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On this date in March...

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Here's the thread to post pictures, musings, etc. for any dates in March from any year, and for any Camino route.

When you respond, please mention the year, route you were on and where you walked (or rested) that day. Thanks!
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Now that it's almost Spring I imagine that there will be more posts on the "on this date thread." 😊
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2017
1 March 2016: Las Herrerias to Hospital de la Condesa

After a standard meson breakfast, an easy walk under clear skies up to Le Faba where it was time for coffee and second breakfast at CaminArte with an American couple who were exploring the region by car. They had heard of the Camino but I was the first pilgrim they had seen “in the wild”. After that pleasant break, things started to get a wee bit more difficult…

Increasing snow depth forced me off the Camino and onto the road at La Escuela. Approaching the Cebreiro, I heard happy squeals of children in the distance. Families had come up from nearby cities to give them a “snow holiday” on the slopes. Lines of cars and snack trucks were abundant and all doing a brisk business in churros con chocolato and other health foods.

Heading to Igrexa de Santa María a Real do Cebreiro, I was annoyed to be constantly buzzed by a drone. Not a hobbyist but a wedding photographer was piloting the plastic insect in swooping (and I am sure “dramatic”) zoom-in dives to capture the happy couple pirouetting below. After visiting the church I moved on quickly.

Well, as quick as possible which was pretty slow considering that the uneven topography of the town is downright treacherous when covered with glass-smooth ice. I never fell but multiple avoidance maneuvers left me with a severely irritated right knee. Then, on the way out of town, the same leg went through a snow bridge which helped not at all.

By the time I hit Hospital, I was happy to stop at the Xunta albergue and put my leg up. Spent the rest of the afternoon and into the evening with a pilg from Cardiff, Wales. We enjoyed a great evening meal at O Tear after which I introduced him to Orujo.

The mystery yet remains though. Why do these albergues put in such great kitchens when they have no expectation of them being used? It seems like a complete waste of money.

B
 

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Year of past OR future Camino
2017
2 March 2016: Hospital de la Condesa to Samos

Came down into the common room to see - - well, nothing but an expansive wall of white snug against the expansive windows where the vista looking back toward Cebreiro should have been. To leave the albergue in Hospital was a slow careful slide with an occasional step. Early footing was treacherous getting down to the road and confined my travel to the gritted shoulder of LU-633 where I found confident footing. (The usual Camino path was impassable as I had left my snowshoes at home. Yes, I felt stupid about that lack of foresight.)

I held out my walking staff at arm’s length and it ghosted away about the midpoint. A couple meters of visibility began to linger about halfway to Fonfria and I was grateful to find the bar open at Reboleira. (However, the “Pancake Lady” was nowhere to be seen as I passed through town!) Then…. the rain started.

Coffee and a croissant was found in Triacastela after which there was a bit of shelter to make a sock change a bit more comfortable. Despite all precautions, boots and socks were soaked. And, to make things special, one of the feminine pads in the right boot had exploded leaving me to scoop out a good quantity of “goop” into the nearest bin. Fun times.

The Camino route to Samos was passable so I took the fork in the road. As an uneventful, though soggy, walk brought me to overlook the monastery the rain backed off in sympathy with failing light. All I could find open was the Hotel a Veiga. They were supreme in their hospitality as a multi-generational family operation.

Being the only guest, I saw little reason for them to fire up the kitchen and asked if it would be okay if I just had a plate of warmed up leftovers and some wine.

“Absolutely not!” was the smiling answer. “We have extra from our meal and we will eat in about an hour, okay?”

Sounded fine to me. As I nursed a glass of wine, I heard the turn of a pan or two before being surprised with a plate of mixed croquettes. Heavenly.

With thanks after an over-large dinner, I was on my way to retire when I was asked what time I would like breakfast. “Oh, no need for the inconvenience, I usually start with the light and Sarria is not that far.”

The young lady’s horror was palpable. “No! Pilgrims must eat before leaving. Seven-thirty is okay, right?”

Agreement was reached and I drifted off to sleep grateful for how lucky I was getting.

B
 

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Year of past OR future Camino
2017
3 March 2016: Samos to Ferreiros

Good breakfast, clean clothes, and dry gear provided a lift to the spirits as I hit the Camino once again.

The sun was shy most of the day but the cloaking clouds were thin and carried little rain. In other words, perfect weather for walking.

The only other pilg that I came across on a regular basis was a young man from outside Wavre, Belgium. He had walked out his front door the day after Christmas and had cobbled his accommodations through a mix of stays with family, friends, and sleeping rough until reaching Spain’s network of albergues. Our paces did not match well but we did share coffee and snack stops during the walk and had dinner together in the evening.

