Mucho Gusta Muxia

Yesterday Lana and I completed another one of the Camino trails with our waltz (ok maybe not quite that graceful) into Muxia, Spain! The other end of the death coast (Spain’s name for it, not mine) and the Camino.

The day was a long one at 30kms that ended up feeling much longer, likely due to the kilometres and kilometres of just barren forest track we walked through the whole afternoon. Beautiful for sure but you start to wonder if you are getting anywhere at all if there are no milestones to pass.

We started the day with a hot breakfast at the cutest little hippy breakfast place run by some nice Germans right in the centre of Finisterre near the water. Once filled up on coffee and eggs, at around 10am, we started walking.

Now getting out of Finisterre to walk to Muxia is not as well marked as these two pilgrims are used to. We had our bearings mostly correct and the help of a pilgrim who completed the journey in reverse just the day before to get us started. We were pretty happy to see the first ‘a Muxia’ shell way marker though to confirm we were heading in the right direction. With 30km to cover, you don’t want to waste energy and distance getting lost.

Some highlights from our morning walk – which did I mention was warm and beautiful and full of sunshine! A welcome change from the past few days of sogginess. Even when we kinda sorta lost then found our way, we didn’t mind it was sunny!

At about 12km into our day and around 12noon we came into a village called Lires. Here we stopped at a cafe called As Eiras for a cafe con leche to get us going for the last 18km. This would be the last village, cafe, water opportunity until we reached Muxia in another 18km. So we really, really enjoyed that coffee! I also particularly enjoyed it cause of the heart in my creamy foam!

After our pit stop, we walked /slogged that 18km on some pretty neat woodland paths featuring stone walls, some asphalt local roads but mostly spent our time on a forest track (think logging road). It was this barren track that had us feeling the miles on our feet. It was just never ending and most of it up. Also the wind was so strong up along the top of the hills that you were working twice as hard as usual against it to get anywhere!

Finally about 3pm we both felt like we should have been there already and we were starving. We stopped and sat on top of a stone wall and ate the sandwiches we had made the day prior and shared a tetra, individual to go box of wine in our Canada cups. Mmmm

Lunch in our bellies and our feet ‘rested’ we figured we had to have only a few km left in the day … or the guide book was wrong (for the first time ever) and this day was way more than 30km it said it was.

We had been sure for the last hour or more that the coast was just around the corner or just over the next hill. It wasn’t! But now for sure it had to be, had to be – my feet hurt lol. Well it was! Within minutes of leaving our lunch time wall, we could see the coast! Yahoo!

In just a couple kms we were checked into the lovely Albergue Da Costa with the above view, had our feet up and were checking in with family on our safe arrival. Wow what a place.

Later that evening we ventured down to the water’s edge to see the church, Camino milestone maker, and lighthouse. Below are some pics showing you just how beautiful it really all was. If you follow me on Instagram (@brandedavison) I also put up a 360video.

We wrapped up the evening with some eats … we thought we ordered pork chops with chips and we got pork n chips of sorts. Weird but so yummy! Like meat poutine without cheese and gravy – ok so not really like poutine at all. But yummers all the same.

Today we are off to bus and train to Vigo, Spain where we begin our Camino de Portuguese, Coastal Route tomorrow.

Buen Camino!
Brande

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Finished (Again) In Finisterre

Yahoo, yesterday we completed another Camino here in Spain.

The Camino Finisterre – 86kms from Santiago de Compestela to Finisterre, the kilometer 0 marker of all the Caminos! A sort of epic moment for us for sure and for the many other pilgrims taking selfies with the 0 marker!

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We started our day in a very casual fashion. With just 20km or so to cover to our destination we had loads of time. We only had one roomie in our hostel room and laid about until she exited – then we had the place to ourselves to get ready for the day! I laid in bed longer than usual to be honest enjoying the view from my comfy pillow – aka the fog. The place we stayed had clean, wonderful duvets on the bed and we have not experienced a real blanket in weeks!

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At the late hour of 1030 with a cafe con leche in our systems and some toast and jam, we left the beautiful coastal city of Cee to make our way not Finisterre. We got a bit distracted by the next city of Corcubion however …

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Ok for real on our way, we hit a darn hill first thing and by hill I mean hill like crazy hill. Like never ending, hamstring torture hill. I was racing a snail basically and we were sweaty as all heck in the 97% humidity by the top!

