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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
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Day 247 - - Apúlia

Rather a lot of pilgrims on the road, perhaps they had all come out again after hunkering down somewhere against the rain ? They did anyway seem to appear mostly after it died down a little again.

Seafront and boardwalk again, except after I made a mistake, not a wrong turn but a bad choice, to take a more inland route on tarmac and cobblestone. Interesting to walk through the local marshland vegetable farm area, but the walking itself was a bit less pleasant. Oh well, live and don't learn ...

Anyway it was clear that Fão would be too far, and my feeling from the number of pilgrims was that the Albergue and youth hostel there would be full (as there seems to be a majority of reservagrinos), so I came here instead, and as there was only top bunk place available in the dorms, took a single room. Good enough, and I did feel happy for a bit more solitude, though the pilgrims staying here are a good lot, talking of other topics than blisters.

Ham and cheese from the supermarket was enough, though I will need some pilgrim menu soon after a couple of days without, and I seem to have got enough rest now to recover from all those nights outdoors the other week.

I am noticing that I seem now to need less beer to get started in the morning, the pain is that much less, even to the extent that I can forego carrying any in the backpack, which is a serious improvement from the two litres I needed to carry when starting this thing in 2019, or the one litre I had carried in 2021 and this year until very recently.

I guess I might still carry some when I get back to some of the longer and drier stretches of the Francès, but we'll see.

Some blue Fátima arrows have made their appearance again.
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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Days 248 and 249 - - Marinhas ; Castelo do Neiva

I continue to walk 10 to 15 K days, with more or less difficulty from day to day.

The walk to Marinhas was OK in the morning, along the sea, getting more difficult for me when it turned inland, not from the trail, just from fatigue, though I did end it with a tarmac shortcut which wasn't too bad. The Albergue was a bit awkward, having a downstairs upstairs arrangement that really didn't suit me, but I slept OK.

Worst really though was that the one decent place for food was closed for holidays, so I ended up with just scraps.

So then the next morning start was tougher, and the next day shorter. Got a bit better with a breakfast after about 5K, of a turkey slice with eggs, but I still wasn't going to go much further, and I didn't.

In the morning it was cobblestones up and down a hill, then after the breakfast, leading to a dirt trail down to the river, not difficult as such, but there were a few passages that were a tiny bit tricky with my knees and ankles. Then up the other side, cobblestones again, up to the church and the Albergue.

Both Albergues were super full as usual, though the number of pilgrims left out does seem to be decreasing slowly.

Anyway, got in early enough to get my clothes washed, there were beers in the Albergue, and I finally had that pilgrim menu I'd been wanting, steak with a cream and mushroom sauce. A bit too expensive.

I had seen a couple of Polish pilgrims over the past three days, a father and daughter couple, as he's walking nearly as badly as I am, though yesterday they passed on ahead. It made a nice change to see some pilgrims more than once, and I guess there's a little chance I could come across them again.

He is the only pilgrim on this whole Camino so far that I have overtaken on the trail, though he passed me in the same way yesterday, and I am still now anyway a few K behind now.

The weather is a bit warmer again, and still quite humid, but the clouds have lifted.

The first-timer pilgrims have reached the point where they have stopped discussing blisters, are talking about the day's hike, and have started the sharing of their life experiences stuff. OTOH, the proportion of French retired pilgrims on their Nth Camino has increased, it's that time of year.

Day 250 today, and we'll see how far I get, though I would assume just 10K again. I will need some beer from somewhere this morning.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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Day 250 - - Hooray !! - - Viana do Castelo

Took a while to get out of the village, and a few beers, and I chose to follow the tarmac rather than the trail, and it was pretty much straight, easy, and virtually all downhill.

Weather not too bad, but still somewhat humid.

I was one of the last into the Albergue, for a mattress on the floor, and I slept pretty well, as I was able to put it into a corridor where I was alone, and people occasionally going along to the bathroom didn't bother me in the slightest.

Another overpriced pilgrim menu, the food was definitely better away from this more popular route. Still, the meat was good.

Having an earlier start this morning, looks like.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Yearly and Various 2014-2019
Via Monastica 2022
Having an earlier start this morning, looks like.
The best way to avoid the humidity! (Good to read you are inside at night. Yes, putting up with what comes is part of any camino. And...)
You'll soon be back in Spain.

Edit: You may already have this info, but I just saw this in another thread and thought it might be useful:
Ferry from Caminha to A Guarda
Ferryboat Santa Rita de Cássia
Departs from Caminha at 09:00 every half hour until 18:00 (Portuguese time).
Returns from A Guarda at 10:30 every half hour until 19:30 (Spanish time).

BUT it does not run at low tide.

AND it does not run on Mondays.

The Portuguese weekly ferry schedule is updated here:
https://www.cm-caminha.pt/pages/1079
Near bottom of page, click on: the Horário PDF for the week you want.
The Spanish weekly ferry schedule is updated here:
https://www.turismoaguarda.es/en/horarios-ferry/

Portugal is one hour behind Spain. So the ferry from Caminha (Portugal) to A Guarda will be one hour earlier than that shown on the A Guarda (Spain) timetable.

There is also a guy called Mario, in Caminha, who has a boat and can take you across. His phone number is +351 963 416 259.
Mondays are a problem but the water taxi (a large row boat with a motor that seats 6) does run on demand. The owner also hangs out at the coffee shop near the dock. I think it was 5E for the trip.
Here is a link to the Caminha tide chart; Low tide today is 17.36:
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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Day 251 - - Carreço

I followed the yellow arrows for a while, OK at start, but found that it was becoming an increasingly uncomfortable cobblestone pathway in the hills above the coast, far from the kind of bars and cafés where I need my rests every few K.

So I headed down to the tarmac, and quickly found some beers.

Then it was easier, sometimes on a walkin/jogging/cycling path parallel to the main road, sometimes on the functionally equivalent hard shoulder.

Got into Carraço early enough and started considering options, then near midday just called here to see if there were room, and yes, so good.

I could possibly have gone a bit further, and in large part I wanted to, but I looked at the Albergues situation, and decided there was just too much risk of being stuck outdoors.

And I am very glad at that decision. This place is great, the beds are among the most comfortable I've found, great mattresses and thick duvet covers. Fantastic shower room.

Then in the evening, chatting with the pilgrims, bottle of tinto, and ordered a large thing of grilled meat, ribs and chicken, perfect.

I finally decided out of my options that I will cross over on the ferry, and carry on along the Coastal, basically in order to avoid Tui and the likely massive crowd there. Numbers once past Porto have been significant but not enough to overwhelm the Albergue infrastructure, but they presage nothing good for the final 100K of the Central, so I want to at least try to minimise the effects of the crowding on the 100K in, then the 100K out of Santiago.

hmmmm, I don't *think* I'll take the Invierno, but I'll consider those options properly when I'm there.

Starting on tarmac again today.
 
John Brierley 2023 Camino Guide
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Peaceable Projects Inc.
Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.
Time of past OR future Camino
Yearly and Various 2014-2019
Via Monastica 2022
hmmmm, I don't *think* I'll take the Invierno, but I'll consider those options properly when I'm there.
On the way out of Santiago, you mean? Depending on your timing heading home, you might catch the tail end of the September wave that will have started from SJPP a month ago. :eek: Well...the Invierno's much less travelled - and has much more pilgrim infrastructure than it once did. But...hills. And there are some places where short stages are a challenge.
 

JabbaPapa

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Days 252 and 253 - - Caminha ; A Guarda

I am in Galicia !! I am in Spain !!

Yesterday was frankly exhausting.

If it weren't for the border, and my desire to reach it, I would certainly have stopped at Moledo, and slept wherever.

The tarmac as far as Afife was mostly a small walking/jogging/cycling path parallel to the main road, and I carried on through there with a halt at a fairly grotty bar, and started to be hit with more pain than usual about when I got back to the main road. Some big rocks in the shade did provide a resting spot there.

On the main road again to the supermarket at the beginning of Vila Praia de Âncora, bit of a longer halt, then through the town, for one last Portuguese menu, ribs again. And two last glasses of Port, at least until I'm back home.

Gave me the strength to drag myself to Moledo, where I needed two more stops and IIRC 6 more beers, as the pain was really flaring up.

But that was enough pain-killing to get me to Caminha, where some intuition got me to look in at the Albergue Bom Caminho. She had top bunks left only, but I had to decline as I can no longer climb up on those, then offered to drive me to Seixas, but I said why would I go there, I am crossing on the boat tomorrow - - then we started chatting for real, and I ended up sleeping in the back garden, and getting a shower.

There was a communal meal that I could have bought into, except it was pure vegan and inedible for me, it was eating veg that forced me to stop last year. So good thing I had eaten that lunch !!

Did help carry plates to the others though, and did get a couple of glasses of tinto.

But turn of the season is making sleeping outdoors a bit less simple, not for cold, but for the humidity and dew. The damp combined with the fatigue from the hiking to leave me like the walking dead in the morning.

So, dragged myself to the first café for a) wait for the meds to kick in b) beers.

Then a shop for 3 more, drank the first on the Taxi Boat over, two others on the other side, then two first Spanish cervezas in the Sports club, then finally actually get walking for real at about midday Spanish time phew !!

Did OK 'til the first bar, where a kind bloke bought me a beer, and they gave me a simple tapa of some olives and a little cheese on bread, and off on the boardwalk, and it's just beautiful here, but my bloody knees !!

Anyway, eventually a stop at the first place, would have eaten there nearer the start of the month, but still I was given a second tapa with my beer, some chorizo slices and very good I must say, then into town and found myself FINALLY the simple, straightforward steak & eggs I had been craving during these two months or so in Portugal, but they just don't understand how to make it.

Then up to the Albergue and it is NOT full !! Hooray !!

It is a relief though to be back in Spain. I did love Portugal, but the food did not suit me so well, with some notable and delicious exceptions, and the mental fatigue of coping with my poor Portuguese did accrue week to week. Back into the Spanish is a comfort zone by comparison.

And whilst I like the Sagres, I really do far prefer the Spanish beers, the Portuguese Super Bock / Sagres duopoly being rather non-ideal to my mind.

I am nearly two thirds through my Camino, and from now on, there are clear sections to it, and not just the constant grind towards distant goals that it has been so far.

So it's not just a geographic and political border I've crossed, but also a threshold into the start of my journey back through the familiar, albeit not quite yet the shift into walking homewards.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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Days 254 and 255 - - Oia ; Viladesuso

This is the most expensive part of any Camino I have ever walked in, not excluding the French Riviera and Tuscany.

Also, the knee is really acting up.

The landscape is extremely beautiful though, so it's quite the shame that the knee problems are drawing me into myself.

I managed to get into La Cala at Oia, originally to sleep for free on the floor, then cancellations came and I had a bed.