The Xunta albergue in Ferreiros was quite a nice stay for the night.

B
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mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
March 4, 5, 6, 2009

Foncebadon in a blizzard


Before dawn, March 4, a continuous brisk noise resounded within the Rabanal albergue Nuestra Señora del Pilar. Could someone be stuffing plastic bags? No, sleet was hitting the roof. The weather had changed, drastically!

Nevertheless 7 pilgrims and I set off to cross the mountain. Our path grew more and more slippery. Snow began to fall; pretty at first, then stinging and very cold with an incessant wind. Walking with great difficulty on the snow-covered road after 6 km we 8 arrived at the tiny village of Foncebadon which during my first Camino had been in ruin.

Luckily a private albergue, Monte Irago, has been created and is OPEN. After taking a photo through the icy window to remember the day I asked to stay in this warm and friendly spot.


Foncebadon 04.03.2009.jpg

We would be 9 pilgrims total since another young fellow and his dog arrived exhausted mid afternoon. The electricity was out but all had headlamps or flashlights. Dinner by candlelight cooked on a wood burning stove in the kitchen was a delicious thick stew laddled over hot rice plus thick slices of homemade cake with fruit for dessert. All including the hospiteleros ate in the common room close to the open fireplace glad of the warmth, shelter and multi lingual camaraderie.

... March 5, a full day later, the electricity is still out as is the telephone line that usually
connects all albergues. Pancakes, toast and porridge are on the menu for breakfast.

Complaints begin. After many say that the dorm was just too cold I as a "old winter pro" suggest that in cold weather never choose a bunk placed against an exterior wall since such old stone walls as these are often uninsulated and thus frigid. Make a cozy 'sandwich' for sleeping by folding a blanket in half the long way, place your sleeping bag on top of the bottom half and pull the top half over all. If there are no blankets put your dry poncho beneath the sleeping bag to block the cold from rising; this spacious dorm has plenty of extra blankets.

All read, write, nap, play scrabble or learn yoga to pass the time. Another hot dinner by the blazing fireplace is anticipated with pleasure.

Outside the window the still falling snow is deep and the wind continues to howl. What a storm! We may be here until the spring thaw!


Foncebadon 05.03.2009.jpg

...March 6, our third day has begun. The main room now resembles descriptions of Mount Everest base camp! Several new pilgrims who were stuck at Rabanal have made it here this morning since the storm seems to have broken. Supposedly the LE 142 road is being plowed so if no change for the worse occurs tomorrow I will try to continue. Outside there are at least 75 cm/30 in on the ground with much deeper drifts.

Psychologically the mood is a mix of Sartre's Huit Clos/No Exit and some 1930's social realism written by Clifford Odets. Instead of being greatly relieved to find physical warmth, clean beds and good food available in the middle of a snowstorm on the side of a mountain, some pilgrims complain about the prices! Indeed, they are slightly higher than in Astorga but the stuff has to be brought in.

....March 7, today I finally left Foncebadon walking up the newly plowed, dry road (!!) to the mythic Cruz de Ferro.


Cruz de Ferro 07.03.2009.jpg

Thankful for being able to come this far, I tossed a stone from our farmhouse garden onto the immense pile at the base of the famous iron cross. Pilgrims have made this gesture since the beginning; today the scene resembled a medieval landscape painting with deep white snow covering the ground and thick white fog swirling above. ...All seemed timeless.
.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2017
4 March 2016: Ferreiros to Airexe

Grabbed a coffee and croissant at O Mirallos heading down the hill out of town. My new Belgian acquaintance joined me. A bit uncomfortable at me picking up his breakfast, he had to be reminded that we chowed down on his groceries last night. “We’re not close to even yet, young man!”

Fueled up, we headed out after getting armored against the developing showers and ground fog. After a kilometer I hear “You know, you walk strong for an old guy!”

I looked deep into his eyes and saw not a trace of sarcasm so I let it go. Neither of us were in a talky mood as sleep was hard to come by the night before. He moved on; I next saw him upon ascending the stairs at Portomarin. Says he, “I need a beer.” Desperately requiring another coffee or two myself, he was led to O Mirador so we could slake our respective thirsts.

“They have GREAT beer here! How did you know about this place?” I pulled out my phone and showed him pictures of prior credenciales. “You are crazy!” he opined before heading to the Mercado for supplies “I will see you later!”

The path was often slop from there on and my already irritated knee was tweaked several more times as I tried to avoid inundating my boots. (I was not completely successful.) At Airexe, I was done in and the Xunta albergue looked to be a good choice. The shower and laundry facilities were sufficient to needs.