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Ok hill of hell out of the way, we were really-really ready to make our way to Finisterre. While it was foggy and humid and a bit misty we never did have to put on our waterproofs. Here are some highlights of the 20km:

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Wow we made it to Finisterre – we checked into outer new home and then made our way another 2+km to the end of all Camino’s at the Finisterre or Faro lighthouse! Here are some highlights of that highway path and lighthouse:

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We headed back down the hill to Finisterre and found the muncipal Albergue to get our next Pilgrim’s certificate:

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The day wrapped up with a celebration with pimientos de pardon (deep fried jalapeño peppers with delicious rock salt) as our local treat, potatoes cause we burnt enough calories and why wouldn’t eat some, and shrimp as we are now on the coast. Chased with a local bottle of white to top things off!

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This morning, we are about to leave our Finisterre humble home, Albergue Finistellae, to head out on a big walk today. 28km to the Muxia coast which many people consider the other ‘finish line’ of the Camino.

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We will check back in 28km! Buen Camino!
Brande

We See the Sea in Cee

Yesterday, Lana and I were back at it – moving along the Camino by our own two (well four) tired but happy to be on the trail feet.

We walked from Oliveroa to Cee. A go of 19kms or 30,465 Fitbit steps in a little less than 4hours. We had the pleasure (tongue in cheek) of either mist, rain or just plain old sogginess all day. It was our first day on the Camino where we had to wear waterproofs for the full walk. We have been at this Camino thing now for a couple weeks so that’s not too bad! No complaints.

We were up this morning at our usual time of about 7am with the rest of the hostel crew in our room of 12 near full bunk beds.

I was feeling more rested than the days prior thanks to my headphones that play literally the sound of a big electric fan running on repeat. White noise magic! Lana was a little less rested. A pilgrim in the bunk next to us was sawing logs like no one’s business. I turned up my white noise volume and Lana tuned him out – snoring not the problem. Turns out another pilgrim could not tune out the snoring and proceeded to snap loudly or clap from across the room trying to get the snorer to wake. But instead of waking the snorer actually just woke everyone else up. Not sure where they read that the snap/clap technique was a thing – cause it sure was not. You can tune out a consistent snore but not someone snapping and clapping loudly in small room at midnight. Too funny (well it is now, it was not late last night).

Any who, we were up and ready for our soggy day by 8 or so and enjoying breakfast (coffee, toast and bananas) in the cafe of our albergue. By 920 we had done our good morning social media stuff and we hit the trail. See ya later Casa Loncho of Oliveroa.

Boots on, packs covered, and waterproof jackets on we set out. We had pre-made some sandwiches for lunch but it looked like the sogginess of the day was going to prevent the vision of a picnic we had in mind. We threw them in my pack anyway of course and hoped for the best!

We were quickly out of our village and walking on a forest gravel road of sorts – up, down, across and up another river valley. The rain prevented much of a view and the fog hid the row of massive wind turbines that dot the ridge of the hills.

At the 4 or 5km mark we walked through the last couple of villages we would see before starting a barren stretch of approximately 12kms into Cee.

At one of these villages we learned about the ferocious Vakner said to haunt the woods we would be walking through – that’s great to know!? Where is my bear/Vakner spray? Do you act big with a Vakner like you would with a cougar? Or make loud noise and back away like a Bear? There was no Vakner tips in the guidebook.

With no reason to delay (besides being mangled by a Vakner) we got right to the barren stretch – it was foggy, humid, raining or misting (similar to a Scottish like mist) the whole time. We had our hoods up which makes it really difficult to have a conversation. So we just got up business!

While I couldn’t have my camera (aka iPhone) out much due to the rain, I was able to snap a few pics. The landscape was just awesome even in the rain. I can’t imagine how great it would look on a sunny day!

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Before long we were at the ‘distinct decent’ section that was described in our guide book. A long, big toe punishing hill that when over means you are in Cee.

Lana and I did an assortment of jogging, switchback, long stride and short stride hiking techniques to get down the hill while keeping our toes intact. Lana felt the jogging was her best bet and would often be 20-30 feet in front of me jogging almost out of sight in the thick fog. If she didn’t have her lime green cover on her backpack I am not sure I would have seen her at all. Seems the Vakner does not like jogging, so we not only got down the hill in great time and we also kept the beast at bay. Win, win!