Good place.

But then it took me 'til nearly 10 to get out, knees, and nearly another hour to get out of Oia, and all I could do was walk the short distance to Viladesuso.

I'd write more, but as I said, I am drawn overly into myself by this, and so am not in the mood - - but I do continue onwards.
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 256 - - Baiona

I passed a major milestone yesterday, as I reached the westernmost point of this Camino.

I simply ran out of West.

So back against the Atlantic, though I still follow its coastline for a few hours today, and face beginning to turn towards the Pyrenees, Mediterranean, Alps, and home.

Full tarmac yesterday otherwise, and looks like again today and tomorrow. And I am now moving out of the ultra touristy section of this, phew.

The Albergues are generally becoming of the more standard type that all are aware of, and at least I'm heading into the parts of Galicia where there are the basic cheapo Xunta ones, boring though they may be. But not there yet, need to get to Vigo first.

They are still pretty full, but starting to be filled less than 100%, though we'll see what it's like after the Coastal and Central join up.

The weather is cooling gradually, though it has still been warm enough, and humid. Still a bit too warm for the cape, except punctually so.
 
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JabbaPapa

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Days 257, 258, and 259 - - Saiáns ; Vigo ; Redondela

I am on the Caminho Português Central !!

Three curious days.

I walked to Saiáns on the tarmac, eating nothing all day except for tapas - - as this is one of those parts of Spain where it is still customary to give a tapa with your drink, indeed on the second morning in these three days, having a coffee and a beer, I was given a different one with each, small brioche with the coffee, a slice of tart with the beer.

Saiáns was a mattress on the floor, but still the same €10, and the hospitalera aggressively enforced the (silly) leave by 7:30 AM rule.

More tarmac to Vigo, and after a local gave me a 2-3 K lift towards town, I did contemplate moving on further (though after today I am glad I didn't), though it took me hours to find and get to the Albergue in Vigo, which of course was near to full with the 100K people starting over the weekend. I did drink far too many large Mahou cervezas, so that despite crashing into bed relatively early, I slept an unusual 10 hours, and woke up both tired and late.

It was a struggle to get out of Vigo, including because I had eaten virtually nothing on the second of these days, just that double tapa, the supermarkets being closed on Sunday, and money having become scarce again (sigh).

But I dragged myself through half of the city, got myself some ham and cheese, breakfast, then dragged myself a little less ponderously to the last bar out of Vigo, couple of coffees, then stumbled a bit more, then started walking.

Tarmac through the suburbs, then forest trail, with several springs and founts along the way. Pleasant but slow.

Among the last few pilgrims I saw along the way, there was a blind man, helped along by his guide peregrina. Most impressive.

And it's within the 100K zone, and it's the day after the weekend, so the place is packed, all Albergues full, with the crowd who started at Tui, or Vigo, plus the rest of us.

Not really surprised by this of course, and there were many pilgrims possibly planning on sleeping out, or getting a taxi, and so on - - but as I started to head out and look for a decent place to bunk down myself, because I most certainly did NOT book ahead, I saw a little sign pointing to the Albergue Santiago Apostól (as I found out, the Parrochial), and something came to me, try there, and then after the hospitalera, a young nun, had explained about being full, I asked for a sello, then she saw my ultra huge credencial - - and BTW side A was finally filled up in Vigo, and I am now on side B - - meanwhile she checked in a few pilgrims who had reserved, I peeked about, then I suggested I would happily sleep on the ground in the patio (which is indoors), discussion, and so long story short, I will be sleeping in the living room space instead.

I am not sleeping outdoors. Hooray !! My inflatable mattress most days is just some bulk of nuisance, but apart from the obvious use for sleeping outside, occasionally it gets me into these places that are completely full.

It's how I got into La Cala at Oia, though after a cancellation, I ended up getting a bed there.

Probably going to be a slightly difficult night, especially as the pay coffee machine is in here so the early risers are likely to trouble me in the morning, but that's better than the annoyance and damp from morning dew.
 

JabbaPapa

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Days 260 and 261 - - Arcade ; Pontevedra

Two fairly short days.

Notable pilgrims were the group of horse pilgrims on the first, clearly on an organised tour and not carrying their packs, but I always like those anyway ; and the blind peregrina on the second, seemingly walking in a family group.

Otherwise it's generally the usual crowd of 100Kers, a majority I think just with day packs, though some with not even that much.

The evening yesterday was perhaps the first time I have taken a really good look and listen at them, and I really don't know how I missed it, but the similarity between them and the crowd setting out from SJPP is striking. Just as clueless, equally plugged into the "Real World" and not the Camino, and so on, but with the major difference that they will clearly not have enough time nor distance nor difficulty to be able to realise whatever this Camino is all about, notwithstanding in the slightest that this is a completely individual variable. I mean that they will not have sufficient wherewithal, most of them, people like blind peregrinos and peregrinas and those guiding them aside, and all other exceptions, to find their own Way with its own personal nature and meaning.

The pack transportation and bed reservation services are particularly destructive of people's ability to work this business out for themselves, it has just been made too comfortable and too easy.

Of course I am NOT suggesting that all should walk thousands of K as I am doing, nor even just 1,000 (although it's quite advisable for those with enough time to walk from at least a little further than from SJPP, even if that were just from Saint-Palais or something), but at least 200 or 300 !!

Though I realise of course that if the requirement for a Compostela changed from 100K to 200, that would mainly just enlarge the area of the circus.

Well, I think anyway that I am now just in the rearguard of the September Tui and Vigo 100K wave, and hopefully the one from Sarria will have passed by the time I reach Santiago. The September wave out from SJPP is a trickle by comparison.

The Albergues anyway are starting to be not jam-packed full, though they're certainly still pretty full.

Stayed at the first place I came across in Arcade, really needed the bed after that night on the floor at Redondela and at the Xunta place in Pontevedra, which is a lot better than most of them - - it even has kitchen utensils !!

The rains have finally started, but still tentative, not the full-on Gallego hours long downpour variety, which I would very much hope to avoid this time 'round.

Still, the big black pilgrim cape weather has started !!
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 264 - - O Pino

I wanted yesterday to say that the Albergue at Portela is a strange semi-donativo, the main part being a typical private one, but with an annex having two large rooms filled with mattresses, and those are donativo - - as it happened, the main Albergue was full just from reservations. And there is a donativo communal meal, just some pasta and wine, some soup for those who wanted.

It's a good place.

The walking itself has been easy enough, though I did take a good part of tarmac.

The Albergues at Caldas de Reis were very far from being full. I stayed at the ex-Municipal, which is now private, and various problems made it hard to get to sleep, the other pilgrim in the dorm crinkling his plastic water bottle, a bright night light coming on suddenly at 9:45, noisy Spaniards carrying on until about 11 - - but after switching beds, and after they calmed down, I did eventually sleep well enough.

I long thought that I would be alone in the Albergue here, which is more or less in the middle of nowhere, but three others eventually turned up, so we were four. I believe there are 78 beds here.

Depending on how the walking goes today, I could be in Santiago tomorrow or on Tuesday, though I walked less yesterday than I had been anticipating. But at one point I checked the location of the next Albergue, realised it was about 100 metres away, and just decided to stay.

Some tummy troubles from the wrong sort of food, but my gut seems to have learned to just reject it when it gets too much, so I am not having the same problems with food that interrupted my Camino last year.

I am reading Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.

Money ran out, next lot is in on Thursday - - so I will be penniless in Santiago AGAIN, it's so annoying that this seems to be the case quite systematically !! Oh well, I'll get by somehow.
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 265 - - Padrón

I walked for about two hours before seeing another pilgrim, and despite my starting morning pain, the trail through the woods, mostly downhill, and through the fog gradually becoming mist then lifting was magical, especially in the silence and solitude.

Though it's just that the morning start began so far ahead of the pack from Caldas de Reis that it took even the cyclists some time to get past me.

Eventually though some pilgrims passed by, mainly quite a few Portuguese bicigrinos at first, then the foot pilgrims.

And eventually they gave me enough help and assistance that I was able to afford a meal and the Xunta Albergue, pork and eggs, plus they gave me a couple of tapas, if I'm not mistaken two mini portions of caldo gallego, in any case perfect within my restrictions. Their black coffee was also unusually good.

Then after waiting for the hospitalera to get back, read some more of my Tolstoy in the kitchen whilst polishing off some remains of vino tinto that had been left by previous pilgrims, which carried me through to bedtime.

So all in all a quite decent day.

So I'll get into Santiago on Tuesday then. I am wondering if I might not hang about there until Thursday so as to have at least one be-cashed day there, or maybe head up to the big camp Albergue at the entrance of the town on the Thursday afternoon ?

We'll see ...
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 266 - - Faramello

Today has been an extraordinary gift from strangers, as if my post yesterday had been a prayer that has been answered.

Some gave some spare change, but then a gentleman from Seattle gave a 20, under the express condition that I must use it for a good pilgrim meal with a bottle of wine.

OK.

So I realised that to keep that promise, I needed to ask for more, and so I did, and to my lasting astonishment, gratitude, and humility, an Italian couple of pilgrims gave me first another 20, then a 50, thereby freeing me of anxiety and worry 'til the cash comes in on Thursday.

And so I kept that promise, and had a great pilgrim menu, bottle of wine and all, and oh, the first real such menu I've had since leaving Spain into Portugal back in June.

And now here, at the Albergue, I have for the first time used my disability certificate to get the disabled bed, so that I am completely alone in my room, because I seriously needed to avoid the upstairs downstairs peeing in the night, which was quite uncomfortable at Padrón. It's not just that the solitude is good, but having the facilities straight at hand is a great relief.

And I have had kind offers of help from the forum.

Every single Camino I have ever walked has been completely unique, and I am as gratified as I am astonished by the way that this particular arrival at Compostela is turning out. Perhaps I shouldn't be. None of the previous ones were the same either !!
 

JabbaPapa

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It's the sort of arrival where you start to think, oh, I could do another Camino, except I have another 2,000K to go, and who knows how I'll feel when I finally get there ?!

I have walked every step that is ahead of me, and yet when I set forth from Santiago on Thursday or whenever, I will still be making steps into unknown territory.
 
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mspath

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
JabbaPappa,

Today as you re-enter Santiago de Compostela all your digital followers will share your excitment.
Your fortitude and persistance have been heroic during your great journey.
Thank you for posting and sharing these days on the forum.

Félicitations and, as always, Ultreia!
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 270 - - Monte do Gozo

I am on the Camino Francès !!

I did not much on my arrival on Tuesday, though I did make sure to enter the Cathedral via the Holy Door.

But it is always such a joy to get into the plaza in front of the Cathedral !!

I just sat myself down and soaked in the atmosphere, same as always. With beers.