Tasks completed, I catch sight of my now friend looking into the facility. “You done already, young man?”, I greeted him. After helping him with his pack, I understood why - - it must have been 20 kilos!

He was too tired for worrying about laundry or shower so I took him across the street for dinner to even us up for last night’s meal. A couple beers, some wine with a good meal, and we headed back to our bunks for an early night’s sleep.

B

No photos this day for reason of little to see through the mists.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2017
5 March 2016: Airexe to Melide

The weather menu today was rain. Not a frog-strangler like Day 1 of this outing but one that just made one keep the head down and plod on. It was still heavy enough that on uphill paths my boots had “bow waves” at the toes. Slick mud made footing treacherous often times and my knee took yet more punishment.

By the time Palas de Rei was in sight there was a huge hollow area in my midsection demanding to be filled. A stop at Cabana for food and coffee got rid of belly noises and restored mandatory (for me, anyway) blood caffeine levels.

From there, I just trudged on to Melide arriving in very early afternoon. The knee suggested that a short day was all it was willing to tolerate. “Why not dive into Garnacha for some seafood and while away some time before albergues open?” An eminently sound suggestion immediately followed upon.

BTW, I had heard that Garnacha and Ezequiel’s were entirely different in clientele and manner of pulpo quality. Having tried both a couple of times now, I am unable to discern a difference. YMMV.

After a delightful repast, it was time to stop at a Mercado for sundries and food for afternoon/evening snacking while I attended to laundry. The Xunta albergue welcomed me in and, in what I thought a great display of thoughtfulness, the hospitalera had procured lots of old newspapers for stuffing into boots.

Food and wine was shared with the few other pilgrims around before I called it a day.

B
 

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Year of past OR future Camino
2017
6 March 2016: Melide to Salceda

The day started with drenching rain as I left the albergue so I sought refuge in a small café just up the street. A few other pilgs shuffled in, perhaps sharing the idea that a full load of caffeine and calories might brighten what was promising to be a dark and dreary day.

To be fair, we walked out into a rapidly diminishing shower so the exit of Melide was not too bad. Though rains returned intermittently throughout the day they were not a nuisance - - the paths were the big challenge.

Those of you who have trod these paths in drier times will remember the charming paths tight between cut banks or rock fences. Charming most of the time but possessed of poor drainage, they required continual exertion/contortion to avoid full-boot immersion for hundreds of meters at a time.

Two thoughts cycled in my mind through the day: “I am wayyy too old for this kind of nonsense.” And “Oh, well, good penance for Lent.”

Since calories were getting burned off far faster than kilometers passed underfoot, I never passed the opportunity to rest the now-swelling knee and load up on coffee and food.

As a result, I reached Pensión Albergue Turístico Salceda with the light failing rapidly. Good people, though short on custom because of the time of year, I was invited to share their evening meal in the bar area. Conversation was minimal. My brain just could not keep up with translating at the end of a long day. They were quite sympathetic... and I believe that they rather wanted to watch the futbol match anyway. So we did.

No time for pictures this day. Go the yard or park and stir up some water, soil, old leaves, and sticks into a proper muck - - you now have a pretty good view of what we were looking at most of the day.

B
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2017
7 March 2016: Salceda to Santiago

I had told my hosts last night that I would not be needing breakfast. This close to Santiago there would be plenty of places to grab coffee and a bite. Their hospitality had already exceeded the top level of “gracious”.

Though the weather was drizzly upon a very early departure, a bit later some lights across the road to the right (N-547?) alerted me to someone being open for business (O Empalme). The torrents obliged me by reaching their full power while coffee cravings and blood sugar needs were satisfied. They then tapered off when it was time to get back on the Camino. I was grateful…and became even more so as the day’s remaining showers came and went sporadically.

Confident footing remained elusive almost until Lavacolla. By the time I hit the Restaurante Santa Pedra, just before De Gozo, the day’s effects were showing…or so I suppose because a nice lady looked at me upon my arrival and said loud enough for the neighbors to hear, “You look positively knackered!”

Whatever… I was just grateful for space to stretch out a painful leg and top up on coffee and calories. Despite urgings to stop at San Lazaro for the night (I must have looked really awful), I limped my way into Santiago.

The musician under the arch before Obradoiro was, at the time playing Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, which I thought was a nice touch on the part of God/Universe… the music matched my feelings exactly. A quick stop at San Martin de Pinario to get a room for a couple of nights. Reservations made, I went immediately to the Pilgrim’s Office. In and out in five minutes, time for a couple of pictures on my return, and then to the salon at the hotel for a coffee and icing of the knee.