All of a sudden we saw a road, some houses m, and if you squinted hard enough you could also see the sea in the distance. We had made it to Cee on the Sea!

We found our humble new home, Albergue Tequeron at the beginning of town and just a couple blocks from the harbour and a bunch of great cafes and checked in. The hostel lady greeted us with tea and cookies! Perfect after such a soggy day!

We were finally in a dry place. So decided to have that pre-made sandwich picnic we had planned for a sunny afternoon instead in our rain roof hostel terrace!

After that there wasn’t too much to do besides hang our stuff to dry, shower of the muddy mess that was on our legs (clearly kicked up by our amazing speed and agility on the muddy trail) and check our Cee from under the hoods of our rain jackets!

Well that ended up being a sit in a great pub and journaling, playing Camino-grams (a travelling version of Scrabble / Bananagrams of sorts that I made with paper and stamps before leaving home – too keep the weight down) and seeing what is happening in the world on iPad and iPhone. We love evenings like this!

We are up and at it again this morning with a walk to what is called Mile 0 of the Camino in Finisterre about 20km away. The forecast is 30% rain and 97% humidity… aka soggy but smiling!

Buen Camino!
Brande

Loncho, No Poncho

Yesterday was a ‘get out of jail for free’ day on our Camino to Finisterre / Muxia, Spain …

What is that? Well, before leaving Canada, Lana and I agreed we each get one ‘get out of jail for free’ day. Basically we each get one day where we can say “neither of us walks tomorrow, we get to our planned destination together but not solely by our feet”. Lana played her card yesterday and so today instead of walking the 33km from Negreria to Oliveroa, we bussed from Negreria to Baines and walked just 8km to Oliveroa.

As of tomorrow we are on the coast when we walk which is something we are both super excited about. The most excited about of all things in the pilgrimage. So to give Lana’s feet the best chance at being able to walk the costal days, skipping one last and very long land lubber walk was in order. I am sad not to walk but my body is not complaining about the break and we made the day a great one in usual Lana and Brande fashion.

Truth be told, I have been plagued with bug bites every day that are swollen, sore and itchy and heat rash on my feet and some kind of blistering rash on my ankle. So perhaps everything happens just as it should on the Camino and this ‘get out of jail free’ card could have also been mine to play.

So here was our yesterday …

At 9am this morning we left our humble little home in Negreria, Albergue Alcerin. The owner was just the most helpful fellow ever with directions and bags and everything. He saw Lana shiver and immediately showed her where the extra blankets were and turned on the heat – the rest of us suffered but Lana was finally warm! This morning we woke to find all the power out, he was quickly on top of it and so apologetic. Definitely a great hostel in Negs.

We made our way to the bus stop just a couple blocks away and waiting for the bus that comes ‘about 9,930 or 10’ to spirit us to Baines. We were not the only pilgrims waiting – a 33km day is a tough one especially with a full pack and he forecast of rain, rain and rain.

About 30mins later we were dropped off in a baby road side village of Baines. We were pleasantly surprised to find a pharmacy (more blister bandaids for Lana, more bug stuff for me) and a little supermarket (a litre of wine in a Tetra pack – lighter than a bottle – and some tomato sauce for our pasta dinner). We also found a little cafe and accidentally had a yummy cafe con leche before heading out of town.

While walking we giggled at the weird prices here in Spain. An amazing coffee is 1.50 euros each (and came with free breakfast tapas), our 30 bus ride was 2.95 euros each but somehow a litre of wine and a container of pasta sauce was only 1.95 euros. We don’t have to understand to appreciate the approx 2 euros it would cost each of us for our homemade dinner tonight at the hostel when you add up all the ingredients. Yahoo deals!

The 8km walk was uneventful and unexciting – well the only 8km part was exciting for our bodies! It was along a secondary highway so we had to step into the ditch area a few times when big trucks and tractors passed but other than that just walk till yah get there.

We arrived at Casa Loncho around 1pm and of course carried on our tradition of toasting the day with a yummy cervaza con limon (beer with lemon cordial in it – a Spanish Radler of sorts) and some patatas fritas!

