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A Journey on the Camino Frances: From England to Santiago


Camino enthusiast.
Time of past OR future Camino
Two weeks dog sitting in England with the lovely Archie, the Vizsla from Dusseldorf, and I caught a Ryanair back to Santander last night(it was over an hour late). This morning, yawningly, I am heading to León to continue into the sunset: Santiago and Fisterra by renfe. Getting into and out of the Camino Frances can be very tiring... A BlaBlaCar trip I had organised a couple of days ago cancelled yesterday evening so I was left a little stuck in Santander (I know the Norte goes this way, but I haven't the money or time for that northern route).
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Day Six...I ate well. Making a soup and a spaghetti dish from the various vegetables and the chorizo before hitting the hay. Asleep in no time. Now I am drinking tea on top of Kefir - tea on an empty stomach is a no no - as I await the percolator to produce java beans in the ground floor dining room of Albergue de la Piedra. It's not yet 6...

Meandering around town after 5pm I was looking for a couple of pairs of replacement underpants as these three are developing difficulties in the gusset area: there isn't any material left, but the benefit is that they're airfree/carefree. All clothes are freshly laundered this morning. And I've a pair of Spanish, Astorga, Lana socks to replace the thread bare Smartwool™ ...

***Three hours then a break for coffee, burnt chestnuts and raw burnt hot potatoes*** which may have consequences?
There were none. Coming into Galicia I literally cried. The food carried me all the way up to the final stop, prior to leaving Spain to walk into another world entirely, where a huge piece of chocolate (and something) bollo and a cañja of Estrella Galicia, which is definitely the best macro lager/pilsner/germanic beer in Iberia.

It was a wild end to a wet day. In y León sunshine and showers all the time and in Galicia the Atlantic was throwing itself against the great divide, so that it could gouge it's way back where it came - this being the watershed where no Saracen set foot: they were not fool hardy with with its woad faced Celts! But it's taken me 10 years to get here so the tears poured sweetly from these eyes

Brendan and I shared a pile of unknown Pork pieces: ears, backbone, etc, without any bread or juice and it was so rich! OK I've washed it down with Godello, but I think it's too rich? Perhaps that's what happened on Thursday night/Friday morning. He's gone. I like to spend a little time alone. I walk alone and I digest alone.
Crossed a frontier yesterday. And now am out of 'Spain' and into Galicia which (I recall from graffiti in 2013) is not Spain. I actually cried with happiness and joy and hope and peace, and I almost did a little dance, when returned to this part of Spain, Iberia, Europe, etc. after ten years of trying, and failing to return again.
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
And now am out of 'Spain' and into Galicia which (I recall from graffiti in 2013) is not Spain.
In 1990 I remember seeing lots of political graffiti. Minority languages were still officially suppressed and government was very centralised. You could track your progress across the country by noting the language of the spray painting or which part of "Castilla y Leon" had been obliterated. Still a bit of that about!
In 1990 I remember seeing lots of political graffiti. Minority languages were still officially suppressed and government was very centralised. You could track your progress across the country by noting the language of the spray painting or which part of "Castilla y Leon" had been obliterated. Still a bit of that about!
I noticed it too. Ten years betwixt. In Castilla y León either one had been erased from existence!
Prepare for your next Camino on Santa Catalina Island, March 17-20

The further from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port the more uptight I've become: some days I have been less wound up, but over the duration I've definitely become more and more like a coiled spring ready to release all its tension in one moment of expiration - with a bang and not a dampened whimper!

It's as though the closer I get to reaching the goal the less happy I am to cross the finish line?

During the second part of this Camino Frances I have had a couple of mind altering moments, peak experiences? Reaching Galicia on that tough day and then seeing echoes of home on another tough day... But otherwise empty?

Buenos Días. It's foggy. There is a guy called Raphael who has walked from his home on the other side of the Sistema Central north of Madrid (Sierra de Guadarrama), along the same route I walked in December 2022, before the old war wound of the left foot broke my step coming into Segovia! This is his '100th' Camiño ... He's done loads! But that's because it is running in Spains blood. As a northern barbarian, with our 'protestant' ways, this is all foreign muck and not the be trusted ... I thought he was French as he definitely had a döppelganger on the other side of the Pyrenees in days gone by... Perhaps back in 2013, but he was from Brittany!