The young man at the bar was most kind to fill a sturdy plastic bag from my pack with ice while the espresso finished dripping. When it was clear that the 5 euro proffered for service was impossible for him to refuse, he returned with a small ice-encrusted glass of dangerous yellow hue. Yep - - Orujo! When I looked questioning at him, he pointed to the icing knee. My Spanish, now in retreat, meekly suggested that he said, “It is good for that!

One sip, good. Two sips, even better. The rest of it I dropped like a millstone off a cliff.

“¡otro por favor!”

I have no clear recollection of how many times that was uttered over the next hour or so. What I DO know is that the police were never involved, he was glad of my company such as it was…

And, there was no pain in my body…at all…before I went out sampling plates of Padrons, Mariscos, Atun, Aceitunes, and I am sure there were more vegetables in there somewhere.

A quick text to my bride to let her know where I was, schedule a telephone call for the next day and then I was off to bed.

B
 

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Year of past OR future Camino
2017
8 March 2016: Santiago – Rest Day

After making complete use of the breakfast buffet at San Martin, there were chores to be done.

The first on the list was to find a knee brace. After that, my inaugural visit to Pilgrim House to meet the staff (finest kind!) and get laundry done. While laundry was in progress, the knee brace was given a test drive around the flatter portions of the city.

With a walk of the Dingle peninsula just seven weeks into the future, the need for recovery of function of that leg weighed on my mind. It had been my intent to walk to the coast from Santiago starting the next day.

After a day of light duty, I saw that plan fading…however, to be re-evaluated tomorrow. There was still some slack in the schedule.

B
 

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thetimman

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Inglés, March 2018
D8C3FE6F-18ED-4821-A3BA-9E7414B1365E.jpeg

Today, three years ago I started my only Camino de Santiago to date, in an all too brief period on the way to visit our son in Venice. I pray to get back, but am sanguine as to the possibilities. Even that one Camino Ingles changed my life forever. To join an 800+ year company of peregrinos is something that makes a difference in a fundamental way. There isn’t a day that goes by without my reflecting on being a pilgrim and this current state of pilgrimage-wherever I happen to be.

To all, Buen Camino...
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2017
9 March 2016: Santiago – Rest Day 2

The solitude afforded by a winter Camino is delightful… though there is a drawback.

There is no crowd in the breakfast room at San Martin in which to hide the fact that one is making a pig of themselves. This did not, however, slow me down.

Engaged in the morning gorging I contemplated my bride’s excellent suggestion via e-mail that perhaps I should take a few days in Portugal instead of walking to the coast. A few hours after the last coffee and my researches were complete. “Tomorrow to Porto!” was my reply home accompanied with itinerary details.

The rest of the day was taken up with ambling around town. A stop at Pilgrim House to chat with other pilgrims made for a good chance to get off the aching knee. A mid-afternoon nap was followed by extended browsing for bites at various bars and cafes in the locale.

While enjoying an orujo back at San Martin, I met up with @nalod, photographer and Forum member. We happily finished the bottle with Camino-ing discussions before saying goodbye for the evening.

Sooo...I am officially "not a pilgrim" at this point.

Perhaps, if I have time over the next few days, I may take the opportunity to drop some photos of Porto...

B

PS. Thanks for the thread, @trecile !
 

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trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Perhaps, if I have time over the next few days, I may take the opportunity to drop some photos of Porto
Please do!
PS. Thanks for the thread, @trecile
You're welcome, and thank you for your contributions, which are helpful for those considering a winter Camino.
 
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mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
March 10, 11, 2009
Ruitelan and O Cebreiro, on the CF

Miracles present and past


Even today miracles can be sensed on the Camino; it all depends on where you are. While walking along the Valcarce River towards Ruitelan a passing car tooted; the driver was Carlos, the hospitalero at the delightful Pequeno Potala refuge. "Margaret!" he said with a big smile "I heard that you were coming back!" What a happy welcome that was!

Ruitelan, sign.jpg

Each time that I have stayed at this albergue has been a true pleasure. All is very clean and tidy; Buddhist yet eccumenical on the unpainted wooden walls hang a Christian cross, pictures of the Dalai Lama and a card hand-lettered Shalom, the Hebrew salutation meaning peace.

Carlos is an outstanding host/multi-tasker who puts all at ease. We were six drop-in pilgrims at table yet the ambiance was most serene. Questions were answered, advice offered and jitters quieted while simultaneously from a few jars, bottles, cans and boxes a modern day miracle of "the loaves and the fishes" was produced to feed all with true caritas.

...I ate a lot to stock energy for the big climb and went to bunk early hoping all will go well tomorrow.

