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.
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 towel for my shower! Washing my clothes as part of the price of my bed! Dinner at Seven! It was all worth it
A short day tomorrow to the town just before my goal.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
I treated myself to a private room with my own bathroom and towels! I slept 12 hours straight. of course that meant I had to twiddle my thumbs for an hour waiting for the first glim of light and a cafe con leche from the cafe owner who gave me a pitying but indulgent look when I revealed I was a grandmother like her. A large black dog who put the fear of God into me at the end of the village took one look at me, turned tail and fled. Was it the pink backpack? Who knows?
It was spooky in the forest, walking along a paths lined with gnarled chestnut trees. I almost expected a wolf to appear and ask the way to grandma’s house Oh, I forgot, I am grandma.
I had to watch my footing too as I manoeuvred down some steep stone steps, then I noticed there was a little cabin under the bank. Why? Who? Don’t you think it’s funny the picture turned out weird?
I hurried on to the town of Sarria where those doing the short Camino set off. I met four people I already knew! One was my first Camino friend from when we set off, I expect more of this as we are all converging from different Caminos to finish at Santiago.
It poured with rain last evening and everyone was apprehensive about the day to come. We need not have worried. It was a lovely day
It was quite dark when I left but it soon warmed up and I got a bit hot. I really got hot when my Camino app showed the little blue dot that represents me off the trail in the middle of nowhere. The stone markers clearly said this was the trail though and the prospect of toiling up a steep stoney track to the road where one vehicle an hour passed did not appeal. So I marched on through the most lovely lanes
Finally I came upon this sort of hippie yoga house in the middle of nowhere and they assured me that I was on track. Charming? Yes but the hosts of flies visiting from an adjacent barnyard sent me hurrying along. Turns out the powers that be had made an alternative path off the official one. At the 20 km mark I was very glad to see my albergue appear at the side of the road. Getting into the last week of planning now. Some more beautiful scenery from today.
Her name was Paula and she was perfectly behaved. Victor who got four pretty elderly people up on their various steeds revealed that his ex wife lived in Montreal. A snort and a snicker from Paula and me, a reserved Spanish lady and a couple from Texas were off. Getting off was even more bizarre. I discovered bones I never knew existed.
I was frantic that I would be late but no, thanks to a most unBudist awakening (Stevie Wonder played at top volume) I was soon scuttling along in the dark to the next village and my rendezvous with Victor.
For an hour we labored up the steep mountain. Victor kept us al in check. The horses had a well deserved drink after an hour
Good luck to them and then we got hauled off the horses and had to walk 10 km to get to our really lovely albergue. Up and down like a switchback. I never would have made it without the horse ride, We had the best dinner in a long time in a sort of stone yurt. I met up with two young people I knew and liked from before and we ate togetherness.
I have to sleep now 20 km ahead tomorrow. It termed rain this evening in true Galician tradition so I hope for better tomorrow.
I was a bit nervous about today as the guide books talked about two paths-one spectacular and desperately difficult. The other was described as a walk along a highway with little to recommend it. In the dorm with me was Carmen, a woman a little younger than me also travelling alone . We talked it over and left together in the dark …to take the more conservative route. Although it was on hard surface there was hardly any traffic and a protected designated path allowed us to relax. Our main complaint was cold as the sun did not penetrate the valley floor where we were walking until 11 am! I used an extra pair of socks as mitts
It was pleasant to hear the stream beside us and to talk some muddled up language together. It was also a wonder of engineering to see the fly-over highway that allowed us to walk in relative quiet.
The villages were pretty, the terrain was mercifully flat and I arrived early at my albergue which appears to be run by Buddhists. The best thing is that I have managed to book a horse ride over the worst of the mountain ahead. Imagine climbing in 9 km 100’s of meters in altitude. The horse can do it!