Two forum members helped with the first two nights in the Albergue, and I myself paid for the third. I had not stayed at the Seminario Menor for 17 years, so I suppose I had to play some catch up.

First night was supposed to be in a dormitory room, but then some woman complained that I did not smell of lavender and roses, so that they threw me out of the dorm, and forced me to sleep in a private room instead.

The Camino provides in some very strange ways sometimes. I'm not sure what a pilgrim is supposed to smell like after a few thousand K, but oh well.

On the Wednesday I did celebrate being in Santiago rather too enthusiastically, which led to a massive hangover on the Thursday, which I spent tucked up in bed, apart from a quick 7PM supply run down to to the little shop down in the basement of the Albergue.

The hangover was so bad, it even dragged on a little into early Friday morning.

But today I finally got out, obtained my Compostela quite quickly, attended the Pilgrim Mass, given with a genuinely excellent homily, and Botafumeiro at the end, though it was perfectly ridiculous to see so many people holding up and staring into their smartphones at that moment, instead of looking at the thing itself !! It's hardly as if professionally filmed Botafumeiro videos are absent from these interwebs ...

And I visited the Apostle.

One last cerveza on the plaza, and now I am on my Way back to SJPP, Lourdes, and home.

The great big yellow arrow on my hat has been reversed.
 

JabbaPapa

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Had to go searching, but I found a little bottle of white paper glue to put my Compostela into the Credencial, as has been my habit since the 2005.

Ended up needing four stamps from the pilgrim office, one each for the two front covers that it has, one for arriving, and a first stamp for the Way back.
 
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John Brierley 2023 Camino Guide
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CFx5
Norte
Primitivo
CP
Le Puy-SJPP
Via F
Hi JabbaPapa
it was lovely meeting you yesterday
You leaving Santiago and us on the way in

I actually saw you quite a way off with the cape flapping in the wind!
I said to Charlie “I’m sure I know this fella, I think it’s JabbaPapa”
Naturally he thought that I was imagining things!
But I wasn’t, was I?
It was the man himself!

We had a lovely chat and it’s a shame that we weren’t nearer a bar instead of standing in the road chatting as Charlie is himself partial to a glass or two of hops!
Even heard the origin of the name JabbaPapa.

Thanks again for the interesting conversation and have a good journey home
“Bon courage”
Annette DAF1E944-7A89-4876-8E71-E8966CD7EC0C.jpeg 56E0FCA2-A44C-4693-806F-0F4AC39DA517.jpeg
 

JabbaPapa

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Days 271, 272, 273 - - O Pedrouzo/Arca ; Santa Irene ; A Calle de Ferreiros

The first of these three days was a good walk, yesterday short and tardy as I had to wait for pain to go down, and today was OK though shorter than I had been hoping for, the rain and the lack of somewhere for an early beer and coffee did both slow me down.

Out of Monte do Gozo anyway my mapy.cz did locate a good bar, for early refreshments, then I combined tarmac with trail as far as the Xunta Albergue in Arca, where I seem to sleep systematically.

Had quite a few beer stops along the way, and that was the day I bumped into the lovely Annette and her charming husband.

Weather cool and pleasant, and the opposite flow of pilgrims was constant and large.

I am now getting the disabled rooms in the Xunta places, mostly because many of them have upstairs dorms and downstairs toilets, which was a serious bother for my knees last time I put up with it. Though it does also mean that, in addition to the three nights in Santiago, I have been sleeping alone for about a week, though tonight I am in a normal dorm.

I got myself a pilgrim menu in Arca, which was delicious, but turned out to be a mistake - - as the noodles and chips ("french fries") seem to have triggered an inflammatory reaction i.e. pain that took until the afternoon next day to subside.

But they did give me treble doses of both the starter and the main course, which seems to be frequent for me on this part of the Camino, no idea why, the portions they gave to the guy next to me looked feeble by comparison.

Anyway, next morning I just could not carry on, and it took me 'til after 11 just to get enough strength up to walk into town to get some cash out of the machine. And then it was lunch time, so to correct my mistake of the previous evening, got steak and eggs. Was brilliant.

I did eventually get walking again, and I had arranged for a stay in Astrar, but the bottom bunks were all taken by the time I got in. The excellent hospitalero though, after some time to dissipate his confusion about the direction I'm hiking, drove me to the Xunta place at Santa Irene, and then it was late enough I just went straight to bed. I wanted to write something in here, but the internet there was truly dismal.

Another disabled room.

The long hangover I have been dealing with anyway did start to dissipate.

Started out this morning in the rain and the dark, and as stated no beer or coffee. The first bar I found was only opening at midday, second closed on Mondays, and so on. grrrrr and the inflammatory pain had not entirely subsided.

Anyway, after a million buen caminos with the horde out from Sarria, though far more warmly for the little old lady being pushed in her wheelchair by her family, I did eventually reach some civilisation, where such things as coffee and beer are available to purchase.

Was tempted to sleep there, but there was something about the Albergues there I didn't quite like the look of, so I carried on, and a million more buen caminos. Well, rain had stopped anyway.

Saw one other reverse person, a French bicigrina.

Anyway got into here, saw a sign saying Albergue thataway, bed available, bottom of the bunk, got a beer, they have food, more steak and eggs, and there we go. It's one of the more pleasant ones, think I just stopped here for a drink last time.

Likely I'll get myself some more beer and read a bit later on.

I did have a bit of a false hope yesterday crowds-wise as there was a serious lull in the numbers, but it was just some strange false alarm.

Ah well, I will get past Sarria in not too many days.

I had done some sections in reverse on previous Caminos, including a walk back to Ponferrada, but actually doing it for real is rather different. Not just a few extra days or weeks, but a serious undertaking.

But those previous experiences with it did at least help me to prepare for it - - though I'm not sure I was really expecting that it would be combined with what will inevitably become a Winter Camino at some point !!
 
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JabbaPapa

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Days 274, 275, 276, 277 - - Arzúa ; Ribadiso de Abaixo ; Boente ; Melide

Apart from that day to Arzúa, very slow days.

And even that was hardly swift.

It was easy enough though, in the face of the constant flood of the 100K people.

Disabled Xunta room again in Arzúa, and staying there was actually just a spur of the moment thing, I really should have carried on to Ribadiso.

Cannot remember what I ate, but I woke up next morning with bad inflammation again, then beers in the morning to try and get it down, then some very good steak and eggs for lunch, but I could still just barely drag myself to the Xunta place by the river at Ribadiso.

One of the hospitaleras tried to make out that the disabled room was not for me, but I won that argument, Hooray !!

A group of 100K people started a party down by the river bank, which was fun, and I'm not sure why some other pilgrims frown on such activities.

But one thing to another, from the en-beer-ified late start to the heavy lunch to the late party time killed me, to the point I had to start out with not being able to take even my medicine, so that the first 3K out from there were without even my antiinflammatory.

So that it was in a fairly sorry state that I carried on, up and down, through the Sarria crowds to Boente, where happily the chief hospitalera decided to take charge, and after my shower and somewhat overpriced lunch, though the Albergue is great, she put all my clothes into the washing machine and drier, which they most certainly needed !!

Then all afternoon and evening and night in bed. Phew !!

Short day again today, but really only because Casanova is too far, but I am well recovered and the trail was mostly pleasant and easy.

The pilgrims have been lessening in number, though who knows if there won't be another Sarria weekend wave incoming ?

I am told anyway by the local hospitaleras that this number of them/us for a mid-October is unprecedented, meant literally, it's never happened before. Will people soon have to target November for crowd avoidance ? Except if all do that, then it's just one more crowd, isn't it !!

Weather is a bit cooler, so I am now generally in the big black pilgrim cape, so that many people want a photo, but I'm still in short sleeves, and it does still get wrapped up and carried on the backpack when it gets too warm and sweaty.

Still trying to work out psychologically how to navigate this Camino home, and it is stranger than I thought it would be.

One odd thing is that there ends up being little real difference between passing by the pilgrims or the locals.

The main one remaining that I sleep where the pilgrims sleep, not where the locals do, which makes a clear difference socially.

But that's just a matter of hours, and next day they're all behind me anyway.

So this is harder than I thought.
 

JabbaPapa

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Anyway, got another Xunta Albergue "private" bedroom, so all good.

I do wish that people would just stop the silly Reservagrino bed race stuff, but sigh, they have been at it since the early 1990s, so that's likely a forlorn hope.
 

mspath

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Anyway, got another Xunta Albergue "private" bedroom, so all good.

I do wish that people would just stop the silly Reservagrino bed race stuff, but sigh, they have been at it since the early 1990s, so that's likely a forlorn hope.
JabbaPappa,
Glad to read that you have a good place to rest in Melide. If you want a good hearty meal try Sony which is a short walk from the Xunta albergue.
 
Last edited:

JabbaPapa

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JabbaPappa,
Glad to read that you have a good place to rest in Melide. If tou want a good hearty meal try

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...e-one-photo-at-a-time-10-0.76705/post-1072359
Saw them walking in, and intuitively felt it would be a good place, but honestly, it's overly hearty meals that created the trouble in the past few days to start with.

I am in Melide and it's doubtful I'll even get any pulpo, but we'll see.

I have found a friendly cheap beers place, and I'll get some ham from the supermarket, and then don't know.

But with fewer tummy troubles these past days, it is far from being unlikely that Sony would have been the place for me.
 
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JabbaPapa

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Days 278, 279 - - Casanova ; Palas de Rei

I am still doing these shorter days, though the first of these two was more or less a 10K.

Much up and down, though the waves of 100K peregrinos continue to lessen as the tide starts to fall off.

The little country lanes and dirt tracks, and occasional tarmac stretches, through fields have made way to a more rolling landscape of dirt, dust, and mud trails through woodland, some old Celtic paths dug deep into the earth from thousands of years of trudging along them.

I am conscious sometimes of how I must appear in the midst of these ancient pathways, as I am, trudging in black, leaning on my Ashen pilgrim staff, black cape billowing behind me in the wind and rain.

But then reality comes in, and I realise that for many in this 100K crowd, I am just one more part of the tourist attraction.

I am reminded of Chateaubriand's self-deprecatory narrative of his Romantic Atlantic crossing ; but then also of his more humbled description of the genuine awe that he felt upon his encounter with the Niagara Falls.

There is this same encounter between the sublime and the ludicrous in this manner of my current Camino.

Tourigrinos non-stop ; but then one comes across a Belgian lady doing her Camino in her all-terrain wheeled zimmer frame, then five minutes later a gentleman being pushed in his wheelchair, and then one remembers that all this tourist infrastructure has its own good purposes beyond our petty prejudice.

Think my post viral syndrome has finally broken.

The Autumn continues to dig in apace, so that I have finally dug my black woollen jumper from out of the bottom of the backpack I had been dragging it in, these many thousand Ks.