March 11, 2009
O Cebreiro


After an early breakfast I hoisted my backpack and began a solitary long walk up to O Cebreiro. Ás during earlier years I followed the old N VI highway. It took about five hours to arrive. Today this tiny mountain hamlet and its small church, Santa Maria Real do Camino form a protected historic site with traces of a past miracle

Entering this tiny granite Romanesque church is always memorable; it is kept immaculate. The magnificent silver chalice, a gift from royalty, commemorates the famous medieval miracle of faith when a parishioner saw the transformation of wine and bread into blood and flesh.

O Cebreiro, church, interior.jpg

Many small red candles were flickering; a few parishioners entered for mass. Overcome with emotion I sat in the back of the nave and silently offered thanks for being able to be here once again.

O Cebreiro, Elias Valinas Sampedro stele.jpg

Outside in the garden more contemporary plaques and a stele commemorate the visionary work of the local priest Elias Valiñas Sampiedro who mid-20th century intensely studied Galician history and helped recreate the idea of a modern camino with its network of supporting albergues. He painted the first arrows which mark our pilgrim ways using yellow paint begged from the Road Department.

As pilgrims today we all search for and follow these famous yellow arrows which now mark the way. In our contemporary minds such arrows have become iconic and symbolically equal to the route.

As I write seated within the almost luxurious comfort of the newly renovated Xunta albergue the stars are shining above the mountains and hamlet which Valiñas Sampiedro so deeply loved, I wonder what he might have felt seeing hordes of seasonal tourists tramp carelessly and casually along this very special path....

(See O Cebreiro for further information re the site, the church and Don Elias Valiñas Sampiedro)
 
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Heikki

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Burgos to Santiago 2008, Madrid to Sáhagun 2012, Primitivo 2012, VdlP 2014, Camino del Norte 2020
Exactly a year ago we were in final stages of Camino del Norte. We did it just before the covid lock-down. Here is a page of my blog which is mainly in finnish:
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Ourense to Santiago (2019), CF: (2014, 2004, 2002, 2001). On to Fisterra, (2002, 4, 14).
I ate a nice lunch at cafe near albergue. A group of pilgrims from Texas were dining there as well.

I spent night at one of those pass-by albergues.

A Spanish father with young adult son stayed there as well. I believe it was just we three.
E506C0D0-1C2C-454F-AFF4-AF0E8ADD2B4C.jpeg
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2017
11 March 2016: Perusing Porto

Photo 1. A nice market about 300m south of Rotunda de Boavista. I found a second breakfast here in the morning and a second beer on the way back to lodgings at “Oporto7” (4-star, imho). Yes, I know one can get beer anywhere but a young man had set up shop here and had a selection of beers that I knew of but had never had the chance to sample....even after 25 years working and traveling in the brewing industry.

Photos 2 & 3. Random snaps in a garden overlooking the Duoro.

Photos 4 & 5. Staircase and Ceiling at “Lillo & Irmao” bookstore

Photo 6. Pasteis de Nata (dangerously tasty)

Photos 7 & 8. A fresh market and view from an overlook by the Cathedral

B
 

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Learn how to Get "Camino Ready " 2nd Edition. In English, Spanish, German and Korean
Year of past OR future Camino
2017
12 March 2016: Perusing Porto, Part 2

My sore knee was improved today so the constant ups-and-downs of walking the town yesterday must have been therapeutic. The day was spent exploring the locale of the river and I had been emphatically commended to have a grilled sardine lunch. Random photos from the day...

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And that's about all I have for the Forum for now, folks!

Spring is finally winning the battle with Winter in the here and now. Recall and appreciation of the past remains but active involvement is now required for care of existent plantings and establishing some new ones. There is little time left over for sitting in front of a screen.

Buen Camino, all!

B
 

jsalt

Jill
Year of past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
15 March 2016, on the way home, after walking the Rota Vicentina from the south west tip of Portugal to Santiago de Compostela.

569a.jpg
 

palmah

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2010
(An excerpt from our blog):
On March 19, 2010
"We left for SJPP on a train from Bordeaux at 0727, I forgot to validate the ticket and got a lecture from the conductor. We arrived in Bayonne at 0930 and we had a couple hours to kill so we walked around a bit.

When we got to SJPP we walked up a big hill from the train station to the pilgrim office and checked in. We were advised the Napoleon route was too dangerous and we should go the Valcarlos route. We also received scallop shells for our packs. Check in at Le Chemin de E'toile was 4 pm so we sought a place to purchase our pilgrim staffs and a restaurant for lunch. We found one with a nice outdoor patio and had a nice Basque lunch of sausage, pepper stew and French fries with a jug of wine. When it was time to check in we walked to the albergue. It was in a very old building that could handle 14 pilgrims. Apparently it had recently changed ownership. The new owner was a Parisian fellow named Eric, who was super nice and very enthusiastic about the Camino. He was not officially open and was in the middle of getting things ready for the upcoming pilgrim season. We were given a room with three full sized bunk beds. We took our showers, washed some clothes and went out for dinner. While looking for a place to eat we walked into a demonstration against the recent ETA assassination of a French Policeman."
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
March 27, 28, 2007

Santiago de Compostela


Mid-day I arrived in Santiago de Compostela after 7 weeks walking. After hiking at least 5 hours daily while always carrying my fully loaded backpack, I am sincerely thankful that I made it!