The rest of the day was quite literally spent, soaking up the sun, relaxing, journaling, laughing at our pics and adventure to date – sitting outside the pub at our hostel. We were told rain but heck no – it was 20C and awesome!

Around 5pm we ventured to the ‘kitchen’ the hostel makes available for pilgrims … aka mouse house. Oh yes, a wee mouse kept poking his head out at us wondering when we would leave so he could eat up our crumbs. Cute and gross haha

We made ourselves a penne, tomato sauce, fried garlic and chorizo sausage dinner with some baguette and white wine – all for a well spent 5euros (hey Shar that is the best 5bucks I ever spent!)

After dinner we took a little walk to take some pics of the local area.

Then it was showers, get our stuff ready for our 21km walk to Cee this morning – and for me catching up on some journaling and sketching.

We are now stepping out the door on a very rainy day. Check in from Cee!

Buen Camino
Brande

Camino Numero 2 Begins

Yesterday we started our second Camino!

Now that we have our pilgrim’s certificate for the Camino Frances into Santiago – what better way to celebrate than doing another Camino out of Santiago.

So we started the Camino Finisterre / Muxia with our first day walking from the Santiago Cathedral to Negreria about 22km away yesterday. This Camino will finish on the coast instead of a cathedral. It is much shorter at just 116km or about 5 days walking than the Camino Frances which must be 100km by foot but can be as much as 800km (we did 235km).

Full disclosure – we look super tired in this photo! We had an awful sleep. Our fellow hostel peeps were up at all hours and the sound from the plaza outside was loud well into the night too – many people were done their Camino’s and on they way home the next day, so there were in full celebration mode. Very few are as outlandish (like less than 10%) as us and decide to keep on keeping on out to the coast another 100+km.

We stopped for breaky before even leaving Santiago and I will admit I didn’t stop at one cafe con leche yesterday morning. I had to have 2 right out of the gate … to get out of the gate! We also enjoyed some eggs and bacon which were especially tasty now that we had a secret stash of pepper in my back pack. Spaniards use salt only, maybe paprika it seems. Pepper is hard to find and when we did find it, it became a worthy enough item for carrying in my pack everyday!

After breakfast around 11am we started the Camino, here are some sights from our walk out of Santiago and before our afternoon break ….

The pre-break morning ended with a 2.8km climb up and out of one village and into another on first gravel or forest track then asphalt road. We did a little experiment to see how we would come out of from such a hill with a little pre and post hill selfie photo shoot. In the following order check out our pre-hill selfie, pics of the hill which does not do justice to just how steep this sucker really was, and post-hill selfie.

Why yes that post-hill selfie includes a vino blanco! After a hill like that we deserved a break and stopped in at a cafe called Poncho in the village of Transmonte. A wee, totally cute little cafe just 8km from our destination!

After a great rest of wine and chocolate (we read in a guidebook you should eat high energy food like chocolate on breaks – we take the guide books very seriously!), we headed out to finish our day and spend the evening in Negreria. I transition from socks to compressions again for this last stage. Helps the feet and looks quite fashionable!

Our final 8km into our town for the night was a great walk. We passed through a small village Ponte Maceira with a medieval bridge that was very cool.

We saw a few other interesting sights as we completed our walk for the day.

We arrived our next home Alcerin Albergue at around 400 ready for a nice evening of journaling, wine and pizza!

Off to Oliveroa now, just 33km away!

Brande

In Line for Santiago

Yesterday we made it to Santiago and were given these awesome bits of paper that prove we are pilgrims! Pilgrim!! Ok we already knew by the dust, sweat and blisters we had that status but something ‘official’ made it much more real somehow!

Our day began around 830am yesterday after alone, last morning – we had the hostel room all to our selves and that is such a novelty we couldn’t resist enjoying it. Most of the the pilgrims left before 6am to get to Santiago for the noon Mass in English, but walking 2 hours in the pitch back is not my idea of a good time. We also needed a bit of time on wifi so before we left we chilled in the hostel living room sipping instant coffee (well sugar, fake cream and only some coffee from the taste of it) for a vending machine. We would need a real coffee room to replace this taste from memory.

On our way we were pleasantly surprised that it had poured rain most of the night – everything was fresh and the chances it was going to rain on us decreased. We expected a lot of pilgrims this final day but there was a lot fewer than most days. It’s funny how we hate too many pilgrims on ‘our path’ but also want just enough to confirm we are going the right direction.

