Thursday, May 31, 2012

Day 32 - Santiago de Compostela

Never was I so early here, before 10 am. Anyway, it's only 5 km. Let me check in to a hostal first before the mass at noon.

Day 31 - Dinner

Thought I was going to have dinner alone since I have decided to push ahead again today to Monte do Gozo. Then a German (Alexander) and a Danish walker (Grethe) came and we had dinner together. You are never really alone on the Camino.

Just a simple meal of (not menu) of some salad and shrimp omelette for me. Holding back on the alcohol tonight.

Day 31 - Albergue Monte do Gozo

Like army barracks, this is the largest albergue, ever. It can take up to 500 people in it's 30 buildings. Each room takes up to 16 people.

Got here around 5 pm. Had too much to drink before that and had forgotten about the climb first up to the airport, then to the Galicia TV station before dropping down here. Which is okay as I had a short siesta at the camping group a few km before.

With this, I think I have stayed in all possible albergue between Melide and Santiago. Only 5 km tomorrow, and the end of another Camino.... (almost).

Day 31 - Monte do Gozo

The albergue is below. You are suppose to be able to able to see the tip of the cathedral from here (just 5 km) away. I've never saw anything in the 3 out of 4 times I am here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Day 31 - Lavacolla - Santiago Airport

A nice contrast of the plane landing and the wooden crosses on the fence

Day 31 - Misty Morning

Hard to take a picture like this as there are so many peregrinos walking this morning. Yesterday night was a shock as the albergue was so noisy with people singing and talking until past 11 pm. Forgot that I was on the Camino Frances now and this is almost June, and the crowd is here. Think I am going to push for 32 km today to Monte do Gozo. At least this is one albergue I haven't tried even though it is only 5 km from Santiago.

Day 30 - Arzúa

Where the Camino del Norte join the Camino Frances. This is the junction.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Day 30 - Albergue in Arzúa

Arrived just before 1 pm and a line is already forming. Guess I will be staying here after a not too long 23 km.

Day 30 - Santa Maria de Sendelle

A nice chapel along the way in Boimorto.

Day 29 - Sobrado dos Monxes albergue

The view from inside the albergue. It's in the monastery. It's crowded with 16 bikers from the UK. Teenage boys led by a group leader biking to Compostela.

Also found 2 tourgrims (pilgrims that does not walk, maybe only certain stretches, transported by car/van to each locations and stayed in hotels) here which surprises me. They did not stay here but did get a stamp for their credential in the monastery. You can always tell them apart with their tiny day pack, totally clean shoes/boots and their desperate attempt to get as many place as possible to stamp their credential.

My surprise is that Sobrado is not on the Camino Frances and is way under the 100 km to get a conpostela (60 plus km). Still it might be close enough as tomorrow is a nice 23.1 km to Arzúa (joining the Camino Frances).

Day 29 - Sobrado dos Monxes

This is stop for the for me but for Jonathan he is moving a little further down. It's ok for him as he has a tent. Sobrado is a small town that is built around the monastery. It has a very Galician Gothic look, and green plants growing out of certain areas of the structure denoting a very wet environment. So far I've been lucky as there have not been much rain with the exception of the drizzle yesterday afternoon.

Day 29 - Galician Horreo

Smaller and longish compare with the Asturian ones.

Day 29 - Lunch

Jonathan's excellent pasta by the side of the road that he has prepared the night before and reheat with his cooker. Carrying 17 kg had its advantage. Also the fact that there is no bar until the middle of the afternoon 6 km before the end for the day. A rest and a beer and it's Sobrado dos Monxes here we come.

Day 29 - A nice walk in the morning

The days are getting hot.

Day 29 - A short climb in the morning

Made Jonathan do a take 2 for this shot.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Day 28 - Miraz

Forgot about this post. This is the other English Albergue run by CSJ (Confraternity of St James) besides the one in Rabanal on the Camino Frances. Vivian and Ken (not in the picture) is taking over in this 2 weeks. They are both from Perth (Vivian from the Australian Perth and Ken from the Scottish Perth).

Day 28 - Dinner

First things first, a beer from the bar. There are no restaurants here as Miraz us a small hamlet. You have to bring your own food to cook here. As I already have a proper hot lunch, it would be a simple dinner for me.

I can't believe that I found instant noodles at the supermarket yesterday, quite rare. Perfect for the simple dinner. It's taste more like the Spanish chicken soup (Sopa de Fideo) with longer noodles. Which is fine as I am down with a cold since yesterday and chicken soup noodle is the best remedy.

Goodnight. It has been a long day of 34 km according to the guide.

Being trying to sent this post out for the past half hour. Cellular reception is really bad here.

Day 28 - Afternoon walk

The 100 km mark.

Absolutely gorgeous walk even though is was drizzling half the time. Going through little hamlets.