Weary but thrilled, I feel as if I have been rehewn during this pilgrimage. My bones may be the same but much else seems configured differently from how I set out weeks ago at Saint Jean Pied de Port. As always I have relearned which qualities are most important - caritas, sincerity, tenacity, endurance and, of course, enjoying serendipity.

Walking the calle de los Concheiros (after conca or shell), rua de San Pedro and finally entering the medieval city through the Puerta del Camino my heart beat faster as I hurried along the narrow pedestrian lanes, rua Casas Reales, rua das Animas and plaza Azabacheria (after jet jewelry craftsmen).

And there it was! The cathedral!

Santiago,cathedral,NE corner,Santa Maria Antigua_.jpg

At the simple northeast corner, not a major entrance, I put my hand on the ancient stone wall offering silent thanks for all that had been which enabled this and wept. ....Again at the pilgrims' office on the nearby rua Vilar receiving my third treasured Compostela, I wept.

I found a room at the Libredon Barbantes hostal on the Paza de Fonseca literally around the corner from the cathedral; the compact space with private shower/toilet was a bargain at 23 € per night.

Santiago, Libredon Barbantes, interior .jpg


Santiago, Libredon Barbantes, detail .jpg


Here I can see church towers from the ceiling window as well as hear the great bells toll. I love it and feel like Quasimodo at Notre Dame; now this is my cathedral!

The Libredon does not offer breakfast, but
nearby at 35 rua del Vilar is the wonderful Cafe Casino.which has existed since 1873.

Santiago, Cafe Casino,, interior.jpg

Open from 9am to after midnight they serve breakfast, drinks and simple meals. The old-fashioned decor (but newly upgraded with WiFi) reminds me of the Algonquin in NYC when I was much younger. You can happily sit in the Casino for hours while nursing a drink watching the world go by.

After a welcome siesta I entered the cathedral to give thanks and sat silently within the dim interior for a long time...Of course like most pilgrims I, too, hugged the statue of Santiago before leaving.

At noon on March 28 I attended the daily Pilgrim Mass. It was beautifully sung by the same nun as last year. Since this is Lent it was an 'austere' service without any choir or swinging of the famous Botafumeiro censier.

Santiago, cathedral, interior.jpg

Only 20 or so pilgrims were present; we nodded, silently smiled and gestured a euphoric thumbs up to each other, not wanting to break the sacred silence.

During the service the locations from which we each began our walks were announced. It was hard to imagine that soon all would go their separate ways.

Whatever one believes, however one sees this world, it is impossible not to be touched and moved in Santiago de Compostela and at this most special cathedral. The weight of history is heavy with the accumulated layers of centuries, both visible and invisible. One can see much and also feel or imagine more such as throngs of past pilgrims following the same timeless routesl towards the cathedral.

As the priest said this morning for centuries and centuries the pilgrims have been coming and shall continue to come.

.....
At twilight I again returned to sit alone in the nave at peace. ...How I hope that I shall be able to return again another year.
.....Tomorrow I will walk towards the sea at Finistera.
 
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C clearly

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Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I scrolled through my photos and here is the most interesting from March 27, 2016. Two bedbug bites - large welts - on my arm! For anyone who claims that there aren't bedbugs in March, I was bitten two days prior in a private room that had just opened for the season.
 

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trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I scrolled through my photos and here is the most interesting from March 27, 2016. Two bedbug bites - large welts - on my arm! For anyone who claims that there aren't bedbugs in March, I was bitten two days prior in a private room that had just opened for the season.
I have been bitten, but so far I have had little to no reaction. 🤞
 

jsalt

Jill
Year of past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
28 March 2018, Nava de la Asuncion on the Camino de Madrid

