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    • Day 9

      Wanted: quantity of gopher wood

      March 8, 2023 in Spain ⋅ 🌧 15 °C

      If you’re going to embark on this one, might I suggest you get a big cup of tea first, were the option open to me that’s what I’d be doing right now.

      One of the long-standing attractions of Caldas de Reys is the geothermal bath. We’re not talking country-club and fluffy towels here, but it is free. I did get the opportunity to soak my feet for a while. Lovely and warm actually, and by the feel of it high in magnesium. (Photos)

      It’s a great little town, nicely ordinary.

      Very much missing Mrs Henrythedog and Henry the (actual) dog now. I am extremely fortunate to be not only supported but encouraged to set off on my own, pretty much at will and to have the (relative) youth, health and funding to do what I do. I don’t take any of that for granted. (And a lovely dog of course).

      Strangely meloncholy? I was on the Ribiera last night, it always has that effect. The only advice apparently handed down from my maternal grandfather, who I never knew, was STB. Which advises that one should ‘stick to beer’. Sage advice indeed.

      Breakfast time. It’s pouring down, even more than expected. I’m not very metric other than for distance and 5 litres per square meter per hour of precipitation might as well be in code; but I now know that to translate to ‘Dear God, look at that!’ in imperial units. I’m keen to get on with it though.

      I still very highly recommend the Pousada Real - well appointed and staffed and a bargain at the price; but the boutique-style faffing around has it’s place and it’s not when seeking a swift breakfast. I listened carefully to the description of the organic certification of the tomato which was to be blended for my benefit; chose politely from the long list of bread on offer; was reassured by the fair price paid to the smiling coffee farmer for his produce, but when being introduced by name to the happy cow who was pleased to provide the milk for a long-overdue ‘con leche’, my thin veneer of urbane sophistication cracked and I had to ask firmly that they just got the damn toaster on and bring me a coffee. Ahora mismo, or sooner.

      Well, the atmosphere did change, as though Hagrid had arrived late at the vicarage tea-party and loudly broken wind.

      I can only keep it up for so long.

      A couple of hours later and I’m sat in a wriggly-tin bus shelter outside Cimadevila with a face like a slapped-arse watching the rain bounce off the floor. I mistakenly passed-by the short diversion down to the truck stop on the N550 and then the ‘autosevicio’ in San Miguel which I assumed would be a 24/7 vending machine turned out to be another closed café.

      Whoever’s got the franchise for supplying ‘cerrado’ signs must be driving a Ferrari by now.

      Every day’s a bonus but there’s a distinct lack of spring in my step today. On the positive side I’m not relying on a disposable plastic poncho (the young people who are are perhaps regretting not doing a bit more looking at the sky and less looking at the phone). If my memory was better I could tell you the Finnish for ‘when’s this bloody rain going to stop?’ as the young Peregrina concerned was shouting it every couple of minutes.

      Whilst I detest waterproof trousers with a passion I’m not so stupid as to not pack a pair at this time of year, although despite the assurances of Messers Gore and Co my ex-officios are currently carrying a good half-pint of what you’ll join me in hoping is rain-water. There is only so wet you can get before it really doesn’t matter any more.

      Things are looking up (although I’m not, so as to avoid a face full of rain) in that there is an unexpected auto servicio in Cándide. Coffee and a snack machine and a clean serviceable lavatory for 50c. I probably deposited €2 worth; so that was a bargain.

      Kathy in Canada (who I previously had down as a bloke in Portugal - given that I identify as canine on here I’ve no room to criticise) has helped me out in researching the train situation back from Santiago to Porto on Saturday, and it’s looking grim. I have also got a bus ticket though, so that option’s open . (Later in the day RENFE sent a short explanation which roughly translates as ‘sort it out yourself, loser’)

      I’ve always been good at time and distance. Through long practice I can look at a map, make corrections for height and figure out duration with a good degree of accuracy. Today’s different. Probably through stomping through the rain in a foul mood I have made rapid progress, and I’m in Padrón for 1130; which clearly is beer o’clock.

      (Some comedian’s opened a cafe in Padrón which I refused to patronise because the jokes wearing a bit thin. (Title photo)

      My plan was to stay at the Hotel Scala, just north of Padrón but as I’m already soaked, and the forecast for tomorrow is equally grim, I’m going to plough on. First though, I’ll take an hour to give the licenced trade of Padrón a leg-up.

