Reward for going to early liturgy

And away we go..,,

Aaand away we go!

I was rewarded for going to early liturgy this morning by the thrilling sight of the famous botafumiero being swung to and fro in the cathedral. This huge incense burner used to fumigate the pilgrims in the Middle Ages. I’ve never heard of it being used anywhere else. I had a hint something was in the works when I saw an ornately dressed man taking the collection. This ritual is usually only done on holidays. November 1 was scheduled for the next “swinging moment” as it will be All Souls Day. However, it seems groups of pilgrims can sponsor a botafumiero and that’s what happened today. How lucky am I . I am not a very good video person so I did not get the full effect with the organ crashing away.

The rest of the day was a bit more mundane. I got my Covid test set up and trust it will be within Canada’s 72 hour limit.

I went to a wonderful park too and decided I get too overwhelmed with cities no matter how astonishing they are.

A different perspective on the cathedral

Finally I must confess that I rode on one of those little tourist trains that concentrated a lot on university buildings. I had no idea the university here was so prestigious. Tomorrow I think I will go to the natural history museum since I’ve already seen the university library where I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.

OK go away everyone and get me a nice easy chair

At the sea , at the sky, at the rocks

Sitting at the end…the beginning of the world

When I came into the Cathedral square on Sunday afternoon I was wet and cold. The sky was grey. The baroque roof line of the cathedral looked like an unfamiliar jumble to me. My Camino was over yet all I wanted to do was get into a warm shower and put on dry clothes. To ad insult to injury I got diverted by some traffic divisors (shades of Montreal) and came in through an alternate entry, completely missing the famous bagpiper.

Yesterday made up for that however. My friend, Chris welcomed me at the albergue and asked if I would like to come with her the next day on a bus tour to the coast. Now, some stalwarts walk another three days but we were both quite ready to put ourselves in the hands of a commercial tour guide and see the sights in comfort.

We stopped at this pretty village
The sky kept changing with new beauty from moment to moment
The sun came out for Finisterre
We stopped here, where a waterfall tumbled into the sea

But for me the wonder of the day was Muxia where ancient Celtic legends merge with stories of St. James. The turquoise underplay of waves, the sound of surf, the huge rocks, many with local beliefs of healing properties all made me want to stay. At last I felt the satisfaction of having walked day after day to reach my goal. I remembered the kindness and fellowship of fellow pilgrims and looked far out to the horizon, realizing that I could keep this wonder with me forever,

Many faces from along the Camino

I’ll walk in again!

The day started well enough walking in pitch dark led by a Spanish family whose dad had a head lantern. He led the way and they could have been going to Santiago or New York for all I knew or cared as we stumbled through the dark wood. Dawn came of course as it does

One of the high points of the day

It soon began to rain off and on and I was pleased to have decided to carry the dreaded poncho.

As the different routes converged more and more pilgrims crowded the roads

It was gratifying to see the numbers on the milestones go down but…. The fog and rain were so thick that it was impossible to see the famous sight of the cathedral from the hill of Monte de Gonzo.

Anyway I soldiered on and arrived around the back of the cathedral instead of making the traditional descent accompanied by the bagpiper. Really there was a lot of roadwork going on and only Google maps allowed me to stumble onto my albergue where ( yay!) my friend was already ensconced.

I have resolved to do the whole thing over again tomorrow so I can get the full emotional “ high” . Well, I admit to a tear in the eye when I finally found the piper.

Tomorrow Santiago?

If all goes well I will walk 20 km into Santiago tomorrow. All during this walk, pilgrimage, endeavour, hike, I have never said I was going to Santiago. I know that stuff happens. Ankles get twisted, passports get lost, pilgrims get sick or discouraged. I took it one or two days at a time. I walked with wonderful people, banal people, mentally disturbed people, lovable people, boring people, people I could trust and want to stay friends. And I walked a lot by myself and with myself.

Here are some things I saw today

Starting off
Can you see the yellow inside? There really is corn in there
A friend came to say hello
Well, not impossible!

Today in Arzua

There was an octopus festival. It was a civic holiday and curiously that meant that until 3 pm the restaurant kitchens were closed. The sidewalk tables were full of people drinking but nary a morsel was to be had for a poor pilgrim. So I trudged on, having bought two horrid peaches and a large bar of chocolate …on and on through the woodland paths where my app showed no sign of human habitation until, at last, Heidi’s albergue appeared.

A warm smile and a welcome

A towel for my shower! Washing my clothes as part of the price of my bed! Dinner at Seven! It was all worth it

Perhaps the last roses before Santiago

A short day tomorrow to the town just before my goal.

Galicia is a very damp place

Full moon at 8 am

When I set off there was a thick mist and very little light. My albergue was once again out in the countryside and so I walked in obscurity until the sun came up. All morning it drizzled and it was off again, on again with the poncho. I was clammy and damp with sweat and with the high humidity of the surroundings.

Mercifully around noon things started to clear up, I made good time and met up with a few old walking pals. My goal was Milede a good sized manufacturing town. I was very happy to see that I am sharing with Chris, a woman I walked with on the first day of our adventure.

Does this look familiar? It’s corn not snow!
A small sandwich for lunch

The coup de grace today was a “ detour” because of road works that added a kilometre to my walk today. It was a nice change to feel the hustle and bustle of the town for a change.

A selfie with St. James

Galicia did its thing

Typical Galician corn crib

Pouring rain to start off and mists over the fields. Well, that’s Galicia. Can’t be green without rain. Ponchos are a pain . They protect you from the wet but they retain body heat and the next stop is stripping off a few layers to stay comfortable.

However by the time we had walked 5 or 6 km the sun came out over Portomarin and we were rewarded by vivid rainbows. The Spanish word is “arc iris” Hope I spelled that right! We climbed up to open heights where the sun and wind played to create a beautiful sky

We could have taken the pot of gold!
Here the wind started to pick up

I was lucky to walk with Anetta a seasoned Camino walker who set a steady pace that helped me get back up to covering the necessary kilometres. It was good to walk in silence and to share ideas, I found as I spoke to her the reason I was called to do the Camino. I owe her a lot.

On to another stage of my journey tomorrow

And here too pumpkins!

A dreamy day

Early set off

Met some nice people yesterday. One who keeps turning up-Peter, a German who touches the grass every morning as he sets off and who lays his hands upon the old gnarled chestnut trees. The others were an Italian couple, full of fun and a French pair walking together.

Today was the first day of the 100 km gang. These are pilgrims who do a short Camino to get their credential. I learned to my surprise that it is considered a plus on a CV in Spain. It is also a relatively cheap way of getting a walking holiday.

I seem to have underestimated how fast I can walk so I spent some time today booking ahead for a few days to come. I must say it is very pleasant to set out in the garden under a much needed sun/umbrella but I feel I really should be walking. Today I passed under the 100 k mark so this is the home stretch. My albergue really is lovely with state of the art shower and antique paintings all over.there is even a hairdryer-the first I have ever seen!

A horse who knows pilgrims have treats. He appreciated a plum!
MoMA cat guarding the albergue
Traffic on the Camino
Roof inside a “ donativo” take what you like to eat or drink and leave what you want
99 km to go!