Don't need it walking, yet, but when I stop in the afternoon, it's good for keeping warm after I stop moving.
 
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Days 278, 279 - - Casanova ; Palas de Rei

I am still doing these shorter days, though the first of these two was more or less a 10K.

Much up and down, though the waves of 100K peregrinos continue to lessen as the tide starts to fall off.

The little country lanes and dirt tracks, and occasional tarmac stretches, through fields have made way to a more rolling landscape of dirt, dust, and mud trails through woodland, some old Celtic paths dug deep into the earth from thousands of years of trudging along them.

I am conscious sometimes of how I must appear in the midst of these ancient pathways, as I am, trudging in black, leaning on my Ashen pilgrim staff, black cape billowing behind me in the wind and rain.

But then reality comes in, and I realise that for many in this 100K crowd, I am just one more part of the tourist attraction.

I am reminded of Chateaubriand's self-deprecatory narrative of his Romantic Atlantic crossing ; but then also of his more humbled description of the genuine awe that he felt upon his encounter with the Niagara Falls.

There is this same encounter between the sublime and the ludicrous in this manner of my current Camino.

Tourigrinos non-stop ; but then one comes across a Belgian lady doing her Camino in her all-terrain wheeled zimmer frame, then five minutes later a gentleman being pushed in his wheelchair, and then one remembers that all this tourist infrastructure has its own good purposes beyond our petty prejudice.

Think my post viral syndrome has finally broken.

The Autumn continues to dig in apace, so that I have finally dug my black woollen jumper from out of the bottom of the backpack I had been dragging it in, these many thousand Ks.

Don't need it walking, yet, but when I stop in the afternoon, it's good for keeping warm after I stop moving.
Jabbapapa
you have such a wonderful way with words
Melodious springs to mind
 

JabbaPapa

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Can a Moderator please edit the thread title to end with :

2021, 2022 & 2023

as it is clearly impossible for me to finish it before the New Year.
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 280 - - Vendas de Narón

A milestone - - I have now walked as many days this year as I did in 2019 and 2021 combined.

It's good that I slept in the "private" disabled dormitory in Palas de Rei last night, as I had some quite nasty pain attack in the night, and the adapted loo definitely helped.

Wasn't sure how far I would even be able to walk, possibly just 1K, and I did walk that far and needed to rest there with some beers to think about it.

But they helped, and I realised that I could make it at least as far as Airexe, and with the help of a few bars along the way, I did so.

One of the good places to eat is located there, opposite one of the sadder Xunta Albergues, with no ground floor beds to sleep in, but the Menú del Dia I had there was great, cheap, and the guy gave nearly a whole bottle of tinto even though it was clear that the Menú intended just one glass of it.

This encouraged me to walk on, initially hoping to get to Hospital de la Cruz, but this village seemed nice, I found a bottom bunk in a rather crowded dormitory, and so here I am. And getting some extra steak and eggs for the evening.

There was a little rain, but it passed.

The pilgrim numbers are down, there were in fact very few of them this morning, but it went up a bit after midday then especially after 1PM, but it's now closer to being many dozens rather than many hundreds.

Spaniards trying to sell me stuff keep on insisting on trying to speak to me in very bad English, and it is very annoying.
 

JabbaPapa

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Days 281 and 282 - - Portomarín

Yesterday should have been a pleasant and mainly easy day, as the weather was basically perfect, glorious blue sky for most of the day, not hot, and within absolutely gorgeous natural surroundings - - and just FYI, they appear more beautiful in the homeward direction than the Compostela one, where many of the views are behind your back, though several of them are agnostic towards direction of travel.

But a few things just went wrong spontaneously, starting with my mistake in taking the medication an hour or more later than I should have, so late start, a slight underestimation of the length of the walk, too many stops for beer, a small lunch of cheap enough bacon and eggs that nevertheless left me bloated, and then a rare wrong turn onto a tarmac way one or two K longer than the normal route - - although that did have its advantages, as the slope that way is much gentler, and frankly it looks like a pretty good alternative route for cyclists especially ; and in other circumstances would have been something I might have chosen deliberately.

A kind local lady anyway along that variant did anyway offer me a place to rest a little, a beer, and some pleasant chat. And the route took me towards the river bank a bit further downstream.

The river is incredibly low, it's down to its natural stream, which I had never seen before. The old bridge isn't just passable, it's completely visible down to the base of its pillars !! I thought that I would be crossing it once more today, but tomorrow instead.

It's actually lower than even the natural level, from the months of drought.

I got the disabled "private" room at the Xunta Albergue again, and just crashed into bed immediately and didn't move 'til morning, but I woke up with an extremely bad inflammatory flare up, that my usual combination of much beer with my medication could not kill, and that plus the pretty heavy rain this morning that likely caused the flare in the first place made it impossible to go on, so I am having a rest day.

Now, this kind of extra pain can happen from time to time at home when I am not walking, so nothing special, but it is rather nasty when it occurs.

I found an Albergue with the dormitory on the ground floor, and somewhere with an acceptable menú del peregrino next door, and I'll likely need more booze after to try and kill the pain for good, and it does seem to finally start lessening a bit.

Pilgrim numbers have lessened to a more relaxed degree anyway, though they were more numerous yesterday than the day before - - including from some youth groups seeming to have set out from Sarria.

And many South Koreans.

I have no idea how much I'll need to drink to get this dashed pain down, but it's starting to work anyway, after only four hours of such efforts. Think it's time to switch from cerveza to tinto.
 
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JabbaPapa

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Days 283 and 284 - - Ferreiros ; Barbadelo

I ended up getting very drunk indeed in Portomarín, but it did get rid of the pain, which was horrendous. It's clearly a lot easier to handle that sort of procedure alone and at home than in an Albergue shared with other people, but on the Camino you take the good with the bad.

There was some lingering knee pain in the morning that some beers were needed for, but eventually I made my way out.

In my head I was keen on getting over the river on the old bridge, but my knees were telling me to take the new.

But when I actually reached the start of the bridge, it seemed to me that the elevation difference wasn't that bad, so I hobbled down those steps, and crossed the old bridge, for a second time in two Caminos, Hooray !!

That whole day was very slow though, and I only got into Ferreiros in the late afternoon. No disabled dorm at the Xunta Albergue there, but it's all on the ground floor anyway, and was far from full, so all good.

There were very few pilgrims on the road that day, more yesterday though.

It did strike me that with not so many pilgrims, the Francès through Galicia is actually rather quite similar to certain parts of the Arles Way. The crowds do seem to distract from the Camino itself.

I seem somehow to have dodged the worst of the downpours of rain these past days, being just indoors upon the worst of them, but the showers do come and go.

Yesterday was a bit faster over a slightly shorter distance, but I was glad to stop here rather than carry on to Sarria.

The previous day I had eaten very little, some morning tostada and a gift of some Korean pot noodles, so it was good to get in at about lunchtime, though the place to get food here in late October is half a K further along the Camino towards Sarria. Some good lentils and steak with cream and mushroom sauce, tinto, downpour during lunch, and it turned out to be a lot easier after the food to walk back up to the Albergue than it had been to walk down there.

I am not alone in the Albergue, but I think the young blonde peregrina had the upstairs dorm all to herself. (But no, she now tells me that they were four.)

I don't know if the "three stages" thing works on the Camino homewards, but I am definitely going through a physical stage, but from the accumulated exhaustion of close to five months on the Camino this year. There's some muscular stress in my thighs, and some pain from the early 2019 Camino wound in the right one is flaring up again.

But the hardest thing about the return Way is the loneliness really, which seems to be even more radical than being completely alone on a tertiary Camino route that nobody else takes.

The first return pilgrim I ever really talked to, on my 1994, talked of it with me after I actually met him a second time during my hitch-hiked return, when I actually walked with him for a few K to get through Burgos, but it's one thing to know about it, another to experience what it actually is.

On my previous partial return Camino to Ponferrada I had a walking companion, plus it was much shorter, so it was very different.
 

mspath

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Days 283 and 284 - - Ferreiros ; Barbadelo

I ended up getting very drunk indeed in Portomarín, but it did get rid of the pain, which was horrendous. It's clearly a lot easier to handle that sort of procedure alone and at home than in an Albergue shared with other people, but on the Camino you take the good with the bad.

There was some lingering knee pain in the morning that some beers were needed for, but eventually I made my way out.

In my head I was keen on getting over the river on the old bridge, but my knees were telling me to take the new.

But when I actually reached the start of the bridge, it seemed to me that the elevation difference wasn't that bad, so I hobbled down those steps, and crossed the old bridge, for a second time in two Caminos, Hooray !!

That whole day was very slow though, and I only got into Ferreiros in the late afternoon. No disabled dorm at the Xunta Albergue there, but it's all on the ground floor anyway, and was far from full, so all good.

There were very few pilgrims on the road that day, more yesterday though.

It did strike me that with not so many pilgrims, the Francès through Galicia is actually rather quite similar to certain parts of the Arles Way. The crowds do seem to distract from the Camino itself.

I seem somehow to have dodged the worst of the downpours of rain these past days, being just indoors upon the worst of them, but the showers do come and go.

Yesterday was a bit faster over a slightly shorter distance, but I was glad to stop here rather than carry on to Sarria.

The previous day I had eaten very little, some morning tostada and a gift of some Korean pot noodles, so it was good to get in at about lunchtime, though the place to get food here in late October is half a K further along the Camino towards Sarria. Some good lentils and steak with cream and mushroom sauce, tinto, downpour during lunch, and it turned out to be a lot easier after the food to walk back up to the Albergue than it had been to walk down there.

I am not alone in the Albergue, but I think the young blonde peregrina had the upstairs dorm all to herself. (But no, she now tells me that they were four.)

I don't know if the "three stages" thing works on the Camino homewards, but I am definitely going through a physical stage, but from the accumulated exhaustion of close to five months on the Camino this year. There's some muscular stress in my thighs, and some pain from the early 2019 Camino wound in the right one is flaring up again.

But the hardest thing about the return Way is the loneliness really, which seems to be even more radical than being completely alone on a tertiary Camino route that nobody else takes.

The first return pilgrim I ever really talked to, on my 1994, talked of it with me after I actually met him a second time during my hitch-hiked return, when I actually walked with him for a few K to get through Burgos, but it's one thing to know about it, another to experience what it actually is.

On my previous partial return Camino to Ponferrada I had a walking companion, plus it was much shorter, so it was very different.
JabbaPapa,
In easier past years I, too, enjoyed stopping at the simple one floor Xunta albergue in Ferreiros; the lower bunk next to the radiator/window/loo was a winter favorite. ....As always I so admire your perseverance as you move along. Ultreia!
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 285 - - Sarria

A short day on paper, but I still only got in at about lunchtime, and so I suspect that the official K distance given is a bit wrong - - it felt more like a 7.5K or something.