Our way out of town was delayed by a brief photo shoot with our pilgrimages’s spirit animal – the snail.

Before stopping for our first coffee (real coffee made by humans not machine), we had some great path to cover.

Just before 10am and at about 3.4km we were ready for our coffee and a little warm up – while not as cold as the day before, the air had a bit of a bite and the clouds were keeping us pretty mindful that it could rain or mist, at least, any time. We had our shells and pack covers at the ready.

Leaving Cafe Amenal, we continued forward with some caffeine in our shuffle and started to feel like we were getting close now. The path started to provide lots of little photo opportunities for pilgrims and people were asking other people and groups to snap their pics, which wasn’t the case on the trail till today. Some people say the Camino should not include technology, but I say let’s all remember it’s ‘the Way, your Way’. And as a scrapbooker there is no way I could leave my camera (aka phone) at home!

We stopped again around lunch (at about 9.5km into our 22km day) for a glass of wine and to eat the amazing sandwiches we had prepared the night prior. We had found a salad (quite literally) of the local Arzua cheese which is amazing creamy goodness – so added some meat and baguette for an awesome lunch!

Our timing was impeccable – while we were inside at Casa de Amancio it poured rain hard, like I mean buckets of rain, for about 20mins and then didn’t rain again for the rest of the day. Not sure how but my wine and sandwich tasted even better watching the rain cascade off the glass roof that I was under!

We continued on our way that afternoon, again seeing many more pilgrim associated monuments and structures than noticed in prior days.

Coming into Santiago on sore feet and walking through a regular, old city with the cathedral almost completely hidden by scaffolding and sheets was a bit anticlimactic. We knew this would be what to expect but you secretly wish for maybe a parade or a banner or a marching band least?

We snapped a few pics and then went and got on the 2hours + line up to get our pilgrim’s certificate. It was cold and our feet were sore and wow that line barely moved and no one got the ‘personal space is important’ memo but we happy to be there.

Finally with our pilgrim certificate in hand, and a need to get off here barking dogs we paused for a quick photo shoot and heading to our albergue for the night.

While relaxing in our room we enjoyed an awesome view of the cathedral from our window and some refreshments and snacks. It feels so good to arrive at your next home for the night – so we never rush the getting our bags sorted and beds set up process.



At around 730 we headed out to see the old city that surrounds the famous Santiago cathedral – what a beautiful place. To give our feet a break we decided to take a total tourist trap train around the city. Some good info and we were totally laughing at ourselves the whole time.



After our Chu-Chu ride about the city, it was after 9pm and we were starving for supper – oddly this is the time everyone eats supper in Spain so the restaurants were fun and busy. We found a great place without too long of a wait and enjoyed an amazing pilgrim’s meal!

So full and so tired, we heading back to our albergue, The Last Stamp, for a good night’s sleep.

Well the good night’ sleep didn’t exactly pan out, but we are up and at em again this morning anyway – this gal is drinking two coffees before we even hit the road! So tired but still so happy to be here.

Today we start our next Camino – 5 days to Fisterre and Muxia (the Spanish coast)!

Buen Camino!
Brande

Pedrouzo Please

Yesterday was our easiest day yet on the trail, from Arzua to Pedrouzo in about 20km and just under 30,000 FitBit steps.

We had all day and not much trail to cover so we took our time and just enjoyed every bit of the Way.

Up at 630am when our hostel roomies started packing up their gear. How they got up so early after going to bed (aka turning out the light) at midnight in our room, will never know. I am a pumpkin by 9am and dog tired when I wake these days. These other pilgrims have figured something out I haven’t yet – was there a memo? Regardless I was up and excited to say goodbye to our hostel and hello to the trail!

We were on the path by a few mins after 8am and pleasantly surprised to see we had clear skies and a beautiful full moon still in view before the sun broke the horizon. Wow!


We couldn’t resist a village side stand selling bananas and other fresh fruit first thing in the morning to tide us over to our first coffee. Sometimes things are just too cute and perfect to pass up!

As the path climbed up those clear skies turned into either fog or maybe we were actually walking in a cloud – not sure which. In any case the fogginess made it hard to see much beyond the next 20-30 steps on the trail and dropped the temp from the expected 17C in the morning to 8C. We were freezing but it was beautiful so we loved it.


