Thursday, May 29, 2014

May 27th,28th and 29th- Santiago to Finisterre

I had decided to continue the Camino and walk to the sea, The Camino ends at Finisterre which the Romans thought was the end of the earth/world,
I set off around 7am and walked into the main square and past the lovely parador, down the hill and into the unknown, I did not have a guide or at least the guide that the tourist office gives you is basic to say the least, I decided to 'wing' it and just follow the arrows and find an aubergue when i needed one, The first days walk was very nice, Quiet with very few other walkers, Maybe 10 all day max, The way was well marked, One thing to remember is to always look behind as you see some beautiful scenery you may have missed, On this day i watched the sun rise over Santiago, There were some nice old bridges, One bridge i was crossing had a group of school children with a teacher, As i was crossing the teacher talked to the children and they then turned around and made a gap for me to walk through, As i walked though they all started to clap which put a smile on my face, I thought that i would be staying in Negreira which was only around 21km, I noticed that there was a flier on a tree for a new aubergue 11km further, 32km would be about right as the extra walk was 89km and i wanted to complete it in 3 days, Pushing it a little as i was tired from the weeks before, It was strange, as if my body was saying 'hold on we have finished' and my mind saying 'not yet i still want to get to finisterra' My legs were the hardest to get working in the mornings but after some coffee and something to eat i would normally make good time,
Day 2 was not as nice a walk, A lot of road even though country type roads made it hard work and tough on your feet, I ended the day with 28km so well on track, The route was quite hilly with one or 2 very steep and long, The vegetation would change from farm type spring flowers to gorse and heather and in places it was like Scotland,
Day 3 was much nicer with one big exception-rain, The trail was nearly all off road-great but it was raining from the start and was pretty heavy alot of the time, It was 4.5 hours before it even considered to slow down, My feet were saturated infact everything was saturated, I stopped about 10km out of Finisterre and dried my feet and changed my socks as i was very concerned about getting blisters, I made it into Finisterre without any problems, The last mile or so you walk along the beach which is very nice, If it had been day 1 i would probably not have walked with all the rain, It was an extra part of the journey that i personally wanted to do, You have to enjoy the walk or why else do it, The rain was not that enjoyable but as it was the last day i carried on and am very happy that i did, The Camino to Finisterre would be a great walk in good weather but this is Galicia and that means a lot of rain, Once i had got a bed and dried off the weather cleared and i made a dash up to the lighthouse about 3km away, I got the shots that i wanted and watched some people burn their clothes which is an old tradition, The milke marker there said 0 and that means that the trail is well and truly at an end as is my journey, Nothing to do now but to travel back to Santiago tomorrow and spend a couple of days with family before going back to the UK and then home to the States
I will do a couple of future blogs on kit and personal thoughts whilst on the Camino

First sign that i am heading in the right direction
 Sun rise over Santiago as i head West
  Very precise distance markers
 Old Bridge
Bridge where i was clapped

 The Camino shells point in the other direction since leaving Santiago
 The nicest part of Negreira was the exit to the town
 Street sculpture with 2 sides

No idea what this is but i have seen a lot of them
 Storage huts now made of stone and getting bigger
 The lovely foxglove after the rain
 Rush hour on the Camino
 Open graveyard on the Camino
 What way?
Back in the hills means wind farms
 Side of the aubergue
 Left to Finisterre and right to Muxia
 Yellow Hammer on a yellow arrow (wish i had a bigger lens)
 First sight of Finisterre
Lunch with a view
 Halfway to the lighthouse

 Camino ends at the end of the earth
 Yours Truly
 The lighthouse
People leave and burn their 'old life' kit here-a new life begins after
 People gathering for the burning
 Weather closing in all too soon

I hope you have enjoyed following my journey as much as i have in walking it, I still have a blog to write on Santiago and a couple of follow up blogs so watch this space