Anyway the fellow at the Escalita bar opposite the Xunta Albergue gave me some pork chops with eggs for €5, so that was good.

And I slept alone in the Xunta Albergue again, also good.

Pilgrims now and moving forward are mostly September wave SJPP ones it would seem, and I would suppose I'll come across them until 10th November or thereabouts.

Not unhappy to see the last of the 100Kers, there was a particularly bad bunch of them all massed together and blocking the whole way as I was on the last stretch into town. Only grudgingly making way from being forced to, I think they expected me to step aside for them into the ditch.

Not sure how far I'm going today, either Samos or Triacastela, anyway I will head first towards Samos on the tarmac option, including because of the rainy weather. But mostly because it's 4K shorter, and so better for the knees.

Running out of cash again fast, sigh, Portugal north of Porto, and Galicia have been ruinous.

It would be nice to reach Triacastela, but knees will make that decision at Samos.

I will probably need a night or two outdoors after O Cebreiro, from Albergues closed or overly expensive - - I do know one good spot, from a time on the 2014 when they weren't closed, just full.
 

JabbaPapa

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It'll be Samos, and Triacastela tomorrow, then up the mountain on Tuesday.

The owner of the Escalinata pensión bar is being extremely helpful, including a second beer for free. Doubt he does this for all, but quite apart from that, his basic food prices are very good value, and he's a quite decent cook.

Highly recommended.
 
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Corned Beef

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VDLP Part 2/2023
Looks like it's very wet out there.

 

JabbaPapa

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Days 286, 287, 288 - - Samos ; Triacastela ; Fonfría

One more thing to be glad of, in the "private" Xunta Albergue room at Sarria is that in the dorm upstairs, there seemed to be the second worst snorer I have ever come across, after my father ; and only the second whose snores resonated from top floor to ground floor and into closed rooms. Impressive. I am so glad I was not in that dorm !!

I went full tarmac from Sarria to Samos ; then Triacastela, with some exceptions along the way, and that was a good choice I think. Km-wise, full tarmac is about the same distance as the trail option via San Xil, but easier on the knees.

The day to Samos was very wet, and as I was walking in the rain I was thinking that this was the day that I would finally not avoid the downpour in.

But about halfway, I was looking for a rest, and coming across a farm, I asked for a few minutes shelter, the farmer said sure.

So I settled down in the cow shed with my beer, then pretty much two minutes later, the REAL rain started, absolute serious Galicia rain, which lasted about an hour. I, meanwhile, warm and dry, had my beer.

I still don't really like Samos, though it's beautiful, but the hospitalero expressed his clear disapproval of my walking in black jeans and t-shirt plus great big black pilgrim cape, as if it were his business, whilst being obsequiously friendly to those with the "proper" modern nylon hiking kit, but still, I did anyway get a solid 12 hours sleep, so the place did its job.

I did stop for a beer in the last place before Samos, and all the patrons and I were delighted when a traditional Galician music band came in and played three songs for us, accompanied by a a brilliant Navarrese percussionist guest artist, whose work blended perfectly into the performance. The band otherwise was seemingly a two husbands and wives team, the men playing bagpipes, the women drums and accordion.

Glorious.

Some pilgrims helped me along the way into Triacastela, so that I was able to keep a promise from my 2014.

There is a bar restaurant in the middle of town, very probably the best, and walking out on the 2014, I had stopped there for a breakfast. Very good, and I saw and smelled what others were having, and I thought, if I ever come back, I must eat here ; and so now I have.

Fantastic entremeses for starters, and some very well prepared beef cutlets with grilled sausage for the main course, washed down with the perfectly acceptable house tinto, finished by O Cebreiro cheese with honey. A good promise, very well kept.

At the Albergue, the hospitalera was as far as I can tell just too lazy to open up the disabled room for me, but after some zoomers in the dorm tried to cause some scene from not liking me, they changed dorm and I was left alone. Which is how things should have started.

I have read most of Anna Karenina now, so will soon leave it for another pilgrim.

Today was the day when I finally could not avoid the downpour.

The climb itself turned out to be not so difficult, much because these months of walking have well strengthened my legs, but also because the walk up home from the shops, if I miss the last bus, is 200m elevation with a steeper slope. This was 500m and with two good rest and beer spots on the way up.

But it was very windy and wet !!

I had seen horizontal rain a few times, but rain "falling" upwards was a new experience.

But not bad even so, my t-shirt never got more than damp, despite the massive rainfall, jeans stayed half dry, socks just damp, and so on.

But I think it does help in that respect that my body radiates heat more than average.

Though I have discovered that when the big black pilgrim cape is wet, it actually acts as an insulator keeping my body heat in, where it belongs, and that is a pleasant discovery.

The Albergue here at Fonfría certainly is very good, and I have even put forth for the "community meal", which I usually dread with their typical vegetarian stuff, or overcooked pasta stuff, well except if the group is a particularly good and nice small one, but this place is doing it with traditional Galician cuisine, so it was a no-brainer, particularly so as to get some heat back inside after the rain.

Tomorrow to O Cebreiro should be easy, there's just 150m elevation left to climb, over a long enough distance.
 

JabbaPapa

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Days 289 and 290 - - O Cebreiro ; Villafranca del Bierzo (!!)

I am in León !!

Well, that's two nights of sleeping very poorly, including insomnia 'til about 4AM last night.

The walk to O Cebreiro was long, easy, and beautiful, and mostly on the tarmac, as I knew from having done it before, that it's the better option in that direction, but not if walking towards Santiago.

I made a mistake during the day though, of not ensuring a good food to booze ratio.

However, a German former pilgrim who is is accompanying his girlfriend, she is walking the Camino, in his camper van offered me a lift over the final K or so.

The Xunta Albergue has eliminated the disabled dorm, and there are just two reserved beds in the normal dorm, so there I slept, but having had too much to drink, and so poorly. Especially, I awoke poorly.

So I hung about for a bit to see when I could get started, but then my German friend turned up, he had I think been looking for me, and he was coming down to Villafranca and offered to take me, which I accepted.

I managed to eat something, and realised that I was in no condition to deal with the craziness of the Ave Fénix Albergue, much as I like the place, and the Municipal turned out to be closed, so that I just went to the first place I found, El Castillo, which is great.

Just that I had that annoying insomnia.

Apart from that, hmmmmm, coincidence or sign I don't know, but walking in to O Cebreiro there was a rainbow, and looking for somewhere to sleep here, there was a double rainbow.

What could it mean, that I could avoid some of the more difficult bits of the Camino by similar means or something ?

I will have to consider these matters.

Really starting to look forward to the time change on Sunday, the hours at which we're supposed to wake up and get out of the Albergues are starting to be ridiculous.
 
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mspath

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Days 289 and 290 - - O Cebreiro ; Villafranca del Bierzo (!!)

Well, that's two nights of sleeping very poorly, including insomnia 'til about 4AM last night.

The walk to O Cebreiro was long, easy, and beautiful, and mostly on the tarmac, as I knew from having done it before, that it's the better option in that direction, but not if walking towards Santiago.

I made a mistake during the day though, of not ensuring a good food to booze ratio.

However, a German former pilgrim who is is accompanying his girlfriend, she is walking the Camino, in his camper van offered me a lift over the final K or so.

The Xunta Albergue has eliminated the disabled dorm, and there are just two reserved beds in the normal dorm, so there I slept, but having had too much to drink, and so poorly. Especially, I awoke poorly.

So I hung about for a bit to see when I could get started, but then my German friend turned up, he had I think been looking for me, and he was coming down to Villafranca and offered to take me, which I accepted.

I managed to eat something, and realised that I was in no condition to deal with the craziness of the Ave Fénix Albergue, much as I like the place, and the Municipal turned out to be closed, so that I just went to the first place I found, El Castillo, which is great.

Just that I had that annoying insomnia.

Apart from that, hmmmmm, coincidence or sign I don't know, but walking in to O Cebreiro there was a rainbow, and looking for somewhere to sleep here, there was a double rainbow.

What could it mean, that I could avoid some of the more difficult bits of the Camino by similar means or something ?

I will have to consider these matters.

Really starting to look forward to the time change on Sunday, the hours at which we're supposed to wake up and get out of the Albergues are starting to be ridiculous.
Jabbapapa,
Two rainbows to ponder must be very special indeed!
"..The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little star-dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched."

Henry David Thoreau,
Walden, 1854
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 291 - - Cacabelos

Took a while to get out from Villafranca, and a few beers, but mostly now it's because I am already wired into legal winter time, which is starting tomorrow, and provides an extra hour.

But when I did get walking, the insomnia the previous night turned out to be no problem at all, and the trail portion particularly was most pleasant. Somewhat less on the rainy tarmac.

And it's so nice to finally be in terrain which is neither the meseta, nor Portugal, nor Galicia, the trudges through which having all been unusually lengthy, including the more than 200K in the 100K area.

Because of my route, I met relatively few pilgrims, but the ones I did meet helped greatly, so that I could manage a good lunch before the Albergue, though sadly the Municipal is closed here too, for the Winter.

The Albergue was ho-hum, but the lunch was great, though it took me a bit to find somewhere with a normal menú del dia, amidst the tourist "food" establishments that proliferate here.

Very well-prepared lentils, notably, literally the only thing improvable with them would have been to use green Le Puy lentils. I might have used some garlic, maybe some onion, some herbs, but then it would be a different recipe, instead of the quite delicious local one, using chorizo, lard, and pork chop fragments.

The tinto was remarkable for a young wine, but then it was local Bierzo wine bottled in or near Cacabelos itself.

I always like the Bierzo, and I'll never forget the time through here on my 1994 when I lived on nothing but bread, wine, and fruits and berries from the Camino. aaaaaah, youth ...
 

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Day 292 - - Ponferrada

I shortened the way in by taking a lot of the tarmac, but it was lengthened time-wise by the rain.

The trail is pleasant though, as I suggested yesterday. There are still quite a few pilgrims.

I slept in the large donativo here, though for some reason the hospitaleros are being overly aggressive and bossy.

I did end up anyway alone, as the three previously in the dorm clearly wanted to stay alone together, so preferred to switch to a different dorm upstairs.

Just a short day today, then another climb tomorrow.
 

JabbaPapa

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hmmmmm, this is as far as I have walked previously in "reverse", on my 2005, so it's "new" territory from here. It does feel good to have done so again though. Hanging about before starting, it's just a short day to the foot of the mountain.
 

mspath

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hmmmmm, this is as far as I have walked previously in "reverse", on my 2005, so it's "new" territory from here. It does feel good to have done so again though. Hanging about before starting, it's just a short day to the foot of the mountain.
Jabbapapa,
For your first day into "new" territory are you planning to stop in Molinaseca or go further? Whichever it may be take care and Buen camino!
 