Around 1015am At the first awesome cafe we saw Casa Calzada in A Calzada (approx 9.4 km into the day) we popped in for our breakfast. It was only outside seating so we were super cold but a hot cafe con leche and breakfast tastes delicious no matter where and how! Mmmm



We didn’t daly to long. We were up and on the trail as soon as we finished, but wow it was cold. Now our fingers were cold and we were talking about how we will want this temp back when the cloud and fog does clear and we are roasting all afternoon.

Still chilled and in no rush, we decided another coffee was in order to chase the chills away. At Lino Cafe and just 1.5km later we had another coffee. Both of us cradling the cup like a heating pad for our fingers. We found it particularly amusing that the napkins in this second cafe featured a snail cartoon – perfect, today was a snail day for us for sure!


Finally warmer inside and more alert with 2 coffees in us, we were strolling with a spring in our step. In fact, we walked right though the fog lifting and the sun coming out and right into Pedrouzo arriving at about 130pm.

Before heading to the hostel to check in we stopped to toast a great day with our first Sangria this region boasts. We found an amazing cafe called Taste the Way! What a place, offers food and drink from all the regions of the Camino – we loved it. Oh and wow Sangria here is like sweet grape juice – doesn’t taste a thing like wine like it does at home. But we both know it is and some Brandy so we kept it to one glass or these wobbly legs would be eve wobblier.

We also added the Cheeses of the Way to our celebration and ate cheese, apples, nuts, rustic bread and Sangria for the afternoon. Delicious!


The rest of the day was spent sitting in the sun relaxing, journaling, and just enjoying not walking. Here are a few highlights from our afternoon and evening …

We went back to The Taste of the Way for dinner and enjoyed an awesome pilgrim’s meal with some local food choices. I could not resist trying the backed Scallop the Camino Way – the scallop shell is the symbol of the Camino. Delicious! Bread crumbs, cheese, ham and scallop.

Well that was yesterday and now we are off to begin today’s walk to Santiago, another pleasant 20km. For many people this is the end, for us it’s the end of this Camino St Frances and the start of our Camino Finisterre/Muxia!

Buen Camino!
Brande

Santiago Shuffle

Boom baby! Longest day yet on the Camino complete with smiles and jokes still in play! We walked from Palas de Rei to Arzua yesterday – a mere 29.4km or 44,635 Fitbit steps over 8hours that may or may not have included a beer / wine and French fries stop!

The day began at about 7am as our hostel came to life with all the pilgrims excited or nervous perhaps to get their day started! We are close to Santiago now with most finishing within the day and you can feel a difference in the energy.

After leaving our extra duffel with the heavy stuff in the designated mochilla (backpack) pick up spot we hit the path. It was get it a ride to Arzua – we were walking it.

There was a local restaurant that bragged of their churros and chocolate (a Spanish breakfast treat) that I was keen to give a try. Well turns out they didn’t have any yesterday morning. Boo! So we moved on to another cafe – but my churro hunt continues!

We ended up in La Pulperia Cafe / Bar just blocks away and loved it. The bartender and waiter were high energy and they had the most amazing and massive Croissant Napoletana (aka chocolate croissant) and steaming hot cafe con leche for us! We added a banana to make it healthy of course.

With a coffee and chocolate spring in our step we headed out of town and towards our destination of Arzua!

The path was great today – easy under foot as the guidebook said with lots of short ups and downs to keep the muscles limber. It was a bit cloudy in the morning but warm when the wind was down, so pretty perfect walking weather. Here are some highlights pre-afternoon break:

We were delayed slightly by a wee farmer moving his cow crew from one pasture to another … seems a regular occurrence based on this happening two days in a row and the vast amount of dried ‘stuff’ on the path!

Oh and again delayed by an impromptu and of course very important photo shoot …

Finally at about 1230pm and 20km in we hit an awesome cafe called El Aleman in Boente. It was a great little place with lots of pilgrims and energy and the coldest, best tasting beer and vino blanco (white wine) we ever had – not to mention the fries!

After some proactive foot care and some much needed sunscreen for me (wow the sun is baking hot here), the afternoon continued with some great sights and a few tough slogs as the kms started to add up and the temp kicked it up a notch!


