Friday, 24 October 2014

Finisterre and Muxia

I always wonder coming in to Santiago whether we will meet the people that we travelled along the Camino with---and we did---some we expected we might meet like Dennis and Robert and Reece and Ray and Pura and some surprises that we didn't expect to see again---Sylvia and Vikki andChris and Marina and Val. We had a lovely dinner on our last night there with Sylvia and Vikki and Chris and Robert who we had the closest connections with. And we saw the incense burner swing and I was in awe again---one of the wonders of the Camino. Out to Finisterre by bus---a delightful fishing village where we had a fabulous seafood dinner for $50 for 2 of us and had a picnic with Marina and Marika---met both at Astorga---at sunset out on the cape where the lighthouse is. Quite a buzz out there at sunset---followed by a 4 km walk back into town!!! Had 2 nights there and then 2 nights in Muxia---another fishing village where we have had another 2 days of resting and sleeping and going out to the church and lighthouse---a much more dramatic scene here with waves crashing onto the rocks and a 300 year old church only metres from the waves.Such a wonderful way to finish off the Camino. A lot of pilgrims---1000 this month walk to these 2 villages---another 5-6 days walk but it was totally beyond us. We struggled to walk to the bus that brought us out. Back to Santiago today and Paris tomorrow and back to Sydney next Thursday night.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Santiago

Finally reached the Cathedral in Santiago about 2 hours ago after a challenging last days walk from Arca.there are no easy days on the Camino and today was no exception. However we were blessed with fine weather--very warm in fact. Not many bars today which was surprising but we got to one after about 2 hours and they had bacon and eggs on the menu so we decided that would be a good start for our last day. A few minutes later Robert from Byron Bay walked in having wisely taken a day off on the very wet day we had. Then we ran into Dennis at the Mont de Gozo.Its only 5 kms from there but seemed to take forever but finally got to the Cathedral about 1.30pm.got a local in the square to take a picture of us when we didn't see anyone we knew and then booked into our hotel feeling pretty beat. Reception told us our room was on the 3rd floor with a stone spiral staircase the only access.One last challenge---but the room is very nice. Staying here a couple of days and then thinking of going to Finisterre and Muxia for a few days before going back to Paris for our flight on 28th. Feeling really pleased and relieved to finally get here---so grateful for all the support we have received from friends and family and from fellow pilgrims. Thank you all so much.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Day 43

Hopefully our second last day on the Camino. It was unseasonably warm this morning and the rain gear we had on quickly became stifling and as the rain held off we stripped down to summer wear.We ran into Ray and Pura that we met yesterday when I was deciding to walk off into the rain. They are from Sydney and we walked with them for an hour this morning. A conversation always makes the time and kms go quicker. Also Dietrich caught up briefly and got a lovely big hug from him.I was getting tired towards the end and suggested a stop at a bar at Santa Irene and as we walked in the door a storm broke---for about 10 minutes---a lovely bit of timing.No injuries--one day to go--it seems a bit surreal after 43 days that it's all about to end but my body will be thankful.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Day 42

Had a good night in O Coto---a lovely meal put on for Anne and I and the only other person staying---Reece who we had connected with a few days earlier. We discovered a shared interest in morning pages and changing careers. This morning we had the usual Spanish breakfast of bread and jam to fortify us for the day. We needed all the help we could get as it was pouring rain and predicted to continue all day---and for once the predictions were correct. By the time we got to Melide,we were both soaking wet from rain and sweat and my formerly waterproof boots had lost their excellent record of keeping my feet dry. As we sat under an awning outside a cafe in Melide, Anne decided on the only sensible option and get a cab the rest of the way(14kms)to Arzua. Another Aussie couple had just joined us at the cafe and decided the same thing---that there was nothing to be gained by walking 14 km in heavy rain when you are already soaking wet. For me it was a different equation---having walked every inch of 2 Caminos and 41.5 days of a third Camino, I didn't want to stop walking just because it was pouring rain---and I decided that I couldn't get any wetter so I decided to continue on. Everyone happy with their own decisions.however it is a harder day walking in the rain especially when it is reasonably heavy. Most of the route today wS dirt paths either going slightly uphill or slightly downhill---and the path are well worn from centuries of pilgrims on the track.So the track acts as a drainage system for all the water so there is nearly always a stream of water on the path---at times the path is completely covered with water. My good fortune today was catching up with 5 American women that we came across a few days ago and established a good connection.I could tell by their greetings that I was still in good standing with them so decided to travel with them for the last 5 hours---and it made all the difference to my day. We kept on breaking up into different groups of two or three and the time and kms seemed to go quicker. Finally got to Azura at 3 just as Anne was about to send out a search party but in the end it was an enjoyable day .currently have all my wet clothes draped all over our bedroom trying to dry everything g overnight ready for another day tomorrow---hopefully it will be our second last day!!!!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Contrasting days