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mspath

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hmmmmm, this is as far as I have walked previously in "reverse", on my 2005, so it's "new" territory from here. It does feel good to have done so again though. Hanging about before starting, it's just a short day to the foot of the mountain.
Jabbapapa,
For your first day into "new" territory are you planning to stop in Molinaseca or go further? Whichever it may be take care and Buen camino!
Molinaseca. And thanks !!
In Molinaseca do look for this handsome sculpture which VNwandering noted two years ago.
The street address is Calle Era, 11 behind the albergue San Roque.
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 293 - - Molinaseca

I got into a chat with a History teacher at a bar in Ponferrada, and so left late again, plus the reasons mentioned yesterday.

The hike started out cloudy, but then it cleared, and the afternoon was actually hot.

Got some steak lunch, though Molinaseca has become a lot more expensive than when I was here last.

Also, the Municipal became private about three years ago, and after opening briefly as such, has been closed since the start of the covid stuff. But it seems to me that they've started serving breakfasts again, so they may be preparing to reopen next year ? But it's a Municipal no more.

Then I checked into the Camino Albergue, the hospitalera here being great. She suggested that the number coming through here this year is about 13,000 - - which would coincide with the 20% drop at Roncesvalles. If true, then the proportion of people doing no more than the 100K/200K has increased dramatically.

Otherwise, I slept alone in the dorm again, after the hospitalera saw my difficulty with the stairs. The main dorms are upstairs, as the kitchen, stuff, and better heating are all up there, but she put me in the downstairs overflow dorm, and I slept warmly with many blankets.

Raining again today looks like, but I do seem to be walking out of it.
 

JabbaPapa

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Days 294, 295, 296 - - El Acebo ; Foncebadón ; Rabanal del Camino

The two days over tired me for different reasons, so that the third was only a short one.

Up to El Acebo it was mainly the rain, though I also needed a late start as I used my last antiinflammatory, and so needed a visit to the pharmacy for a replacement.

Still asking for help on the way up, and I found out from some French pilgrims that the donativo at El Acebo would be open for its last day this year.

I dodged another downpour, it's happened so many times it's funny, but sitting down to rest in Riego de Ambrós out of the rain, I got out my beer and a huge downpour started immediately. The final section up to that village is BTW definitely easier down than up.

But I was rather tired getting into El Acebo, including because one of the bars in Riego is closed 'til next year, as is the Albergue, but the village bar was closed because of Monday.

The hospitalero at the donativo was a lovely man, so nice, so friendly. So competent as well.

But I needed food and drinks, so I went out to the bar-restaurant, for a pretty good menu, though an Italian pilgrim got me what was one beer too many, not that anything bad came from it as such, but it did make me sleep an hour or two longer than I would have preferred.

After some hesitation anyway, the hospitalero let me sleep downstairs on a mattress in the comedor, some intuition told him that having to go up and downstairs half a dozen times in the night for a pee would be non-ideal, and quite right.

My big mistake though was not to get a refill for my beer from the bar, so that I started the second day of the climb with not enough, including not enough just to get the basic pain down to something manageable.

A second dose of the medication sort of helped, but not enough.

And whilst the hiking is easier after El Acebo, it's also a much longer stage, and walking with the pain was quite tiring.

More positively, the weather was absolutely glorious, warm and sunny, and the landscape and the views were simply spectacular, everyone surprised there's no snow yet (though I did come across a patch of morning frost yesterday).

Also, at the top of the Camino, which isn't at Cruz de Ferro except on the tarmac route, a pilgrim helped me with a €50, God bless him.

I managed to drag myself anyway to Manjarín, and immediately came across Tomás taking his dogs for a walk, despite a pilgrim telling me the day before that he had "disappeared". Don't know where these Camino rumours come from, although his place looks closed.

But a young woman has set up a caravan bar at the other end of the village, she is one of Jesus Jato's old hospitaleras, great person, and at last some beers to finally do away with the pain, and we had a rather pleasant chat.

So it looks like Tomás has shut down his donativo coffee and biscuits welcome, so as to not interfere with her business, but he is apparently still welcoming pilgrims who get stuck up there.

The rest of the walk past Cruz de Ferro and so on went a lot better, though it extended a bit past sunset. A pilgrim was resting up there, and pleasantly it turned out that he had gone up from Foncebadón especially, so that walking back to his Albergue he caught up with me, and we walked together about the last K into the pueblo.

Lovely to walk with someone for a change.

Dinner was overly expensive, because they were stingy with the tinto, the lentils were poorly reheated, but the pork was well prepared and they did give an egg instead of chips (french fries), so it was sufficient.

The hospitalero at Foncebadón had heard of me from his colleague at El Acebo, and I was delighted to find him visiting as I returned from the meal, so I was able to give him a proper thank you.

The man at Foncebadón is great too, indeed he delays you so much at morning breakfast from simply being so nice, that I almost missed my chance to get the beer, but I managed to get a last minute purchase from the bar-shop.

Phew !!

Then the walk down to Rabanal was just characterised by the fatigue. Not difficult, just could go no further. I am in the Municipal, as the English Albergue has closed for the winter. The Municipal is fine, there's about 8 of us, and I spent all afternoon and evening in bed, except one short trip to the shop.

Needed the rest !!

Anyway, money is coming in on Saturday, so I need to be in Astorga on that morning, and so this lengthier mountain crossing turns out well after all.

One of the most beautiful sights I have seen on this Camino was coming out of Manjarín - - a vast panorama stretched out before my grateful eyes : The Meseta !!
 
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JabbaPapa

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Days 297, 298, 299 - - Santa Catalina de Somoza ; Astorga ; San Justo de la Vega

I am on the Meseta !!

The longest of the three days was the first, and not too difficult, the only real annoyance being to find somewhere for R&R at El Ganso, where nearly everything seems to have shut down for end of season.

On the way, I did come across a return peregrina, going so far as León (guess she's finished by now), and amazingly also from Monaco !! She told me that she's been on various Caminos for a year, and was just finishing and going home.

I took a secondary route to Santa Catalina, away from the main road, looked like an old railway track to me, as it was dead straight. Slightly uphill, and it might be a better choice for those heading towards Santiago than the other way, but anyway it's just about textbook "boring".

I simply went to the first Albergue I found, not a very exciting place and the food was ho hum, but I was alone in the dorm, as the only other pilgrim likely was in hers, unless she had taken a room, but I did sleep quite well there, though it took me a few beers to get going in the morning.

The walk into Astorga was very easy.

I paused for a beer at Murias de Rechivaldo, where they provided a genuinely amazing pincho of tortilla. Then another coming into Astorga, where that time the tortilla was flavoured with pimiento.

And then a good pilgrim menu in the evening, though it took a while to locate somewhere not charging tourist prices.

In the morning, money arrived, so I got a breakfast of bacon and eggs, and tried to get a few things done, so just took a short day. They have closed the Albergue part of the place here so needed to get a room, but honestly it made for a pleasant change to sleep a bit more comfortably for once.

Not sure how far I'll get today, but one thing is certain, I will be sleeping in Hospital de Orbigo, even if that meant another shorter day tomorrow.

I have now walked out of the rain, though the weather has now turned colder. There are still quite a few pilgrims, at least by my own standards, though I don't know what that is relative to the typical in-season numbers.
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 300 - - Hooray !! - - Santibáñez de Valdeiglesias

It took me such a long time to feel ready to get moving that I just decided to get my lunch at San Justo, which was OK.

I took the tarmac, and then the trail or old tarmac that runs parallel to it, then took a break at the petrol station bar.

Night fell as I was there, and I walked the rest of the way and into the village beneath the full moon, which was beautiful, but I got in too late to sleep indoors, mainly because the parish Albergue appears to be closed.

It got down to 2°C last night I think, and it's quite damp, but I got by, though the second half of the night was better than the first.

Short day today anyway, just waiting for the meds to kick in properly, though probably no bar until the next pueblo.
 
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mspath

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Day 300 - - Hooray !! - - Santibáñez de Valdeiglesias

It took me such a long time to feel ready to get moving that I just decided to get my lunch at San Justin, which was OK.

I took the tarmac, and then the trail or old tarmac that runs parallel to it, then took a break at the petrol station bar.

Night fell as I was there, and I walked the rest of the way and into the village beneath the full moon, which was beautiful, but I got in too late to sleep indoors, mainly because the parish Albergue appears to be closed.

It got down to 2°C last night I think, and it's quite damp, but I got by, though the second half of the night was better than the first.

Short day today anyway, just waiting for the meds to kick in properly, though probably no bar until the next pueblo.
Jabbapapa,
Glad to read that you are ok after sleeping outside last night. Will you stop today in Hospital de Orbigo or continue on towards Leon? Whichever you choose Buen camino.
 
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Days 301, 302, 303 - - Hospital de Órbigo ; San Martín del Camino ×2

Short days with much sleeping, though the shortest was the third, just 300-400 metres.

The Parrochial at Santaibáñez tuned out to be open, I just got in too late to sleep there, but I did get coffee and beer there in the morning.

Then not too far out I came across Joss, who has set up a campsite and donativo drinks place for pilgrims up in a great location on a hill between the two pueblos, and so he seems to systematically give free not donativo drinks to those walking "backwards", and as it also turned out he is a fluent French speaker, we ended up polishing off a bottle of tinto, which certainly helped warm me up after the night outside.

I warmed up some more at the first bar, with many tapas, but was then disappointed to find that the Parrochial in Hospital now closes in Winter, which is apparently a new thing since three years. Still, El Encina is a good place to stay, no trout except a trout soup for starters, though that was very good and tasty.

Then the first of three siesta plus sleep in a row, I have spent more time in bed than upright these days !!

Still exhausted though for the 8-9K or so to San Martín, taking the straight path by the road. Still a few pilgrims out and about, including one return Spaniard that I couldn't really talk with, wrong side of the road.

Stayed in the Municipal, which is clearly better in warmer weather, though when the hospitalero started up the wood stove in the dorm, it got better. And it was sufficiently comfortable. The communal meal on offer was pumpkin soup and a beans dish, both seriously on my forbidden list, so I got some cheese and a chorizo, the bar opposite being closed for some mysterious reason, which was fine enough for a meal. Siesta and sleep number two.

Was planning then a short 3.5K to the next place, but I only managed 10% of that, as far as the private bar-restaurant Albergue at the edge of the village, where my morning coffee and beer turned into a lengthier version, then lunchtime, amidst the realisation that it would have been a better place to sleep the previous night turning into a decision to stay here last night.

The menu was OK, though it is clearly designed to be pleasing to foreign pilgrims rather than being more authentically Spanish.

Siesta and sleep number three.