148LeavingNavaDeLaAsuncion.jpg
 

palmah

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2010
March 28, 2010: Azofra to Grañon: Another beautiful morning. We stopped at the restaurant Seville, had coffee, and bought a couple of bocadillos for the road. There were a lot of bicyclists there. They seemed to be in a club - all wearing the same logo on their shirts. They loaded all their gear into a van before leaving. What a noisy bunch. Once we started walking, a couple of other cyclists passed us carrying their own gear. One fellow was towing a tiny trailer. It was not a bad walk to Grañon. We planned a stop here because one of the forum members is supposed to be the hospitallero at the albergue in Grañon. We walked to Circuena and made a stop for coffee and tortilla. Our second stop was in Santo Domingo de la Caldzada to check out the ¨Chicken church”, then continued. We stopped just outside of the city, just before the bridge and ate our lunch. There were many stork nests in the area. They were built on top of poles that seemed to have been placed there for just that purpose. I don´t know if we were tired or what, but the walk from Santo Domingo to Grañon was difficult for us. When we arrived at the albergue, Alberto welcomed us. It was his last day as David would be replacing him. We stayed in the attic of the St John the Baptist church. It was probably the most rustic place we’ve slept in. Just mats on the floor. There were about 20 of us in the room. There were a few people we had met previously. Many German and Spanish pilgrims, a young man from South Africa, and a young lady from Switzerland. We showered and did our laundry. I don´t understand why the washing machines here take soooooo long! I really miss real towels. We went to mass at 1900 in the chapel. Though the mass was in Spanish, the priest offered the pilgrims a special blessing in English and Spanish. It was very moving. After mass, the hospitalleros cooked supper tonight. Pretty good pasta - Alberto is Italian! Delicious bread, asparagus and tomato salad. Our first communal meal. One of the German pilgrims spoke to us about the German route. I have to investigate that more. One of the younger Germans played a few tunes on the piano. He was quite good. When we went to bed the wind was howling. DSCF0577.jpg
 

SEB2

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF (2015), CP (2016), part of Vasco (2019)
If it is allowed to post by day, rather than date, this is Palm Sunday 29 March 2015 and the view is from outside the albergue at Valcarlos. The Napoleon route was blocked by snow but my initial disappointment soon faded as I walked through the valleys with the river to the side and green lizards scuttling across the path and into walls. When I arrived in the village I walked right past the albergue (!) but was guided in the right direction by two German pilgrims. By a strange coincidence we met again on my last night in Santiago in torrential rain - what other type of rain does Galicia offer? The albergue was wonderful, as were the folk running the grocery/restaurant across the road. It was my first time doing a long walk on my own, so at that point I wasn't sure if I would make it to Pamplona. 12 miles had been the limit of my experience before then. As I had left SJPdP women were coming out of the church clutching palm leaves.
 

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trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
If it is allowed to post by day, rather than date, this is Palm Sunday 29 March 2015 and the view is from outside the albergue at Valcarlos.
Of course it's "allowed!" Thanks for posting your memories. 😊
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
March 29, 2007

Negreira


After a farewell view of the cathedral
I started walking towards Finisterre on the Atlantic coast.

Known as Fisterra in Galician, this extreme point on the Atlantic west coast of Spain was considered the end of the world until the time of Christopher Columbus. A pagan pre-Christian route as well as a medieval pilgrim route led there in the distant past

Leaving Santiago de Compostela I followed rua de Hortas and rua Poza de Bar to the Carballeira (oak wood) of San Lourenzo eventually crossing the tiny pedestrian bridge over the Sarela river. At this rather ad hoc sign/gate a narrow and uphill dirt path began.


Ponte Sarela.jpg

20210328_103716.jpg

Incessant rain also began. The path was constantly up and down; never steep, but tiring and very wet; a long, sloppy slog across many hills through eucalyptus wood and much mud.

Nevertheless it felt good to be back in the more relaxed countryside once again where locals take the time to say Hola, point out the route, and wish Buen Camino.

Ponte Maceira .jpg


At Ponte Maceira beneath the Renaissance stone bridge the Tambre river rapids moved swiftly. Crossing was rather frightening.

After 22 km I walked through Negreira to the pleasant municipal albergue on the far side; it was quite busy with 18 pilgrims for 20 single beds, not bunks, in two dorms. Wet ponchos and clothes dripped everwhere. One hearty Dutch fellow cooked delicious thick vegetable soup for all; we each added bits and pieces to our communal indoor picnic.

...
Now it's early bedtime for me because tomorrow will be difficult.
 
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mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
March 30, 2007

Olveiroa



Dawn outside the Negeira albergue was very rosy and not a sign of good weather to come

Negreira, dawn.jpg

Hence rain continued all day as I splashed towards Olveiroa. The trail meandered through many tiny hamlets and gentle pastures, but 33km was exhausting since my comfort level is 22-25 km. Today was almost as bad as the first time up to Roncevalles in 2004!!

Soaked and muddy I finally arrived early afternoon at the Xunta albergue in Olveiroa where the kind hospitalera remembered me from last year and offered a steaming hot tea.