By 430 we were at our great hostel Via Lactea in Arzua and getting freshened up for dinner out. We threw some laundry in so had to chill at a bar across the street while we waited for the washer to complete (hard life I know!) and couldn’t resist another photo shoot and to try the local Arzua cheese!


One of my favourite things to watch during our post walk pint is the Santiago Shuffle as we have named it … the way pilgrims walk, shuffle, limp, drag their bodies about for an evening meal after they have showered and start to feel just how sore they and their feet are from the say’s walk. Makes my Santiago Shuffle a little less noticeable or at least normal! Haha

Once the laundry was hung to dry, we headed out to find some supper. Lead astray by the tourist information guy, we added a couple extra kms to our day before finding Le Churreria for our interesting pilgrim’s supper!

We started with bread and white wine, then you pick a first plate or starter. I chose Arroz de Cubana (which we now know means rice with tomato sauce, 2 fried eggs and some miniature hotdogs) and the dried ribs and chips for plate 2 or the main course. Lana started with lasagna and then finished with spicy pork and chips. We both got cheesecake and coffee too, and a bottle of wine (to share). The food was interesting if not good and way too after such a hot and long day – we were both tired and looking forward to our beds truth be told.

Back at our humble abode we discovered this hostel was not as good as we hoped. There are only half walls between each of the rooms and the hallway – do any pilgrim going to the bathroom, talking, snoring, laughing or even rolling over in the squeaky wooden bunk beds was in stereo. Yikes. We we both up till 11 which was a couple hours later than usual for us pilgrims and up early this morning due to the cacophony of alarms and backpack sounds that prevented sleep beyond 5am-ish.

The life of a pilgrim is an interesting one – you go with the flow mostly but do create your own when you can. So this morning we are up with the flow but will take our steps, our Way today and that hopefully includes chocolate and churros!

We will check in from Pedrouzo in 20km!

Buen Camino!

Brande

More and More

Well there you have it – another day on the Camino complete here in Spain.

An easy stroll (as per the guidebook) from Portomarin to Palais de Rei in just 24.6km (39,984 FitBit steps) in about 5hrs.

Leaving the hostel at 8am after a beyond big and humid and horrible sleep – we began the day with an amazing eggs and bacon breakfast complimented with a much needed coffee.

The hostel was great, don’t get me wrong – the humid hell of the room was sort of out their control. Thee was a dog and a rooster up the street making a racket all night and one of our other 6 roomies shut the window turning the place into a sauna within an hour. Yuck. The hostel owner was a riot – quite the busy body with his introductions to the house rules, demonstrations of everything including how the plug-ins work, and his need to have us add the dates to all the stamps in our pilgrim’s credential before he would stamp it for us! Any other day this would have humoured us – as it was we were standing sweating with heavy packs on in the sauna hostel and he needed to get on with it lol

Our hostel:

Our breakfast:

At about 845am, the boots hit the trail with a number of small villages dotting the route ahead. This means you don’t have to carry much water and food is easy to find so you don’t need to carry much of that either – yahoo less to carry, is less weight in the pack, is happy feet!

The trail in the morning was a long uphill then quite a bit of time in the cold, cold wind at a higher elevation. By the look of the sky and bite of the wind, I was sure it was going to rain, but the Yahoo Weather App was right again – no rain. Yahoo!

Beyond the cold, the trail was not too exciting. Sadly, it was a lot of walking beside the main highway and among the crowds of pilgrims.

We have for sure noticed a couple things in the last 2 days as we near ‘the end’ in Santiago … there are more and more pilgrims and more and more garbage on the trail and more and more pilgrim graffiti. I am not impressed with any of this of course but it is the Way, not my Way so I keep on walking and try not to judge those around me for dropping their KitKat wrappers or writing ‘see you in Santiago, Bill’ on Camino way markers. Hmmm

Trail highlights of the morning:

By afternoon the clouds had blown over but the pilgrim crowds were still pretty thick – it was far and few between that there was a gap in the trickle of other walkers. Neat to notice more people walking to Santiago with their dogs, and a few full out long distance runners to Santiago too.

Some highlight from the afternoon:

At about km 17 or so, a cafe con leche was in order and some proactive foot love. The dust of the path was getting my sweaty feet gritty, so some glide was needed before grit turned to rub which turns to blister. A switch over from running socks to compression socks also helped keep the dogs from barking too loud.