Two days news to catch up on. The dinner a At Vilachi was very special with the hosts Gordon and Anna-Maria joining us for dinner and treating us to coffee liqueur after dessert. It probably is the nicest place we have stayed. Out early the next morning and through Portomarin at first light and ran into Robert just coming out of Portomarin. He was good company for the first couple of hours.despite predictions of rain,we had a glorious day throught delightful rolling green fields.we ran into friends Phil and Helen and Dennis at every stop and finally had lunch with them at our destination Eixere. When passing through Hospital(another one!! ) I noticed a 500m detour and an overhead bridge at a place where I nearly got run down by a car 5 years ago on a blind corner. Found another lovely place at Eixere. Our host washed and dried our clothes for a small fee. Dennis who had been walking with Phil and Helen for a few days decided he couldn't walk further with shin splints and decided to stay where we were staying. So few had his company for dinner last night, breakfast this morning and our 5 hour walk today. He's great company--a 32 yr old Dutch guy that we met on our 3rd day--it seems months ago now. It rained for our walk today--fine for when we are on streets and roads but in the gorgeous lanes covered by overhanging branches, the walking surface becomes a little river of water and mud and it takes a little more energy to make progress.We had a shortish day today---only 17 kms--- the perfect day for a short day --- though rIn is predicted for the next couple of days as well.All the people I have named in the last few blogs have now moved ahead of us---we are hoping to catch up with people we know in Santiago. Only 3 more sleeps !!!!!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The rain in Spain

The rain is coming down in Galacia---just where we are---reasonably heavy rain today.The good news is that my rain gear is keeping the rain out---but a consequence of wearing all the rain gear is a lot of sweating underneath. Still we have come through the rain and a 24 km day pretty well---still of sound body and mostly of sound mind.Last night in San Mamed and tonight in Vilacha we have stayed in small places (12beds and 8 beds) that are privately owned in tiny villages where there are no shops or caf├ęs. Both have been just outside major centres and both have put on communal meals. These are mostly the best food you can get on the Camino and last night was no exception. We started with a huge tureen of very tasty lentil soup that would have fed 40 people. Then delicious tortillas and quiches with freshly made salads--all as usual with as much red wine as you can drink. The emphasis is on comfort food which is perfect after 7 hours of walking in the rain. Today we ran into Dennis and Phil and Helen who walked out of a cafe as Anne and I were walking past and then we met Robert 15 minutes later who was coming out of his Hostel at the moment we walked past.Amazing!! We also connected with 5 American women who started their walk today in Sarria---some happy they only have to do 100 kms and others keen to come back and do the whole 800. The end is almost in sight and some mixed feelings about stopping the process but my legs and body will be grateful that the 20+kms a day walking will be stopping for a while. I left my poles behind in a cafe today but I missed them within 5 minutes and went back and got them. I don't think I would be able to do the Camino without poles.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Camino lessons

My blog didn't get published yesterday.On the way out of Linares yesterday --- in the dark as usual-- about 7.45am, we missed an arrow leading off the path we were on and went 5-6 kms out of our way. I was encouraged in my belief that we were on the right track as we had a dozen other pilgrims with us all trying to find a yellow arrow. Well, we can't all be wrong surely!! And we wouldn't all miss seeing an arrow!! We did!!! It really knocked the stuffing out of me and turned a reasonable day of 19 kms into a daunting 25 kms. Was completely done in by the time we got to Tricastela. I had trouble getting off my bed to go to the nearby cafe for dinner which we shared with Robert from Byron Bay. However a good nights sleep restored my strength again and today we took a detour to Samos---one of my favourite days on the Camino.Not because of the monastery there which was closed but because of the beautiful walk into Samos and then out to San Mamed where we are staying. Mostly quiet country lanes covered with overhanging branches with moss covered rocks and everywhere green as green can be. Spent the whole day walking through this magical fairyland where you might have expected a hobbit to pop out of his burrow. The fact we had our second day of rain---light but persistent---didn't dampen our pleasure in the views.