Day 79: Santiago - NegreiraNovember 1, 2016 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C
Distance: 22 (1889.2/-22)
Weather: 23C, Mostly sunny
Mood: High spirits
Staying at: Hotel Millan
Distance: 10.2 (1867.2/0!)
Weather: 24C, lovely sunny
Staying at: Lux Hotel
Apologies for the late entry... A glorious day for the walk to Santiago, starting with a lazy breakfast after which we bumped into Michaela, a Slovakian girl I met on the Primitivo. It was once again special how perfect the timing was that led us to seeing her again.
The walk was very easy and Marc and I had lots to catch up on. I felt happy and content to be arriving. The strange feeling of the end nearing had passed the day before and another four days of walking to Muxia and Fistera still were ahead of us, so no reason to feel sad or strange. We got our Compostela and Distance certificate at the Pilgrims office, a pretty post building with a security guard who takes his job a bit to seriously.
Santiago is a lovely city and we spent time with another camino friend of mine, drank some wine and had some amazing tapas after a slightly boring Pilgrims Mass (you'd think someone would have thought of providing some kind of translation by now). Our short stay felt great and we are already looking forward to coming back here on Friday.Read more
Distance: 8.9 (1857/10.2)
Weather: 26C, lovely sunny
Staying at: Casa Lavacolla
The end of a chapter
After a simple breakfast in a bar I say goodbye to my three friends (Mike, Baptise and Juan-Marie). The hug I get from Mike expresses the warm bond we've built in such a short space of time and I feel very said as I watch them walk away.
Today I celebrate the last day of lonesome walking and it has to be done in style, by myself. I only have 9km ahead of me and I am determined to walk it as slowly as my sanity allows me. I take my first break after 3km and see many pilgrims pass by hurriedly, they have already missed the opportunity to attend the 12 o'clock mass in Santiago. I meet German flute player Nicole once again and I buy him a tea to help him achieve his 0 euro day.
My second break is unexpectedly lovely. The people around me all seem to want to enjoy every last inch of camino left and so the atmosphere is relaxed and happy. A couple is walking with their 1.5 year old son (on the back, they're not making him walk :-) and I watch the little boy run around and play with acorns. People talk about feeling strange about this being so close to the end and I understand and share this feeling. I spend the last kms thinking about all the special people I met on the camino and feel grateful.
And now I'm at the terrace of a local bar at my destination of the day enjoying some lovely warm rays. I'm feeling strange, happy and a bit anxious. At some point today I will be reunited with Marc and that will signify the end of and important chapter of this journey.... and I wonder, what will lie ahead of us...?Read more
Distance: 21.9 (1848.1/19.4)
Weather: 26C, lovely sunny
Mood: Fast walking machine
Staying at: Edreira Hostel
Less than 20k left... It's really within reach now and it feels good. Today I walked with the three guys I met last night and it was a bit challenging to keep up with them for the last three km, but it did nevertheless.
I'm feeling tired and satisfied now and am enjoying the super cozy couch in the hostel. Tomorrow I will be reunited with Marc who's been cycling some crazy distances to keep up with me ☺️ and then Santiago here we come!!!Read more
Distance: 25.5 (1827.2/41.2)
Weather: 24C, lovely sunny
Staying at: Ribadiso da Baixo Pilgrims hostel
And after rain...
A lovely and relatively easy day despite my fear of the crowds of the camino Frances, which I joined today halfway through my walk. In fact, in Melide I had coffee with a local French teacher and I got to practice my French again and it was quite fun.
The road definitely got busier, but I just put on my music and I walked fast. I kind of enjoyed overtaking many Pilgrims who seemed surprised by my speed. I loved bumping into an old friend from the camino primitivo, just cause we could share the experience.
Later in the large hostel I simply minded my own business, had a beer and did some crochet with my newly bought yarn and needle. An older man made a remark about it and we had a little chat. I invited myself to dinner with him (english), his Spanish French speaking brother in law and a Spanish friend of the brother in law. Dinner turned out so much fun, where at times a message had to be translated from English into French into Spanish and back. We laughed and shared experiences. Unsurprisingly they also joined from the primitivo. As if we recognised each other amidst all the Frances-ers...
An unexpected wonderful day and now I suddenly realise it's only two nights till Santiago... Wow!Read more
Distance: 15.1 (1801.7/66.5)
Weather: 24C, bright and sunny
Mood: Fine, bit of a headache though
Staying at: As Seixas Pilgrims Hostel
Is it bad that I long so much for my arrival in Santiago? The days have started to be so much alike and I notice that many of my thoughts are connected to arriving in Santiago, being reunited with Marc, the walk we have planned for after (Muxia, then Fisterra) and maybe most of all picking up my real life when I get back to the Netherlands .