Olveiroa albergue.jpg

Olveiroa albergue, dorm.jpg

This is a very attractive complex. Several adjacent stone farm buildings have been handsomely repurposed. Dorms and dining/commons room are separated by a path. Bright plaid blankets cover the bunks. The tiled bathrooms have hot water and good showers. Bliss!

A handful of other pilgrims are here; all ate together in the commons room opposite the dorm. The hospitalera cooked/served steaming bowls of tasty homemade stew, thick slices of country bread with local honey, pitchers of red wine, plus yogurt and fruit for dessert. Delicious!

How wonderful it is to feel well fed, clean, and comfortable! Now to sleep; I'm pooped.
 
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mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
March 31, 2007

Corcubion/ San Roque



The Olveiroa sunrise was splendid and the rain had finally ceased; all was good to go!

Early without breakfast I started walking. A new footbridge crossed the Hospital River. Looking down into the cold water I was glad that there was a bridge.

leaving Hospital.jpg

The river and nearby hamlet are named for a pilgrim hostel, which probably existed in the middle ages. Luckily one lonely bar was open; breakfast was a sandwich.

The routes to Muxia and Finisterre split at the juncture DP 3404/ DP 2302. On the right DP 3404 went to Muxia; I turned left on DP 2302 towards Finisterre.

Hidden in the wood on a dirt path off DP 2302 this giant rock with petroglyphs seemed magical and a bit threatening as if it might erupt.


Petroglyph%0A.jpg

The trail became a wide path, which slowly climbed and crossed stoney hills, broad pastures, and wòods of eucalyptus or pine. Thank goodness the weather was dry although windy.

From a hilltop above Cée I could glimpse the silvery Atlantic ocean and Finisterra in the far distance. What excitement medieval pilgrims must have felt when they first saw that sea!

from Cee, the Sea.jpg

Walking down to Cée was STEEP and slippery. After crossing to Corcurbion, turning west, following a creek and then some very muddy lanes I finally arrived at the pleasant hilltop albergue at San Roque.

In a repurposed old school this simple albergue is a very friendly place run by local volunteers. The same group of pilgrims as last night are here; all shared a copious communal supper prepared by the hospitalero. Tired after walking 21km I went to bunk early.
...
Now through a bunk-side window in the dark dorm I see the Finisterre lighthouse beacon shining on the sea.
...All is molten silver.
 
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palmah

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2010
Day 13 Belorado to Ages (March 31 2010): We got up early and started at 0720 our earliest start yet. Too bad we had to walk 2 hours to find an open bar for our first cup of coffee! A comment about the albergue last night; by the time the hospitalero got up and had the coffee going, more than half the pilgrims were gone. The place we stopped after leaving had okay coffee and the bocadillo de chorizo was probably the worst we’ve had yet. The sky was full of clouds in every direction. We really pushed walking today. We had to decide for a short day or a long day. Stop and call it a day at Villa Franca de Oca or commit to San Juan de Ortega? We decided to push on since we were feeling pretty good. We stopped for a bite at San Juan de Ortega and decided to go the extra 3.5 km to Ages based primarily on the fact that the albergue at San Juan de Ortega did not have hot showers. We ran into the Austrian sisters when we stopped and they asked if they could join us as we walked to Ages. Cullen had mochilla (blood sausages) fo lunch. I played it safe with a tortilla con chorizo. The girls said they saw Dieter at Santo Domingo de la Calzada a couple of days ago. He isn’t far behind us. I think we´re going to dally a couple of days so our arrival in Santiago is on a Saturday in the hope that we meet up with him there. The last miles from Belorado to Ortega were through forest. Mostly on a very wide path which was probably used for logging. Lots of big ruts. Thank goodness no rain even though the clouds have been with us all day. When we arrived in Ages it seemed to be a ghost town. Not even a barking dog to welcome us! We saw the sign for the El Pejar albergue (private) and decided to stay. The albergue was run by a nice couple and we opted to have dinner there since we didn´t see any other options in Ages. We had nice hot showers, the albergue is bright and clean. Wooden lockers. A couple of internet machines and a dining room used as a game room, or for writing when not being used to dine. We combined our laundry with the sisters and had use of the washer and dryer for 6 euros. It started to pour rain around 6 pm and it was running down the streets passed the albergue. Dinner was good. For starters, arroz con pollo, then tortilla with salad and peppers and ice cream for dessert. We were joined at our table by a maybe 35 year old Spaniard doing part of the Camino by bicycle. His name was Juan Ramon and he and Cullen had a very interesting discussion on a variety of subjects. I´m so glad Cullen was able to use his Spanish for something besides finding beds and ordering food!
DSCF0608.jpg
 

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