So today I will be going further than the 3K+, and whilst I am unsure of any Albergue open at about the halfway point towards León, sleeping out will be OK tonight if necessary. Well, if the various supply points I can see along the way on my mapy.cz don't slow me down too much !!
 
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So today I will be going further than the 3K+, and whilst I am unsure of any Albergue open at about the halfway point towards León, sleeping out will be OK tonight if necessary. Well, if the various supply points I can see along the way on my mapy.cz don't slow me down too much !!
Buen camino, @JabbaPapa - it's a straight shot to Villadangos and beyond.
 

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Days 304 and 305 - - Valverde de la Virgen ; León

Two difficult ones, though the walking itself wasn't too bad on the first.

Just some more track along the main road, so not much to say about that.

But sleeping out was not good this time, from a combination of the cold with the damp, and it clearly slipped below freezing, as the countryside was covered in frost in the morning, which didn't melt until after 9:30AM.

So I slept pretty poorly and woke up feeling exhausted. The village bar wasn't open, and I dragged myself to La Virgen del Camino, after a break sitting down in the sun with some chorizo and the drop of beer I had left, to try and warm my limbs.

Stopped in the first bar to try and get back to life and walking form, but I felt weak regardless, realised that walking into town would wasn't happening, and so I was forced to bus my way in. Dropped my pack at the Albergue, but had to be do a runabout to a cash machine, which even without the pack was a chore, then finally checked in.

The hospitalero gave me a blanket, and getting into it was such a lovely difference, it is a genuinely warm one, especially with the help of the big black pilgrim cape.

Even so, I didn't need to sleep as much as during those three siesta plus sleep stops, which is encouraging.

Pilgrim numbers anyway are finally right down. I'm sure some slept elsewhere in León last night, but there are only about 15 of us here in the main Albergue. And the number I come upon along the trail has dropped significantly in the past few days.

The problem on these two days was really just an overly long stretch, given my physical limitations, without an open Albergue. Though I've never much liked this particular stretch anyway.

Hopefully better for a while on the rest of the meseta.
 

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Day 306 - - Puente Villarente

So it looks like I shall not be without brisk fresh air tonight !!

The Albergue in Arcahueja has been given over to some Ukrainians, the two here are closed, I do not have it in me to walk to Mansilla, and whilst it's one thing to be forced to bus it into León for medical reasons, I will not bus it for pure matters of personal convenience.

It was great hiking weather today, sunny and fairly warm, and the pilgrim numbers were up too.

I took three wrong turns heading out, though only the third was a bad one that cost me some time.

I found out why the Municipal in Mansilla de las Mulas is closed ; it's for renovations, as it seems over the years to have become fairly insalubrious.

Well, it was warmer today than when I slept out two nights ago, so hopefully it won't freeze. But if it does, hey ho ...

This new trick of Albergues that used to be open all year round now closing in winter, and furthermore in the Holy Year, is getting tiresome.

And I've lost count of the number of places where pilgrims are second-class citizens in the pilgrim hostels on this Camino. Still, perhaps my sleeping out in the cold can help "save the planet" or something.
 
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mspath

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Day 306 - - Puente Villarente

So it looks like I shall not be without brisk fresh air tonight !!

The Albergue in Arcahueja has been given over to some Ukrainians, the two here are closed, I do not have it in me to walk to Mansilla, and whilst it's one thing to be forced to bus it into León for medical reasons, I will not bus it for pure matters of personal convenience.

It was great hiking weather today, sunny and fairly warm, and the pilgrim numbers were up too.

I took three wrong turns heading out, though only the third was a bad one that cost me some time.

I found out why the Municipal in Mansilla de las Mulas is closed ; it's for renovations, as it seems over the years to have become fairly insalubrious.

Well, it was warmer today than when I slept out two nights ago, so hopefully it won't freeze. But if it does, hey ho ...

This new trick of Albergues that used to be open all year round now closing in winter, and furthermore in the Holy Year, is getting tiresome.

And I've lost count of the number of places where pilgrims are second-class citizens in the pilgrim hostels on this Camino. Still, perhaps my sleeping out in the cold can help "save the planet" or something.
Jabbapapa,
If you are looking for a nook for sleeping in Puente Villarente go down towards the river on the new wooden foot bridge . I remember seeing many possible ad hoc nooks along there in the vegetation. Good luck as always.

PASARELA PEATONAL SOBRE EL RÍO PORMA
 

JabbaPapa

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Jabbapapa,
If you are looking for a nook for sleeping in Puente Villarente go down towards the river. I remember seeing many possible ad hoc nooks along there in the vegetation. Good luck as always.
When it's this cold at night, sleeping in vegetation and/or next to running water is not the best idea, particularly as my inflatable mattress seems to have a leak and is basically now just a sleeping mat.
 

JabbaPapa

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Well, this is better.

I have three walls and a roof, it's definitely not as cold as two nights ago, I have a bellyfull of ham and cheese, and even WiFi. Not bad for a November outsider.

Sleeping bag is still a bit damp from two nights ago, but my body heat will fix that.

Just hope the night doesn't go freezing later !!

Good night, pilgrims.
 

nycwalking

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Well, this is better.

I have three walls and a roof, it's definitely not as cold as two nights ago, I have a bellyfull of ham and cheese, and even WiFi. Not bad for a November outsider.

Sleeping bag is still a bit damp from two nights ago, but my body heat will fix that.

Just hope the night doesn't go freezing later !!

Good night, pilgrims.

Awesome. Differently abled peregrino. Flexible.

I cannot imagine sleeping out of doors via serendipity.

JabbaPapa I salute you.

Buen camino.
 
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Hope it was a not-too-cold night!
Duscouraging as well as tiresome.

I found out why the Municipal in Mansilla de las Mulas is closed ; it's for renovations, as it seems over the years to have become fairly insalubrious.
Ah, yeah, that makes total sense. It was pretty atmospheric 7 years ago and can't have improved with use.

Buen camino and open albergues to you, @JabbaPapa!
 

JabbaPapa

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And another beer, and a couple more tapas.

There was just 15-20 minutes of rain last night, nevertheless I was glad for the roof.

Looks like Mansilla today, Reliegos tomorrow, then El Burgo Ranero the day after. All have Albergues open.

This reminds me a little of 1994, when there was not one single Albergue open between Mansilla de las Mulas and Hospital de Órbigo, even though several Albergues are now open in León and so on.

But it has always been a difficult stretch from that perspective.
 

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Day 307 - - Mansilla de las Mulas

Well, a most interesting day !!

I reached Villamoros quickly enough. Small incident of local village life, I asked the baker if there's a bar in the village, he said you have to go to Puente Villarente. Just came from there, oh Mansilla then. But in fact there's the bar in the village by the church, but there's some silly local feud between the baker and the owner of the bar, so she buys her bread from someone else, and so on.

So I went to the bar, of course, then after a while got chatting with a local, it emerged I'm heading the opposite way, then he offered me a lift into town - - where I came across a pilgrim whom I had last seen on the square in front of the Cathedral in Santiago !! So we had our second long chat of this Camino, walked together for a few hundred metres as he made his way out towards Reliegos, and I towards the Albergue.

He's one of those "true pilgrim" types, with the traditional pilgrim hat, two dogs, and sleeping mostly outdoors. Actually, if I had followed mspath's advice to sleep by the bridge, we would have met the night previous.

The Albergue situation in Mansilla is fairly critical, so it's good I got that lift into town, first for being able to meet that peregrino again, but also because I'm not sure I'd have got a bed otherwise.

As mentioned the Municipal is closed for renovations, though they haven't even started the work yet, but the El Jardín del Camino Albergue is also being rebuilt from the ground up. So only the Gaia Albergue is open, and not only did it fill up, but they had to turn some pilgrims away - - bed race in November !!

Discussed French philosophy with one of the pilgrims here, drank *nearly* too much beer, nice shower, bed, and so on.

Breakfast now, then I'll head out.
 
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JabbaPapa

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Forgot to mention the weather being warmer. Think it only dropped to 9°/10°C last night instead of freezing, though it did rain.

I had been walking with the woollen jumper these past days, it's in the backpack this morning. Though I am not back in the short sleeves.

Only real negatives yesterday were that my favourite butchers shop of the Camino, in Puente de Villarente, was closed for Sunday, and I managed to miss the opening time of that great little shop in Mansilla, many will know the one I'm talking about.
 
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mspath

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Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
JabbaPappa,
Not many "watering holes" of any type in the next stretch to El Burgo Ranero. Be prepared. Buen camino.
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 308 - - Reliegos

I am finally back into the parts of the Meseta that I just love, with the mountains to the north of the Francès peeking over the horizon, and to be constant companions until La Rioja, and starting to climb up into them.

It was a lovely easy walk yesterday, with many places to sit and rest, not too many pilgrims, though there were a few upon arrival into the village, having snacks at the little supermarket, and even more turned up to sleep in the Municipal.

Chatted with a few, which I always find to be easier here in the Meseta, which is another reason why I like it. Closer to Santiago, people seem to be more withdrawn, either into themselves or into their established groups, whereas closer to France there's too much talk of blisters and things. Out here, people are more open minded, and just open generally, and relaxed.

Not much else, I had a plate of ham and cheese with a couple of hard boiled eggs, a good deal of tinto, then the last piece of my chorizo that I had purchased in San Martín. Large and nourishing, and just €5.

I walked by the Roman road option last time, and once really was enough for me, it's not a good surface for my knees, so that's why I am going this way, and really the pueblos are located more conveniently for my needs along the "road way".

Weather was great after the clouds mostly cleared, though it seems it will be getting wetter again and much colder.

The Municipal is unheated, but I piled on many blankets and was quite warm. It is annoying that the beds are upstairs and the toilets down, not ideal for me, and IIRC, it's the same in Frogtown.

A 12K today, but with enough supplies it'll be fine, as I believe that the places to stop and rest continue all along this section. Might have to wait for the coffee and beer to get started, but that's fine, I have been having a bit later starts generally these past days.
 
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finally back into the parts of the Meseta that I just love, with the mountains to the north of the Francès peeking over the horizon,
Yes. It is so beautiful.
May that beauty buoy your heart on the homward journey! It is good to know you're in good company these days, too. It's one heck of a long walk even in sepatate chunks, never mind your added physical challenges. Buen camino, peregrino!
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 309 - - El Burgo Ranero

The Hospitalero and shop guy in Reliegos had told me he would be open in the morning, but in fact they were off for covid jabs, so the shop wasn't. But I still had a drop of beer left, and he gave me a small can of San Miguel he had in the Albergue, and that was just enough - - but no coffee !!

So I set out into the rain, but especially the wind - - which was very strong, occasionally as strong as the Mistral on the times when it reaches the French Riviera. Not the full blast Mistral in the Rhône valley, but pretty strong regardless.

So, nasty weather on that pretty long stretch.

