Day 30 – The one with no stopping

I started a bit after 7 after some breakfast.

Once again in the dark and occasional rain and of course this was again not a light polluted city walk but through a forest.

Before 11 I was in Negreira (22k from Santiago) so it was a quite quick decision that I want to go further. It was the plan as well. So after a second-breakfast-break I went on.

The rain as well. It just wouldn’t stop. And once again it was proper rain so I couldn’t power through it in t-shirt. Meh. However, just when I started to be a bit pissed because of the weather I passed by a bus stop where a pilgrim couple was taking a break and one of them ran to me offering a piece of chocolate. It came in the best moment, once again lifting my mood a lot.

Before 2pm I was in Vilaserio, 34k from Santiago. This was my first plan for the day. However there was a town, San Marina, in 8k so after a nice tea and hot chocolate and some small talk with the pilgrims waiting for the rain to calm, I left.

I crossed path a couple of times with a Checz man, Merek and finally we started walkig together. We stopped shortly in San Marina but went on soon. This was exciting as San Marina was already past 40k.

Even mlre than before the weather turned crazy with wind and sometimes stopping the rain, even giving a bit of sunshine. But all in all it was difficult to walk sometimes.

We arrived to Mallono (53k!) before 6pm and stopped to check the albergue there and ask about the following ones. Finally we decided to complete the second etap as well, going all the way to Olveiroa.

I closed the day with 55.5km in 11:40. What a day! …


Day 26 – The one with 100

As there was rain in the forecast I wanted to start early – the earlier I arrive the longer everything have to dry, including me. After all I left around 7 which meant pitch black with still smoke in the air from the forest fires blown by the wind. Not a pleasant start.

There was a hint of rain in the morning however the all day showers forecast never came. Actually I was really glad about that.

I managed to have such a good rhythm that I passed a fork where the suggested way diverged from the official. I think I missed some kind of fountain or spring but at least my way got slightly shorter.

I first took a rest after 15k and 2:30 mins. Given that for the first hour I barely saw the path making orientation difficult I was quite happy about my progress. It was here where I realised that I’m on a different way than I’ve planned and so the first bigger town – the suggested end for the day, Baamonde – was less than an hour away. So I cut my break short and went on to have a tea there, get more Compede from the pharmacy and have a second breakfast. I was hoping to get a stamp from the albergue but they would not do it as it was before opening time. Despite that the maintainer was standing right there …

So I went on, picked up some bread just before Miraz where the albergue run by the Confraternity of Saint James from the UK. I got there by 2pm after 35k.

The bedbug paranoia and awareness was just one of the reasons I liked the place from the start. It also had a fireplace that set a cosy atmosphere.

Today I’ve also crossed the 100 mark – actually by quite a bit: Miraz is at 85 🙂

Day 25 – The one with the smoke

To make a mark of Sunday I made some scrambled eggs for breakfast. Not the best for a 35k day but it lifted my spirits.

We started around 9 with 3 hours of uphill ahead of us. It was no fun especially with smoke and dust in the air: as we later learned there were forest fires all over Galicia … However by going uphill in the morning with occasional descents gave us several sunrise moment over the surrounding mountain ridge.

All the uphill also had the benefit of us getting up to the level of some wind turbines on nearby hills. Nearby hills that we saw few days ago in the unreachable distance and height.

The path for some time went by crop field and some of them were freshly sprayed with fertiliser – one right when we passed by – but mostly it led through beautiful forest paths. Thanks to the smoke and dust in the air the sun had a nice orange-ish colour that made the forest even more amazing.

It took 4hrs to Abadin and 6 more to Vilalba – it should have been 35k but we went one further than the recommended albergue and apparently some more during the day closing at almost 40k.

I’ve made some pasta with garlic and leftover bacon from yesterday that turned out to be better than I’ve expected 🙂

Today the first sign mentioning Santiago appeared on the road that cheered us up a lot. Less than 120k to go 🙂


Day 24 – The one with the heat

I left around 8 after having to get back my towel and baseball cup from fellow pilgrims thinking they were for take …

I was hoping to see the sunrise but the clouds started right above the buildings. The weather turned nice slowly from the morning gloom and so I got to go without a sweater finally.

The way lead through forests in most parts and although often laid with concrete it was still pleasant to go on.

Late in the morning I caught up with Maria and we went together from then on. Had a break around noon at Vilamartin Grande that I really needed as I left Ribadeo without a breakfast hoping to have it in a bar around 10am but that place was closed. So finally I got to eat and also to rest after 17km.

We met a Holland guy who was walking the Camino to arrive at Santiago now for the 22nd time, this time for the redemption of a friend of his late wife who has very bad cancer. Apart from his motivation, dedication, and belief, his preparedness was also impressive: he had a backpack with the same weight as mine but his including a tent and cooking equipment.

In the afternoon the weather was more than nice, we actually started to struggle with the heat so when we stopped for our last break in Lourenza the ice cream was an obvious choice 🙂 (also the pain aux chocolate that I was craving all morning)

Boosted with sugar we went on to arrive in Mondonedo after almost 38k and close to 10 hours.

Since by now walking in slippers and without a backpack felt like flying we went a bit around the city and did some shopping for dinner and for Sunday.

Dinner was nice, we got some extra from other pilgrims eating close to us and we talked with them a bit.

The albergue had quite strict policies to prevent bedbugs and we did laundry too so the night started hopeful after dinner.

Today I also started to formulate plans for the end of the trip as well. It was now more than hopeful to get to Finisterra … 🙂

Day 23 – The one with the last beaches

I left the albergue at 8 while it was still somewhat dark. My plan was to get to a viewpoint before sunrise.

I found a nice hidden beach – off track. Then found my way back and got to the viewpoint but by then the sun was already up. The view was still spectacular so all was well. This was already the coastal alternative that I decided to follow. It is a bit longer but it was a short day anyway.

Got to Tapia de Casariego around noon which was a bit slow but with the early stops it was not surprising. I took my lunch here and went on to Ribadeo.

In the afternoon I crossed Maria and a poor German guy who had it even worse than I did a couple of days ago.

The rivercrossing just before Ribadeo left me with mixed feelings. The way leads through the highway bridge (at least with a fenced sidewalk) that was ugly however the view on the huge delta was impressive.

Finally arrived to the albergue on the riverside after just below 30k in close to 8 hours. It was a slow day but kind of intentionally: I started early and had many breaks to enjoy the last day on the coast.

I just crossed the border of Asturia and Galicia and Ribadeo is the last stop before the way turns inland to Santiago.

Also, less than 200k to go 🙂

Day 21 – The one with the goodbyes

After yesterday’s reunion we started the day together with Camille, Maria and Jeremy. We were a bit slow but talked quite some in the morning.

However since with Maria we planned to do 34k and we only got 14k in 4 hours we decided to leave the French behind soon after lunch.

It was a quite long day with some beautiful beaches, super green forest paths, occasional mud swamps, a few stream crossings, and some main road as well. However, overall it felt like a long but nice day. Probably the summer like weather helped in this.

We arrived in Luarca after 10 and a half hours and 36k (some coastal path and unintentional detour was involved…). We were not too happy at first when we learnt that the albergue is full however the hostel was not too expensive and quite impressive.

We found a place with pilgrim menu where after so much waiting I finally had a seafood dinner: fish soup and a kind of Spanish fish and chips. The later was OK but the soup was absolutely delicious.

My cold got better however my feet starts to become one big blister despite the plasters and finally the bedbugs got to me: I found that I’m covered in bites :/

Oh, but I now went more than 600k 🙂

Day 20 – The one with the reunion

Well it’s not nice to get cold anyway but when you are supposed to go 30+ km it feels worse. So in the morning I went to have breakfast but I felt that I have to stay in the albergue. I packed myself afterwards under blankets and the sleeping bag.

What I was not expecting is that around 10 I started to get better and I got a hint from Maria that there’re albergues in few hours time. So I actually got myself together (mostly I had a second breakfast) and around 11 I left the albergue.