Oh and I met a friend too! Yesterday it was a wee kitty and today … a chicken.

Before resuming the path, a traffic jam had to clear up .so I took my time (waiting for the crowd/herd to clear and the patties to dry a little on the road before I was the one to step in it) ….

By 3pm we were toasting another awesome day from a sunny pub in the village square of Palas de Rei, listening to church bells, and making decisions about what to have for dinner.

Our evening ended with a bit of excitement – we were getting ready to tuck into bed when our hostel last night (Albergue Castro) advised we were given the wrong beds. So in pajamas, we packed our gear and moved down a few floors. To a much smaller room actually which I love! Only 4 beds not 6 as we had been in, which means only 3 potential people to keep me up snoring all night instead of 5. On the Camino these are the little things you celebrate!

At least we got beds at Albergue Castro, our original booking at Albergue San Marcos was a bust. They were very rude about me not calling to confirm the day before and basically kicked me out saying ‘goodby, good bye’ when I tried to check in. Some nice lady heard this and said they paid for 6 beds but now only need 4 and we could have the other 2. The San Marcos meanie said no and some other things I couldn’t translate and again said to me ‘good bye’ (a word she clearly knows in English as she uses it a lot). Well in Camino fashion this means we were not meant to stay there, so we found the place we should – Albergue Castro, and we had a great sleeps. Thanks very much San Marcos grumpy lady.

Ok off to Arzua – just a quick 29km away in 24C clears skies and thank goodness humidly below 50%. We will check in later.

Beun Camino!
Brande

Taxi, Train, Walk

Yesterday Lana and I got back to walking the Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James) after a couple of amazing sight seeing days.

We were up before the crack of dawn (not joking, it was still dark outside) for a 5am train from Leon to Sarria where we would resume our pilgrimage. The train ride was 4hrs but in our first class seats where you could near totally recline, were provided with water, sleep masks, blankets and ear plugs we were only awake for about an hour of it. If only our flights to France and home from Portugal would be so comfortable!!

Arriving in Sarria we adjusted our packs, I transitioned from flip flops to sneakers (lots of asphalt roads in our walk today) and then we made our way to the Monastery of Magdalena about a km away. Here we were leaving a duffel bag of our heavy stuff like toiletries for transport to the albergue we stayed in last night in Porto Marin.

Why? No joke, Lana’s feet are in a bad way. She is a blister bandaid (compeed) advert! We are pulling all the stops to get her to a place where she can walk and enjoy it and that means diff shoes, less weight, compression socks, you name it. When every single step hurts, everyday is absolutely no fun. Usually Lana and I are total geeks together with jokes and antics – and sore feet make that really tough to be. So we are getting things sorted! We have weeks left to walk and we will be laughing till we cry again soon!

Well there was a wee mess up with the transport company. After a few telephone conversations in my less than adequate Spanish – we finally had the bag picked up at 11am. Instead of 930am as planned. Almost a couple of hours later than we wanted but hey we both had packs pounds lighter than before and we were ready for an awesome day and our first, much delayed cafe con leche in 3.7km in the next village of Balderado.

After that first coffee – we were spiced right up and getting silly already!

The day continued with walk and walk and walk on really easy paths and only some uphill but some lengthy downhill that timers the big toes ringing. It was over 30 degrees and we were roasting but loving it.

Much of what we walked though in the morning at least was farm land, and in this heat well it smells worse than you can imagine – we had a ready solution.

We pulled into a baby cafe about half way through the day for the yummiest sandwiches and the biggest coffee we have had yet! Oh and we met a new friend, wee gato. He very much loved the meat on our sandwiches.

The afternoon was well full of walking – imagine that. At about 22km we arrived in PortoMarin, a very small village organised around the main square and church (pretty standard for Europe).

We toasted the end of a great day, and enjoyed the local traditional fare – some Galicia broth soup (leeks, chick peas and potatoes) followed by some pulpos (octopus) and potatoes for the main course. Then some local desserts a flan (like our creme caramel) and a Santiago tart (chewy, thin cake). It was interesting and actually quite tasty but I don’t think I need to order it again.

Off to Palais de Rei this morning!

Beun Camino
Brande