It did improve when the rain stopped, and there was even a stretch of sunshine, with a rainbow and so on. And of course I was glad of the one rest spot in a copse of trees that was properly protected from the weather.

But I was certainly glad to get into town !!

Apart from the little shop opposite the Albergue, though, and the pharmacy, everything in the Burgo is closed down, and whilst the Albergue is open, it is without Hospitaleros.

Being me, I did of course find out where there's a bar anyway, so at least this morning I will get my coffee and beer, but I just used the little shop and the kitchen for my dinner, though my discovery was useful to another pilgrim who was able to get himself a proper meal over there.

The petrol station not far outside town has a hotel-bar-restaurant for the lorry/truck drivers, and it's not far from my way out, so there's my breakfast place. And the little shop opens at 8:30, so today it's all good, and it's a short one too.

And it's definitely time for a more comfortable Albergue and a pilgrim menu !!

Good people in the Albergue last night, and the bad weather we had all walked through, plus the lack of facilities nearby in the village, gave us some more companionship than usual.

There is a fellow in town taking basic care of the Albergue in the absence of Hospitaleros, and he came in to replenish the stock of paper sheets and light the wood stove, which was great.

Tinto again yesterday evening, with a chick peas, ham, and cheese meal, then on its own, then I burrowed down into my three blankets, and there you go.
 

dick bird

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Day 309 - - El Burgo Ranero

The Hospitalero and shop guy in Reliegos had told me he would be open in the morning, but in fact they were off for covid jabs, so the shop wasn't. But I still had a drop of beer left, and he gave me a small can of San Miguel he had in the Albergue, and that was just enough - - but no coffee !!

So I set out into the rain, but especially the wind - - which was very strong, occasionally as strong as the Mistral on the times when it reaches the French Riviera. Not the full blast Mistral in the Rhône valley, but pretty strong regardless.

So, nasty weather on that pretty long stretch.

It did improve when the rain stopped, and there was even a stretch of sunshine, with a rainbow and so on. And of course I was glad of the one rest spot in a copse of trees that was properly protected from the weather.

But I was certainly glad to get into town !!

Apart from the little shop opposite the Albergue, though, and the pharmacy, everything in the Burgo is closed down, and whilst the Albergue is open, it is without Hospitaleros.

Being me, I did of course find out where there's a bar anyway, so at least this morning I will get my coffee and beer, but I just used the little shop and the kitchen for my dinner, though my discovery was useful to another pilgrim who was able to get himself a proper meal over there.

The petrol station not far outside town has a hotel-bar-restaurant for the lorry/truck drivers, and it's not far from my way out, so there's my breakfast place. And the little shop opens at 8:30, so today it's all good, and it's a short one too.

And it's definitely time for a more comfortable Albergue and a pilgrim menu !!

Good people in the Albergue last night, and the bad weather we had all walked through, plus the lack of facilities nearby in the village, gave us some more companionship than usual.

There is a fellow in town taking basic care of the Albergue in the absence of Hospitaleros, and he came in to replenish the stock of paper sheets and light the wood stove, which was great.

Tinto again yesterday evening, with a chick peas, ham, and cheese meal, then on its own, then I burrowed down into my three blankets, and there you go.
We were hospis in Burgo this April. Nice little village. The old couple running the shop were going to retire. Either they are still there or someone else has taken it over. There is an excellent cafe run by Maria on the Camino route on the main street. The guy lighting the fire will be Ovidio, local council handyman but the village seems be generally run by a remarkable woman called Josi with multi-colored hair and a penchant for burning around the neighbourhood on a quad bike. Fond memories we have of El Burgo.
 

JabbaPapa

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I don't know if the bar-restaurant at the gasolinera has a weekly closing day or not, though it's not unlikely, but I would guess that the shop there must be open 7/7.

Tienda is open soon, stock up with beer, then off to the gasolinera for breakfast.

Yeah, I love frogtown.
 

dick bird

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I don't know if the bar-restaurant at the gasolinera has a weekly closing day or not, though it's not unlikely, but I would guess that the shop there must be open 7/7.

Tienda is open soon, stock up with beer, then off to the gasolinera for breakfast.

Yeah, I love frogtown.
I think the truck stop is indeed 24/7. It has a hotel too. Once I figured out the meaning of 'El Burgo Ranero' (roughly. 'froggy town') I couldn't stop the sound of 'Funky Town' going round inside my head. The sunsets over the laguna were spectacular.
P1020778.JPG
 
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Days 310 and 311 - - Bercianos del Real Camino ; Sahagún

I have looped the loop !! Hooray !!

Bercianos was runaround central, every single direction I was given was not just wrong, but diametrically opposite, mostly from people telling me left or right in relation to the Way towards Santiago, but occasionally reversing the correct directions to "compensate" for my walking "backwards" !! Though cherry on the cake was some local farmer pointing me "towards" the shop, which is to say 180° in the wrong direction.

The Albergue I wanted to stay in was closed because of Wednesday, so I went up to the Santa Clara one, which is comfortable enough, but has no kitchen to speak of, and so no menu.

But I had some of their snacks, then had a good chat with a French pilgrim who bought me beers.

So, I survived, and eventually walked out.

Easy walk from there, and the wind had died down to a breeze, just picking up more on the final 2K into Sahagún.

Staying at the Santa Cruz, I think for the first time since the 1994, and one of the Pauls is here, which is very nice. So few familiar faces on a Camino like this.

The Albergue is much nicer than it was 30 years ago, and I can remember being very unimpressed with the place looking from the outside on my 2005.

It's fun to have returned to whence I set out from the Francès towards Portugal and Fátima.
 
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🥳🥳🥳
I bet it's a wee bit cooler than when you passed by some months ago! 🙃
I did want to get that post out last night, though I was falling asleep.

The weather was actually better. Cool, cloudy, but a lot less windy on the short walk into Bercianos ; but often sunny and bright on the longer one into Sahagún, cloudy periods, and the wind did pick up rather a lot during my final 2K into town.

Not so bad then. Tuesday was the really bad weather day, on my way into Frogtown.

I did get a pilgrim menu yesterday, after the Mass here at the chapel in Santa Cruz. A beautiful, quiet Mass, with a pilgrim blessing for the two of us attending.

They have a ritual here of each pilgrim praying with a candle, which is left on the altar as a symbol of our prayers rising to Heaven, and coincidentally or not, yesterday's first reading was precisely the part of Apocalypse/Revelation that describes our prayers rising like incense towards the gathered Saints and Angels in Heaven, who then pray in Communion with our prayers to the Lord.

Then the dinner, which I needed as I had been surviving mostly on tapas and other snacks for about a week, but sadly it was a bit overpriced and a bit too heavy. But there wasn't much other choice, the others either were too late or closed for the season or their rest day.

The starter, some red beans and cod in sauce, and the dessert, a very caramelised flan, were tasty enough, but heavy, and the tinto was pretty heavy as well, and the meal clearly needed a lighter wine.

A hearty enough meal for a pilgrim who needed it, but somewhat out of tune with my normal dietary needs.

Pilgrim numbers continue to decline, but there are still a few of us out here, and my walking the other way does of course mean I am still coming across more of them than others see during the day.

I have remembered that the little shop opposite the gasolinera near the station has an excellent chorizo, and that I'll need an extra bottle of cerveza for the walk out from Moratinos, even though it's possible to get refills from the beer on tap at the bars.

Then off to Moratinos, which seems longer than I remembered it, though last May was Day 1 of this Stage 4, so I had much energy and enthusiasm.

I can remember deciding to stay at the Municipal last time, because it was next to my way out down South, and also that I would stay at the Santa Cruz when I came back in on the return hike.

A promise to myself well kept.
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 312 - - Moratinos

Start of Day 313 too.

The food that I ate in Sahagún has given me a massive and horrid painful inflammatory attack, but even so, I had been underestimating how much I am in need of a rest day.

I have come down to the Albergue at the start of the pueblo for some very early beers to get the pain down, and that's working Hooray !! and the weather is glorious, but no matter where I would have been, in this condition it's stay put and wait until it's possible to carry on. Which is going to be tomorrow.

I hope.

We were invited for drinks in one of the bodegas here, a trip into the Hobbit Hole memory lane for me of the 1993 Camino, I love this place so much.
 

nycwalking

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Day 312 - - Moratinos

Start of Day 313 too.

The food that I ate in Sahagún has given me a massive and horrid painful inflammatory attack, but even so, I had been underestimating how much I am in need of a rest day.

I have come down to the Albergue at the start of the pueblo for some very early beers to get the pain down, and that's working Hooray !! and the weather is glorious, but no matter where I would have been, in this condition it's stay put and wait until it's possible to carry on. Which is going to be tomorrow.

I hope.

We were invited for drinks in one of the bodegas here, a trip into the Hobbit Hole memory lane for me of the 1993 Camino, I love this place so much.

I say this now and then on “Live” camino threads.

Gosh! Do I wish I were there!

Buen camino.
 

JabbaPapa

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Days 313 and 314 - - Moratinos ; Ledigos

313 was mostly in bed, as the problems from the wrong sort of food in Sahagún persisted until about 4AM the following morning. It was a miniature version of what stopped me in the Summer of 2021, but I feel much better now.

It was lovely to see Paddy and Rebekah, though it would have been far preferable to be not so much in bed and spend a bit more time with them.

Anyway I made my way off, and now more properly on the way already traveled on this Camino, though much faster than when I was in these parts last, so it should take me less than a week to reach Carrión de los Condes - - I was in rather a bad shape at the end of Stage 3.

The food at La Morena was excellent, and coherent with my restrictions, big thick mushrooms with ham bits and grilled peppers, some slightly muttony lamb, then crème brulée.

Rain keeps on being forecast, but it was good walking weather yesterday. The pilgrim numbers keep falling, but there are still a few.

Short one today, then the big stretch to Carrión.
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 315 - - Calzadilla de la Cueza

Not a difficult walk, except for a relatively short period of fairly heavy rain.

I am now walking on the parts of the Francès that I have more recent memory of, so that I tend to know when the next resting spot is going to be, and so on - - and that rain came down, with wind, when I knew the next place for a rest was in the pueblo.

And the rain stopped as I walked in.

The Municipal was open this year, which is an improvement, though it closed for Winter at the end of October. But the little bar-tienda attached to the private place has now reopened.

Pilgrim Menu and so on.

Sadly, my tummy troubles are not entirely gone, and the food was not perfectly adapted to my needs, so I ended up throwing up some of it, though most of it did stay inside me.

I will possibly just get something from the supermarket at Carrión.

Cold weather now, and looks like rain for a few days, but the wind has died down a little. So it will be a long, cold, and wet hike today, though I do remember that the rest spots along the trail do mostly have some cover.

Hopefully the rain might come and go, as in previous days, rather than being constant.
 
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