The 'red' albergue, for a full €2 more, has been a learning curve for me. The Xunta Municipal albergue is definitely in the past now as there is too much wanting for €10 (which is a strange one as the Xunta of Galicia wants to showcase the Camiño as part of having the UNESCO stamp of approval and the area feels a little on the brink of penury with so many ruined houses, etc)

Writing a journal is not the same as writing a narrative - I rarely go back to the journal and rewrite it, unless there are glaring spelling, grammar or sense issues: and I need a true theme for the 'story' of the way. What hasn't been said about O Camiño?

Waiting to begin the day in the light, watching a platoon drift passed on their way to the pit head (with a coal mine lamp in place), it's huevos con tomate y tosados. I almost had a shower yesterday, but I've no fresh clothes for Friday morning: one more day soiling soiled on top of unclean body... It's not the end of existence!
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A selection of Camino Jewellery
Even in this moment I can't step back and relax: why am anxious in the rain? I am fully protected wearing waterproof trousers and the aging Paramo coat, and I've the backpack covered. For combustibles I've a pocket full of cooked chestnuts (the ones I picked on the way to Samos).l

All my clothes are laundered, but the underpants (bamboo) are not so quick drying! So one pair is on damp and the remainder in a plastic bag for the next chance to dry: wherever today ends. Weary. Albergue Bela Muxía was clean and quiet, but I can't stand those disposable bedding sets: they make me sweaty in bed: I like to be frigid in bed. It was still value for money as the staff were smiley and helpful(€16).

Trying to wait for sunrise before doing another days walking: there is a very refreshing fuente below Igrexa de Santa Maria which I want to replenish my flask with.

All that anxiety. It's just weariness. There is always one cafe opening by 7am somewhere in the universe?

O Xardín café where a sign on a table says 'free' but the items on it are not 'free'! Perhaps it's the table which is free standing or a liberated being 🤣? So I have a weighty slice of Torta de Santiago... I am almost no longer weary!1000007581.jpg
Don't know if this kind of question is allowed on the forum, but here goes: returning the UK (Stansted) this evening from Santiago and I've come across a little hitch! The YHA Cambridge, where I tend to get to when I return North from Camino-land is fully booked ... Has anyone experience of returning to the UK and finding help with accommodation around the Stansted area?
Down bag (90/10 duvet) of 700 fills with 180 g (6.34 ounces) of filling. Mummy-shaped structure, ideal when you are looking for lightness with great heating performance.

Well there are is plenty of accommodations options in the Stansted area tonight listed on booking.com
From £40 upwards.
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Well there are is plenty of accommodations options in the Stansted area tonight listed on booking.com
From £40 upwards.
Cheers but I have to think of my final destination. Stansted is not near to home so I can't stay there. It's just not sensible with London nearby...
Getting from Stansted to Cambridge puts me in an ideal position for the 'trek' back to Yorkshire as there is a direct Flixbus tomorrow morning from Trumpington.
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
The first edition came out in 2003 and has become the go-to-guide for many pilgrims over the years. It is shipping with a Pilgrim Passport (Credential) from the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.
Well it was for a lot of the way! Behind me the moon and Venus as companions and Jupiter to the west, but obviously I was walking south to Cabo do Fisterra. After almost falling completely down a flight of marble steps, which I had failed to recall coming to the communal area, I sighed, straightened up, put my boots on and went up and over to the same spot I reached in June 2013: where there was much detritus of the end of the way (as there was ten years ago). A long bus journey, along the glorious coastline, before heading up to the hinterland beyond Noia.

Popping into Rúa Nova 7 to touch base an O Camiño celebrity, if you will? Ivar, the guy behind the excellent Camino Forum, who was sat tracking the cosmic alignments of all things relating to Santiago, was there. I recall fondly his YouTube moments during COVID times: when it was only him and Santiago, and a world of pilgrims praying for release...

The sun is beginning to fall on me outside Sindueña craft beer bar (36 Rúa Nova )as it moves into the west (and out into the Atlantic Ocean), and I can reflect a little upon The Way (on Friday I blubbed here too).


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