Monday, May 26, 2014

May 25th-Arzua to Santiago De Compostella

Well i have done it, Its official, I have my compostella or certificate to say that i have completed the walk, I also paide 3 euro's extra to get one with a start and finish date and mileage so i can remind myself in my old age,
The day had started as it had previously, Misty fog covering the fields, Not cold but cool and the air was full of bird song, In other words perfect, I scanned the fields for signs of fox or badger, It just seemed a perfect time of day to see one, There were signs but that was all, I was undecided how far i would walk, I thought i would stay 5-10 km outside of Santiago and walk in early the next morning, At the end of the day i had this thing in my head saying that i started on the 25th so it seemed right to end on the 25th, My body felt good except for the blister i had on my left foot pad, I stopped a couple of times and checked it and it seemed ok but as i got close to Santiago i knew it was filling and growing, As per the norm when entering a city you have to go through the crappy parts to get to the nice part, Santiago is no different, If anything its the crappiest city i have walked through so far, There were aubergue's in the crappy part as well, I kept walking, I found the old town and walked towards the Cathedral when i could a sign on the side of a door saying aubergue, It was strange but i decided to have a look and sure enough above a shop is a very nice aubergue, 1 minute from the Cathedral and they let me stay 2 nights, Only 2 bunks to a room-perfect, I dropped my gear and walked into the square at the Cathedral, I had no idea what emotions i would have , Some fall apart and some are left cold, I was one of the latter, I think it was because the rain was pouring down and there were very few people around, Later in the evening i went back and it was very busy and dry and it had a much nicer feel and put a smile on my face, Another reason as i had said before was that my wife was not there to celebrate the moment,
Santiago is a busy place, Very touristy and there are more than a few beggars, There seems to be bagpipes played all the time under the tunnel as you enter the square and they can be heard a long way off which is actaully very nice, Bagpipes and Gaelic music can be heard in many tourist sgops as well which goes to show the close ties with Northern Spain and Ireland
I will write a blog on Santiago separately as its a big subject, Off to start my walk to Finisterre tomorrow if my blister co-operates

Mystical pathway
Misty Morning with foxgloves
River crossing
Probably the best kept garden on the Camino
Eucalyptus trees are very common here, Must have been imported, Great scent along the route
Nearly there, This is just past the airport
Follow the Yellow arrows and shells
Monte Gozo where you get the first peek of Santiago

Not elegant but shows that you have arrived, Still a couple of miles walking to get to the Cathedral

 Camino markers
 Job done, Very proud moment
 More people around late afternoon and the weather had improved

Its been a long journey, Its gone very fast and i cannot believe that i have made it, There have been lots of things in the way that have tried to stop or slow me down, I think mind over matter and the British bulldog spirt has pulled me through, Its shown me that determination wins and that i am stronger than i thought, Failure was never an option


Saturday, May 24, 2014

May 24th-San Xulian to Arzua

I had a lovely night at the Aubergue, Good food and great company, I hit the sack early as i had yet to decide if i would be having a very long day or a medium day, The reason being is that the Aubergue's had a bit gap meaning either over 40km or well under 30km, When i got up i felt pretty good, Better than a long time, It was the first day when i did not reach straight for the pain killers, The blisters were healing and the shin was getting to look a more normal size, The weather was beautiful, Very misty and the sun was trying to come through, Very atmospheric, I was walking along and it was truly a joy, The countryside here is wonderful, There is very little left like this in the UK, I could see animal tracks and the air was full of bird song, A lot of the walk was along country lanes or trails with nice soft mud to help the feet from the pounding that they are used to, I could feel that i had an extra spring in my step, As time went on i stopped for coffee etc and more and more people joined the trail, I walked on to Arzua and made the decision to rest here today and not push the extra 3 hours to the next aubergue, No point in upsetting the feet and shin, I have decided to have a longer day tomorrow and stay just outside of Santiago, That way i can be in Santiago early on Monday, Have some breakfast, Get my Compostella and have a look around the Cathedral, I also need to get details on the aubergue's to the coast

Beautiful country lanes

 No idea what these wild flowers are
 A house with a clue
 No idea but i guess another place to dry meat
Misty Mourning

 Last bridge before breakfast

 A friendly face
Picturesque well
 River crossing
 Vines growing across the house front, There were a few like this