Day 29 – The one with the first end

Although I was only 20k from Santiago I wanted to start early to avoid “rush hour”. So I sad goodbye to Maria – this time most likely for good – and left the hostel around 7. Jeremy decided to tag along and so with a very good pace we were looking for a breakfast place.

Maybe because there was none exactly on the way – and yes, after 800+ kms a 100m off the way is still a distance that one would not want to walk … – or we were in a good rhythm, or maybe because we were kinda running away from all the people on the way, we only stopped after more than 15k at Monte de Gozo, way after passing by the Santiago airport.

Here we agreed that we’ll meet in the afternoon and I went ahead – we both wanted to arrive alone so Santiago.

Around an hour later I arrived. Went around the cathedral a couple of times as I was surprised that it is not allowed to go in with backpack and there was no place to leave it. So I went for my compostella that took an hour.

I’ve also caught up with Lukazs which was a nice surprise.

After checking in the hostel I went back to the cathedral and then walked a little bit around the old town. As nice the town could be, as annoying the amount of people was for me. Starting to understand why 3 days of Camino Frances is recommended before arriving to Santiago: need time to adjust…

Did some groceries and then went on to meet with Jeremy and Lukazs for dinner. Once again we had churros con chocolate but this time not to get energy for the road but for the pleasure only 🙂

We visited the evening pilgrims’ mess where we I saw once again one of the Lithuanian guys and we got to see the big pot(?) filled with incense being swung that was traditionally to overcome the smell of the pilgrims. Looked majestic though.

I sad goodbye to Jeremy as well. When I started and got to chat with the Spanish veteran camino guys I never thought that I’ll be the one out of the people whom I got to know on the camino to go furthest and quickest. Not that I was racing I just didn’t I could keep up and/or keep on going.

Prepped myself some food for continuing the next day and got to sleep early which was a first in some time.


Day 28 – The one with 500 miles

I’ve started alone after a breakfast but caught up again with Maria soon. The sunset was partly hidden behind clouds but before the stars and moon made up for it.

We arrived in Arzua around 1pm where Jeremy caught us as well. This is where the Camino Norte merges into the Camino Francaise along with one alternative of the Primitivo.

We sat down for a churros con chocolate and watched the pilgrims passing by. There were very noticeably more people and many of them looking rather tourists than anything else. The feeling of the Camino changed quite drastically: many tourists with their rucksacks sent with couriers and people walking casually with day-packs not being really friendly or considerate. Even the fairly new camino signs all vandalised. Kinda made me feel bad .. Also the amount of cafés, restaurants and albergues was just overwhelming. Not one albergue per 20k but 20 in one town.

Fortunately most part of the way was still leading through forest. Although we planned to say goodbye in Arzua we went on together searching for a place for lunch and a last drink. However by the time we found one and had a small beer we realised that we only 6k from the supposed end of the next etap, O Pedrouzo. So maybe because of the beer or just feeling the pull of Santiago we decided to do it. It meant more than 40k to which none of us prepared for today.

We found a nice looking hostel and went for a last dinner as next day I was to go to Santiago but Maria and Jeremy to stay behind which this time really meant parting.

After all it was a day with 43+k, record breaking step count and saying goodbye to people whom I spent a considerable amount of time in the past month sharing experiences and having chats about topics that I would have never expected.

Also, I just walked 500 miles and I will walk a 100 more 🙂

A very impressive ad for an albergue: