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Day 9: Albariño Wine

Albariño wine is a good companion to saying good-bye to Santiago. I am now sitting at the Cafe Literarios sipping some good wine and writing this post. There's a father to my right doing homework with his two very well behaved children - doing justice to the Cafe's name. It's been two nights since my arrival and even with all the pain I have not been able to stop walking around this city. This is a truly international town with most visitors arriving on foot. How unique is that?? Regardless of the spoken language, it's really nice to see pilgrims arriving. Some cry, some don't. But they all have that familiar expression of relief and amazement upon arriving in Santiago. That feeling that the mission is accomplished and that now they can relax and enjoy the moment of arrival. It's been an amazing experience and one that I would love to do again. Camino Frances, anyone? Well, I am not sure which way I'll be coming back but I know I will. John, this is a call…
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Day 8: Pilgrim's Mass

I attended the Pilgrim's mass the day after I arrived in Santiago. I hadn't been to a mass in a few years. Because the mass was in Spanish I was compelled to pay close attention in order to understand the message. It sermon was a beautiful message about acceptance. I was in a trance the whole time trying not to miss what was being said. When the priest called people to the communion, I jumped up so automatically it surprised me. I got in line and some how hoped that that one simple communion would have all my sins forgiven. Yes, I did hope for that and why not? After the mass, I got in line and to touch Santiago at the altar and that point I was feeling more like a tourist then the devout catholic that I am not.

Day 7: Pilgrim's Office

Time to get the Compostela. I lucked out because there were no lines at all when I arrived at the Pilgrim's office.  First one in! I was a bit out of it. Tired I guess. I heard the guy stamping my credential and asking me for my passport. I told him the correct spelling of my Dad’s name since it's misspelled in my passport. He handed me the certificate with my first name in Latin. Done. Walking outside, I met two nice ladies who were the 'Friends of the Camino'. They offered me a cup of tea and took me upstairs to tell me about the work they are doing.  They were offering a nice friendly place for pilgrims to unwind after arriving. Turned out they were nuns and we had a nice chat. Then, one of them went downstairs and grabbed two more people. We all chatted and it was nice hearing completely different experiences from mine. Weird?? You betcha!! But a nice welcome break with a nice cup of tea. They offered me to stay at a convent for €20 a night. The convent was a lovel…

Day 7: Arriving in Santiago de Compostela

With only 9 miles to go you'd think it was a breeze getting here. Not!!! I walked slowly, as slow as it gets, just like a turtle!! Yes! I made it. I took my time and I got here. First impression coming from the Portuguese Way!? Goddam Spanish people sure like some hills. Steep, steep climbs on asphalt really sucks!! Don't they know that?? It hurts – A lot!!! Only those who done it for miles know it. But then again I walked right by a hospital, you know, in case you can't walk anymore and need to be taken in. After that, I started a descent through the new town - not so attractive, to be honest. It was way too modern for someone expecting an old charming European town. But then I spotted the Cathedral - ha, the Cathedral!!! And somehow after walking 100+km without a map, only following the yellow arrows, I lost the Camino. Seriously!! How lame is that!?? I walked all the way here without a problem, finding arrows on tree branches, faded asphalt, made up signs, trash cans, e…

Day 7: Ames - Santiago de Compostela

I am sitting at this beautiful dinning room right by the window looking at the grey sky outside. The hostal owner has made me a beautiful breakfast with coffee, tea, orange juice, breads, cakes, cold cuts and marmalades. I am a total sucker for cakes so she might regret having placed a whole cake by my side. Last night, I ventured again up the hill through some cold rain to have a glass of Mencia at the local and only bar. The bar lady had seen me in the afternoon, when I walked in asking for some hot tea to go with the paracetamol I bought at the pharmacy. She poured the wine and I asked for a bocadillo. She walked out and I heard the machine slicing the chorizo on the back. She comes back with four bocadillos and says four makes one!! I ate a couple and I ran back home right before the sky was completely dark, having a mini heart attack every time a large dog came, running and barking, to the gates I was passing by. This house is beautiful but so cold. I am here contemplating the …

Day 6: A night in Ames

I am so close but I had to stop in Ames for the night because of the pain my on left foot. The walk here was beautiful though. I am walking slowly so I have time to enjoy the little things along the Camino. Can't wait to get home so I can post all the pictures (and correct all the typos).

Today, I walked through A Esclavitude, A Picaraña, Faramello and Milladouro. Each little town is a bit different but it's all very green, full of flowers and postcard worthy. I saw people working on their land, hanging out, taking a walk and walking their dogs. Watching Gallegos having a conversation is like watching a telenovela - it's so animated... They're voices raise up, go back down and they get all excited. As you walk by they all say hi and continue talking as if they never interrupted the flow of the conversation by saying hi.

The weather is much colder today and I had my rain jacket on from the time I left Padron. I walked long stretches coming in and out of the woods. Not as …

Day 6: Padron - Ames

I left pretty late this morning. I wasn't too concerned about walking later in the day. The weather has changed so much and it is now much cooler. I didn't manage to miss the rain this time but it tuned out to be very enjoyable walking on the rain today. My left foot still bothers me a lot and I can feel the blisters on my hills at all times. The cotton socks I bought in Calda dos Reis don't seem to be too much of a problem. Although I could feel my feet getting sweaty along the way so I stopped few times to add more Vaseline. No problem there - better be safe than sorry.

I knew I wasn't going to make to Santiago today and I'm okay with the extra day. I walked slowly and enjoyed every single minute of my walk. There were a lot of hikes though some beautiful landscape. Also, a lot of rain at some points but it was very quiet and peaceful. I found many encouraging signs along the route and even met the two German ladies again along the way. We agreed to meet in Santia…