Already there are some houses selling walking stick and other Camino souvenirs.

Day 28 - Lunch in Baamonde

Have to fuel up before another 16 km push to Miraz.

Finally, some Caldo Gallego vegetable soup, chicken, Santiago Tart (Almond) and Cafe Pota Madre (I think that's what he said).

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Day 28 - Distance to Santiago

102.804 km. That means that Baamonde is the last place one can start walking to Santiago to be eligible for a Compostela (minimum 100 km for walking and 200 km on bike). Sarria for Camino Frances, Lugo for Camino Primitivo and Ourense for Camino via de la Plata.

However, starting here, one would miss many things on each Camino.

Day 28 - Baamonde albergue

Just 18 km. Not going to do another short etape again today. Moving on to Miraz another 14 km I think. But not before having lunch.

Day 28 - Colin and Margaret

Bump into the NZ couple again.

Day 28 - Leaving Vilalba

Vilalba from a distance. Today is dark and cold. The potential of rain looks menacing.

Day 28 - Morning.

Jonathan from Belgium. Has 17 kg (including 2 kg for tent). Has been walking for 45 days starting in Le Puy in France.

He stayed at the albergue, which was surprisingly full yesterday and cook tortilla (I got the wine). Even left an extra portion for me for breakfast.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Day 27 - Vilalba albergue

Arrived at 12:30 pm (only 18 km). Was thinking of doing another 18 km (no stop earlier) when the rain came (whew!). That sort of put the stop of my progress for the day. I've been pretty lucky so far not hitting any major rain in all the days I've been walking. But today's rain means that my arrival to Santiago may be a day later.

Day 27 - A perfect walk in the morning

Cold but wonderful for walking.

Day 26 - Abadin

Gontan and Abadin is only 500 meters apart and can be considered as the same place.

In case some of you are wondering why I keep walking the Camino de Santiago, I really have no specific answer. Is it because of the simple life compare with the hectic modern life that we are living? Maybe. Is it because walking is the natural thing a human? Probably. Or is it because I feel so alive when I am walking from place to place? Yes.

So the reason for a repeat offender like me is probably somewhere among those reasons. And as much as I like to stay in some of those places for an extra day, something compels me to keep moving. Unfortunately It has to end soon. And I hope my Camino battery will be charged up. And probably after a few years it will need to be charged again.

I am really think that Spain is really wonderful, with the infrastructure to make this possible.

Day 26

Neus and the hospitelero Alberto. Nice to have a pretty girl for company for the last week into Santiago.

Day 26 - Albergue Gontan/Abadin

Pits stop for the day. Away from the coast, this really feels like the Camino of my earlier walks.

Day 26 - At the top

Unfinished highway. Notice the concha shells with the directions. Alas, a detour after that since it is not finished.

Day 26 - On the way to Abadin

Siempre Arriba. Up and down, up and down. Gradually up to the height of the windmills.

Day 26 - Leaving Mondoñedo

Ready for the mountains.

Day 26 - Mondoñedo

Coffee! Coffee!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Day 25 - Lourenzá

The road is expected to go up a few hundred meters tomorrow to Abadin. By now the body is already used to that. At this rate I'd probably be in Santiago by next Thursday. It will have to end soon. But since my flight is not until the follow Wednesday (another 5 1/2 more days). Should I walk to Finisterre and Muxia? Go somewhere else? Will probably decide when I get to Santiago.

Day 25 - Peregrinos

Having a beer after the walk. Except Neus in the middle, the other 2 are bikers.

Day 25 - Albergue in Lourenzá

Two bikers. Now there is only the Spanish girl Neus today here so far. The Frenchman Hugh is spending an extra day in Ribadeo. Colin and Margaret is starting again further down the way. So is the German couple who only stays in hostals/hotel.

I had lunch 5 km before Lourenzá and the last few km was heavy (literally). Lourenzá is still big enough with a population of 240. In the next couple of days some of the refugio town will be very small.

On the Camino, every shower is heavenly, every meal is a feast, every sleep is bliss, every wash is a
chore, and every step brings one closer to self discovery. Especially now in Galicia where the waymarking is now a lot better and the much wider. It's like a highway compare with the path/road in the narrow winding coast.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Day 25 - Going up the mountains

Not exactly. Unlike from the east or the south to Galicia, from the north there seems to be a limit of no more than 600 meters and about 200 meters up/down gradually getting there is a couple of days. The day is hot and there is no more chilling sea wind of the sea to cool one down. The weather is suppose to stay this way for the next 10 days. I am going to get baked walking in the afternoon. May have to think of walking earlier in the morning to help a bit.

Day 25 - Leaving Ribadeo

Now the directions of the shells are pointing outwards away from the based in Galicia. And some of the post has km mark to Santiago. 194 km to go.