In Santiago today, my visitor and I had the pleasure of following in the footsteps not only of George Borrow (1838) but also in those of Annette Meakin (1907). Of course, neither of these names will mean much to you unless you’re a regular reader. Or unless you now use the search facility on the this blog to dip into previous posts. Anyway, our knowledgeable guide was fellow Borrovian, Peter Missler, who lives not far from the city and who knows a great deal about at least Mr B’s time in Galicia, if not Ms M’s. As evidenced by this web page of his on the great man.
The highlight of our trip was the Colegiata de Sar, on which Ms Meakin devotes a whole chapter in her 1909 book and which she’s told is Galicia’s answer to the leaning tower of Pisa. This it may or may not be. But it’s certainly worth a visit. For it’s as fascinating as she claimed it was to see a nave in which all the pillars of one side bend at least 10 degrees to the left and those of the other side do the same to the right. I’ve posted one of my 18 photos below but, in truth, none of them do justice to the sight. It’s the result of subsidence of course – not architectural craft – and so it’s hardly surprising that the 12th century Romanesque church has been provided with 18th century buttresses on the outside to keep it upright. These don’t do much for the exterior of the church but they’re a small price to pay for maintaining its unique interior.
And talking of Santiago, but in a lighter key, here’s an amusing account of student life there that I happened to read last night. It doesn't seem too onerous.
Finally . . . To top and tail this educative post with George Borrow. . . If you can read Spanish, you might like to pick up a copy of Crónicas Ibéricas, by another Borrovian, David Fernández de Castro. Just published by Altaïr, this follows GB’s footsteps through all of modern Spain. I guess you don’t have to have read GB’s The Bible in Spain to enjoy it but it will surely help. It’s downloadable from here.