopped on the first bus that came by. I asked the driver if this bus went to the Catedral, and he nodded in the affirmative, so off we went.
I had my phone on, and watched the GPS as we got within about 10 minutes of our goal, then kept watching as the Catedral got farther and farther away. We had seen no Old City, no Plaza (which in Galego is a Praza), and certainly no steeple or dome. I thought perhaps the bus would circle around, but no luck. We stayed on until the bus pulled into the station and everyone else got off. The driver stood up, saw us and shrugged his shoulders. We shrugged back. He indicated that we should stay on, as he reversed the bus for the return trip. He told us the name of the stop to get off, but as the stops weren’t called, that didn’t help much. I watched the GPS, and at 10 minutes from the Catedral, we jumped off. Whew!
So, here is the Catedral, in the middle of a block of tall buildings. Romanesque, with Gothic add-ons. It had all the things that cathedrals have. Here are my favorites. A big fresco of St. Christopher by the door, so I won’t die today:
Lots of color and 3D reliefs. This is the assumption of Mary, and below is the conversion of Paul and a Pietá.
Very different crucified Christs:
This is a very unusual depiction of Santiago, as he is sitting down:
This is the Catedral of St. Martin of Tours, who is famous for cutting his cloak in half and giving half to a beggar. Here is part of him in a reliquary:
And a modern statue:
We looked for other things to do in Ourense. The only museum has been closed. The city is best known for its hot thermal baths, but we don’t have proper bathing suits. There is a park, with one swan and some pigeons:
Another church, Igrexa Santa Eufemia, was totally dark inside, and had what appeared for all the world to be a slot machine on the altar:
The sign at the city hall explained that this building replaced the one that collapsed due to poor construction:
Well, not every city is a tourist mecca. We appreciated having a day of rest, and tomorrow we push on toward Santiago. 71 miles to go.