I was listening to music again which seemed to give me super powers: in the first 2 hours I did more than 14k without feeling it.

Then I had a very unexpected meeting with Camille whom I last saw 10 days before. So we joined up for some time and breaks up until the last hour when I went ahead.

Finally I arrived quite fast – again with music, above 6kmph. I found a shop and a pharmacy so got some supplies then went to the albergue where Maria was already there but also Jeremy who I also haven’t seen since 10 days.

Unfortunately I had to go back a bit as the stamping was done in a bar but without the bag I literally ran 🙂

We had a nice “reunion” dinner and waiting for the water to heat up for shower …

Day 19 – The one with the cold

Yet another roller-coaster day but I guess that’s just standard on the Camino, especially on the North way: up and down, up and down.

I started to feel kinda sick. Maybe the night out on the porch, maybe not wanting to put on a sweater in the chilly morning the day before or maybe the cold shower but something got to me. Little bit of sore throat – but that actually went by quickly – and cold. Not really what you need here.

I left around 9 planning to have a fairly short day: 25 until Aviles. I was looking for a place to have a tea as I forgot it in the hostel when to much to my surprise I saw Maria.

So once again we went together and arrived at Aviles around 4. The road was kinda mixed: ugly city walk out from Gijon, then some nicer hills but then approaching Aviles next to some industrial area and main roads. For quite some part. Finally in Aviles we immediately decided to go further: the smog and/or dust was so heavy in the city that you could actually see that it clouds the sight.

After a break therefore we went on to a place that was supposed to be in Salinas, only 7k away.

By this time I started to feel quite unwell and looked not too good as it has been pointed out. I went ahead and then following the arrows I realised that I’m getting away from the place I was heading. By the time I figured that I either have to back track a bit or explore a dirt road Maria caught up with me and we decided with the later one.

We found ourselves on a probably abandoned motocross or mountain bike track in the forest with ramps and stuff but after working our way up on it we got back to civilisation. This was around 2kms fun and wondering where we are…

It took us some time and Google Maps to get to the albergue on top of a hill but around 6 we arrived. It was an extension of a church and although there was not much around the owner offered us a ride to the supermarket. There was already a Spanish and Polish girl and they went shopping while I was trying to get myself together so at least I can have dinner once they return.

I went asleep hoping that the massive amount of tea and the neo citran I took might help to sleep my cold out.

I’ve realised that I barely took pictures this day: not muc to see and too busy with my sickness. Not great. But I was really thankful for Maria to keep my spirit up and even doing the shopping for me.

Day 18 – The one with the waves

In the morning it turned out that the French woman travelling with a French boy from yesterday had an interesting story. It was a rehabilitation program for the boy and the woman was escorting him leaving all decisions about the way to him.

However this did not come to light too early: for some reason everyone slept in. I woke up around 8 thinking that everyone must have left already or at least having breakfast. On the contrary. I ended being the first for breakfast. And as the people came we had nice conversation. I guess partly because they were going to go on the Primitivo path meaning we have little chance meeting again.

So I left record late, not much before 10.

Maybe because I started late or maybe because for the first time I was listening to music along the way I seemed to have a quite fast pace.

Apart from small talks with fellow pilgrims and some fig picking I didn’t even stop until after 25k.

Altough I got curious and was tempted about the Primitivo, I chose to go to Gijon as it saves one day. Not that I wanted to rush the Camino but I still felt I might be able to go to Fisterra as well but only if I keep my pace.

During the day as an experiment I kept waving drivers who passed by. It was very uplifting to see most of them smiling and waving back.

We talked with Sven and decided to meet in Gijon. So I kept my break short and went on.

Closed the beautifully sunny day after almost 30k in less than 6 hours with a tea with Sven.

As once again I was past the official albergue I found a hostel to stay and went grocery shopping.

The Lithuanian father mentioned a movie about the Camino: The Way. I watched it before going to sleep. One thing I already have to agree on with it: many – if not most – of the people not sure why they started the Camino or realise that the true reason is different from what they thought. In any case, I yet to see it how it turns out for me as well.