Ah, S James the Great, Compostella ... how often have I sat, perhaps for half an hour or more, just gazing at wonder at the great Portico de la Gloria in Compostella Cathedral. Not, of course, that I've ever been to Spain. Indeed, I don't think I've ever knowingly entered His Most Catholic Majesty's domains at all ... unless the old embassy church of S James, Spanish Place, counts, with its Spanish royal banner just waiting for the parish priest to haul it up the flagpost if he gets a sudden email warning him that the King's Majesty is on his way to pay a visit (do I hear a rumour that S James's Spanish Place is shortly to have a new, Anglican, incumbent? I hope he isn't a Carlist as well; these Anglicans are often such nutters.).
If you can't afford, given the present ruinous state of the exchange rate between Sterling and the Euro, to go to Spain, you can contemplate the Portico de la Gloria ... and Hadrian's column ... and the Plantagenet tombs at Fontevrault ... and the main door of Arles Cathedral ... simply by visiting the Casts Gallery at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
But get there fast. Last time I was there a talkative assistant told me that the expert staff had just smashed up by accident some of the casts in the second room; which, indeed, seems to have been closed for an awfully long time.
Dodgy place, the V & A. Remember my post of a month or two ago about how they keep the rooms with most of their baroque ecclesiastical goodies closed, then make you pay per nasum ... or do I mean per anum ... to go and look at a Baroque Bloquebuster (try that as a tongue twister) in which they make a mess of describing their church exhibits ... although they are next door to the Oratory.