      Fifteen minutes after passing the Scala, from where came the sound of merry lunchtime conversation and a sense of functioning central heating, the appeal of my new plan is rapidly diminishing. It’s still pouring down.

      Another hour and a half and I’ve called it a day at the clean and spacious Pension Glorioso. Cheap as chips - although chips and any other form of catering are not on offer. A close-by bar threatens to open at 1900.

      I’m now drying everything not in my rucksack on one of those ‘do not dry clothes on this heater’ heaters. I’m sure the warnings are over-cautious.

      The good news is that I’ve only got 16 kilometres to Santiago; although there seems to be a distinct absence of catering until the Cathedral’s in sight.

      More tomorrow.
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    • Day 9

      Kurz vor dem Ziel

      June 27, 2022 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

      Heute bin ich 36 km gelaufen und bin jetzt nur noch 16 km entfernt von Santiago. Wahnsinn, wenn man überlegt, dass ich am Anfang bei 251 km gestartet bin.
      Auf meine Ankunft in Santiga freue ich mich schon sehr aber bin auch etwas wehmütig, dass diese Reise dann schon bald beendet sind wird. Ich frage mich nun jetzt, wie sich die Ankunft anfühlt und was die Reise mit mit gemacht hat. All das werde ich wohl erst in ein paar Tagen/Wochen erfahren. Ich bin gespannt. Liebe Grüße, dein Markus 😘Read more

    • Day 25

      Padron - Picarana 19.9.2017

      September 19, 2017 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

      Santiago ist fast in Rufweite, morgen werde ich mich dann unter die Massen mischen, die ihr Ziel erreicht haben. Mal schauen, ob ich mir die Compostella noch kralle, aber warum eigentlich nicht, Zeit genug ist ja, und wenn ich schon mal da bin..

      Das Wetter ist reichlich schattig, mit viel Wohlwollen kratze ich vielleicht 14 Grad zusammen, der Himmel verwöhnt mit einem einheitlichen Dunkelgrau, nur Regen glänzt heute mit Abwesenheit. Heute morgen stattete ich auf dem Weg aus Padron heraus dem Santiaguino do Monte noch einen Besuch ab, einer kleinen Jakobsstatue mit Steinkreuz auf einem Hügel, auf dem der Legende nach der Apostel Jakobus seine erste Predigt auf spanischem Boden gehalten hat. 114 Stufen galt es zu erklimmen, oben angekommen konnte ich den Moment in Ruhe genießen, da außer mir niemand hochgestiefelt ist. In Santiago werden sie dafür wieder anstehen, um sich in die Kathedrale quetschen zu können. Jedem das Seine.

      Der Rest des heutigen Gewaltmarsches über 9,8 km war wie erwartet ähnlich spektakulär wie der Weg von gestern. Wenn da nicht die Kilometersteine mit sich ständig reduzierenden Kilometerangaben über die verbleibende Strecke bis Santiago gewesen wären, hätte man auch annehmen können, man läuft im Kreis.

      Jetzt genieße ich ein wenig die Annehmlichkeiten meiner Suite, bevor ich mir ein leckeres Mahl einfahren werde. Mal schauen, was der Tag noch so bringt.
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    • Day 16

