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LIVE from the Camino And so to Santiago...


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Year of past OR future Camino
First 2016
Latest Camino Frances Jul-Aug 2020
I last posted whilst waiting to eat at Casa Barbadelo. Dinner was adequate but served with ill grace which the growing number of Peregrinos in the restaurant did little to alleviate. The meal was fine though.

Next morning we set off with the plan of staying somewhere between Portmarin and Palau’s de Rei. The walk to Portmarin was pleasant with more Peregrinos than before but not sufficient to overly disturb the path and few enough to stand out as individuals. Drizzle developed into full blown rain shortly before Portmarin and we happily stopped for hot drinks and tapas at Cafe d’Espana on Rua do Peregrino. At this point one person decided to call it a day and find an albergue leaving two of us to head onwards. It turned out afterwards that most people wisely cut their stages short. Heading off on the Complimentario camino in the woods in now heavy rain and gusting winds, Gonzar and Castromaior were shut and we arrived at Hospital de Cruz to shelter in the porch of the closed Xunta albergue and appraise the options. I had imagined that Hospital de Cruz would be a small town but there seemed to be little there other than a busy road. Maybe it has charms visible only in sunshine. We phoned ahead to Casa Mola in Ventas de Naron where they said they would check with their reservations to see if there was space and we set off again into the rain. I want to make it plain that while it was uncomfortable and tiring the stage was far from hellish. The weather was not cold and from this point we walked on a peaceful road largely sheltered from the wind and as a result it was not unpleasant. Drinking Cola Cao at Casa Mola we eventually booked at Pension Ereixe and set off on the last 6km of the day. We arrived tired and bedraggled at what turned out to be a good albergue with a friendly owner. The main casualties of the rain were my first credential and Rother Reisefuhrer where my rain cover had leaked. The owner did our washing and the albergue puppy charmed us by trying to steal our kit., eventually making off with a face mask. The restaurant in the village was shut so I dined off peanuts and Jaffa cakes and fell asleep.

Rain was falling the following morning and a council of war resulted in an agreement to start late when the worst had passed and taking a short stage to Melide. My shoes and pack were still wet and we booked ahead for Albergue Arraigos on for 10€. After an hour or so the day was dry and the walk through Palau’s devRei was uneventful. The only memorable pilgrims were a high speed young family with a toddler in a buggy and afour or five year old running ahead then allowing the rest to catch up. As they passed us after Palau’s de Rei I decided it would be beneath my dignity to race a small child and they disappeared into the distance. Melide was Melide, the albergue was excellent but noisy as we had a full room for the first time and I did not eat pulpo.

I walked from Melide to Santiago in 2017 when walking the Primitivo and I was interested to see what I remembered.The villages were pretty much as I recalled but the bits in between had faded. I now enjoyed the green tunnel but had not banked on the amount of up and down. Our albergue for the last night in O Pedrouzo was O Trisquel which was a bit industrial in scale but did what was needed. I arrived with a problem with my left foot which I could live with to Santiago but I decided that it would be folly to continue to the coast. Feeling a bit down I went out on my own for a pizza and after completing laundry for the last time went to bed.

We left at Seven the next morning after coffee innO Pedrouzo. Numbers on the Camino gradually swelled and after the airport it felt for the first time like the Camino Frances. I was told in Santiago that the previous day they issued c500 Compostelas and when I went to the office at 1pm I was number 239 for the day. The sun came out at Monte de Gozo and Dantiago put on its best face for the last few kilometres. Arriving felt strange as the limited number of Peregrinos meant that tourists had taken ownership of the space in front of the cathedral. I met pilgrims who had arrived the previous day, exchanged stories, collected my Compostela, checked into my hotel and slept.

More people arrived during the afternoon and eventually there were ten of us for dinner in Casa Manolo. This more than anything brought home the difference in numbers this year. We had the table for three hours and although it filled up later there was no pressure to leave and they took 40 minutes to come and take the dessert order. Pictures in the square., a drink on Ryan Franco and to bed.
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I found the narrative detail you shared with us over the course of your journey compelling. You are a keen observer, gns, and I sense that when you've had some time to reflect, and convert all the unshared bullet points to prose, you will delight us anew with your work. Congratulations on your accomplishment; best wishes to you as your future unfolds. John
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