I seem to be one of the few people who is looking forward to the end so much. And it's not that I dislike the walking or hate the hostels and lack of real towels. I have found my peace in the routine, but I crave for the next chapter, the start of my new life... The typical Aries who gets bored with one thing well before it's over....
In the past few weeks of my zen state of mind I was able to just be in the moment and I even started to detach from the regular checking of my phone (not for contact from the outside world, but just maps, how far to go etc.), but now my mind is insistent to take me out of the moment and dream of everything in and after Santiago. It doesn't help that I've been having a pretty consistent headache for the past few days... The camino had taught me that mind and body are so connected and when the body is not in optimal form the walking becomes mentally more challenging.
Is it bad that I long for the end...? I don't know. I think it's just how it is and it's not long now 😀Read more
Distance: 22.5 (1768.3/99.8)
Weather: 16C, some sun bit chilly!
Mood: A but mixed
Staying at: Lucus Hostal
Today, I'm not a pilgrim but a tourist in the capital of Galcia, Lugo. I've become so good at being a pilgrim that I nearly forgot how lousy I am at being a solo tourist. I'm feeling a little lost and out of place amongst all these people who are just going about their day. I ask about a route variation in the camino interpretation centre, but am turned away as it's not the real camino and therefore not part of their scope...
The students at the table next to me are quizzing each other on German words and grammar. It makes me smile. I just read an article on how repetition is far from the most effective way to learn, but this may not be the time to tell them.
Feeling out of place here makes me question what is my place in this world and it makes me miss my loved ones. I'm a doer, a problem solver, not a quiet observer and I feel such a strong need to add some value to this world again.
I stumble upon a fellow pilgrim asks me for help on deciding what to do the next days. I use the knowledge I gained on route variations, onward walks and busses from Santiago and I leave him satisfied with a number of alternatives to choose from. And I... am happy again cause I was able to add some value.
The day ends with a reunion with another peregrina. We share food, a glass of red wine and stories about love, work, travel and life after the camino. We agree that the tougher days like today and at times being uneasy is good for reflection and learning. It's these days that make us grow.Read more
Distance: 32.3 (1745.8/122.4)
Weather: 16C, Mostly cloudy, Drizzle at times
Staying at: Castroverde Pilgrims Hostel
Ten weeks today!!! I was going to write something rather philosophical about how hills can work amazing to process emotions, but my thoughts were distracted by bedbugs again. I know, AGAIN! Yesterday I was pretty chilled about it, for all my clothes washed and dried and my backpack sprayed and sprinkled tea tree oil everywhere.
I only had two vague bites and one of the older women in the hostel said she didn't think they were from bbs. It's funny how everyone is suddenly an expert when these things happen. I'd read up on these nasty little monsters and was pretty sure I recognised the bites.
However, this afternoon I felt some new itchy bites and I think one of them just really liked the taste of my blood or wanted to travel to Castroverde... So, after arriving late I got absolutely everything that bbs could reside in (incl. my kindle cover and washbag), stripped down to my undies and raincoat and repeated the washing-drying ritual. While this was going own I walked around in my raincoat and ate my dinner and just laughed about it with my pilgrim family (it's really the same little group now every night, mainly spanish).
And now, I'm lying all tea tree ed oiled in my bed, pretty exhausted and I really really hope this was the last of them... A day in the life of a pilgrim ☺️Read more
Distance: 25.4 (1738.9/154.5)
Weather: 19C and super sunny!!!
Staying at: Cantabrico Hostel
Today I reached the border between Asturias en Galcia and so I enter the last region of Spain on my camino. The landscape in Asturias was amazing, green, mountainous, lush and even at times fjord like. Galcia will be less hilly and today was the last 1000m+ mountain. I will miss them, those hills and I haven't found them particularly difficult.
Walking here is so different from France and even from Del Norte as here I keep bumping into the same people and sometimes it really feels like seeing your family again. A familiar face can mean a lot at the end of another day of walking. It also means you cannot avoid the people you don't want to see though... But in my zen state of the past two weeks it can't really bother me.
I just keep enjoying the little pleasures, like a hostel with really towels and super comfy beds and amazing showers. And of course the potential bedbug bites I discovered... All my clothes are in the washer en my bag is spending the night in a binbag with some very smelly spray.... Poor thing!Read more