      Our last day of walking 😕

      May 23, 2023 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

      Our evening in Faramello was quite enjoyable, although we were all ready for an early bed 🙄 and had bagged ourselves a small (doorless) room just for 4 on the second floor of the albergue. That was one of the reasons I wasn't supposed to book this albergue - the stairs! 😱🤣 But we passed a pleasant evening and were all tucked up in bed at stupid o'clock (something like 8.45pm!)
      There was practically no snoring from our other dorm friends but then, at 4.30am, the Germans decided they were leaving 😱😨. Quite why they wanted to leave in the middle of the night, when there were only 15 more kilometres to walk, we couldn't work out! So our sleep was disturbed, and we woke again just before 6.00am to pack up and try to get to Santiago before noon.
      Fortunately, it had started to lighten by the time we left so we were soon confidently on our way and found a small truckers café after 3km, so we had breakfasted and were back on track by 7.30am! The way led us through more woodland, farmland and small hamlets, and past what is thought to be the oldest cross on this particular route. I really can't describe the feeling of walking through ancient woodland with only birdsong for company 🥰🥰🥰, it's definitely beyond description!
      With only 15km to go, we soon found ourselves on the outskirts of Santiago and surrounded by flats, offices and even the university (although I'm sure we were probably a little early to disturb the students😅). We still had a couple of hours to go before reaching Santiago but trudged on underneath motorways and through larger housing areas until we reached the long, straight road towards our final destination, the cathedral!
      We stopped with just 2km to walk and enjoyed our first taste of Tarta de Santiago, which was gorgeous (although I reckon mine's better🙄🤣), before heading off on the final slog.
      We were in good time for the Pilgrim's Mass at noon, so OurJan and I decided to register for our certificate of completion, or Compostela. We not only registered, but picked up our Compostelas and got to the cathedral for Mass, with time to spare!
      Mass was in Spanish and OurJan was able to translate a few bits for me - the enduring love of Jesus, and the importance of sharing our faith with family, friends and workmates. We both went up for Communion and it was quite special, to feel a part of that massive Pilgrim family, even if we didn't understand everything that was said!
      We returned to our places (standing room only!) and the 'Men in Red' appeared! These are the men who swing the Botafumeiro, and it only happens on 10 days each year, unless it's paid for privately (currently at a cost of €300!) We were really happy to have arrived on a Feast Day (organised by missing a rest day on our camino!) and it was certainly something to cherish!
      Following Mass we found a spot for lunch. It took a while to arrive, but we had to remind ourselves we were in Spain, where everything happens 'mañana! We found ourselves sitting next to 3 Irish men, one with a ukulele. They were Christians from Cork and called themselves Soul Survivors, inviting us to their 'gig' at 10.00pm that evening. One of them was just short of his 90th birthday and put us to shame with his energy🤣. When they found out we were from Liverpool they gave OurJan and me a rendition of Liverpool Lou (Steve and Anne had made a sharp exit by this time!) followed by an Irish blessing. It was really special and they were a great laugh. No way we'll be down there at 10.00pm though 😱🤭😅.
      After a few hours browsing the shops (and eating ice cream), a beer and an evening meal that included chips was called for. Then bed it was, ready for the bus to take us back to Porto tomorrow morning. We're spending a couple of nights there to rest our weary feet - maybe...🙄
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    • Day 7


      March 28 in Spain ⋅ 🌧 9 °C

      Last night, before going to bed, I decided that I wouldn't be leaving early. The weather is forecast for rain and I can't check into my accommodation before 2 pm. The walk should only take 4hrs so no need to rush. I have a leisurely lie in till 7.30am. It was a lovely, easy start to my day. Others in the accommodation thought the same, and there were many having breakfast when I went down to sort my bag.

      When I check my shoes, I notice the right one has a loose sole at the front. This happened overnight as the shoes were left in front of the fire. That probably loosened up the glue on the soles. I tie a bit of string to the front to keep it from flapping, but that comes off 10 mins intonthe walk. Thankfully this happened on the last day of the trail! These shoes are from my 100km days in 2016 so I have no problem tossing them. I'd like to complete the walk in these shoes though.

      I set off on the walk with my Canadian friends. Niky stopped at every cat we saw. This lengthens the time we are walking.

      They are super alert and chatty in the morning. We start the walk off with a song, and then the chatter keeps going. They have a good pace for walking with the chatter. I'm surprisingly chatty with them as well. It's raining as we walk but I'm taking lots of pictures.

      We're passing the way markers really quickly now.
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    • Day 10

      Tag 9 - 30km

      May 13, 2015 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

      Only one more day bzw. 15km :-)

      Vor ner Stunde bin ich in der Herberge angekommen. Sehr schön und fast keine Pilger :-)

      Viel wichtiger (vor allem für meine beiden Omis, vll kann ihnen das jemand mitteilen :-)): morgen ist Christi Himmelfahrt und ich werde um 12Uhr mittags in der Kathedrale in Santigo ankommen...wenn da nicht ein mega religiöses Zeichen ist :-). Ich hab diesen Feiertag komplett vergessen und natürlich nicht so geplant alles, aber es passiert einfach... :-)

      Das ist in Spanien wohl einer der wichtigsten religiösen Feiertage, daher wird Santiago ziemlich voll sein...freu mich schon auf viele Pilger und einen schönen Abend :-)

      Heute wars ein schöner Walk...vormittags viel Wald und kleine Wasserfälle!!
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