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Day 24, San Martín del Camino


View Deb's Camino de Santiago de Compostela on Deb Godley's travel map.

Breakfast in the parador is spectacular. Starting with fruit, yogurt and muesli. Then I'll have bacon/sausages and eggs. Then there's pastries and desserts. Multiple types of juices. And they've just brought me hot water. Lovely. Really lovely. :)

After the fantastic breakfast, I turned right outside the Parador and immediately crossed the bridge onto the Camino route, which was a couple of km closer than most of the albergues, giving me the feeling of having a good start even though the breakfast made me later than usual.

After four km I reached La Virgen del Camino, a decision point that would impact today and tomorrow. There is an interesting, more remote alternative route that is part of the original Camino route. It is lesser used and takes you away from the busy road, so it is nicer. I was torn between the nicer experience and the risk that with so few pilgrims some facilities would be closed. What if I couldn't get food or a bed?

So, I decided to continue on the regular route. I'd already been told that this was now "winter season" because there are so few pilgrims. There certainly have been far fewer than I expected! Already some bars and albergues have been closed and, on top of that, it's Sunday when more places are closed anyway.

I decided that given the big breakfast, I would wait for my break, just stopping briefly to use a gas- station bathroom in La Virgen del Camino. It turned out that my planned break point had no bar; therefore no bathrooms. Eek. I had to walk 18 km (3.5 hrs) without a bathroom break.

The upside was that I met Marta from Madrid, who also spent a year living in Montreal. We walked the last 5 km together and just had a pilgrim's meal for lunch (salad with tuna; beef stew with fries, rice pudding, and white wine). Between the big breakfast and late lunch, I think I'm done eating for the day.

The albergue has an interesting bathroom/shower set up. The light is on a timer, so it turns off before you are finished whatever you're doing, resulting in showering mostly on the dark. Good thing I know where all my parts are and can wash in the dark!

If someone happens to come in while you're showering in the dark, they'll usually turn the light on, which is good and bad. Good to have light, but the shower stalls are almost completely clear and see-through, so not quite so nice to have company. At least the men's and women's showers are separate here.

Pictures: an iron cut-out of Santiago as a pilgrim with a shell; and a bell tower with nests in Vaverde de la Virgen. All the bell towers are similar with large birds' nests.

Another beautiful day, although a bit cooler < 30 degrees. My mosquito bites are swelling up just like they did last year in Milan. I've been using the leftover cream I bought in Milan, but the Italian cream isn't working on the Spanish bugs bites. I'll be looking for a farmacia in Astorga, which will be a bigger place than here. It only seems to be on my legs.

I'm going to see what is open in town (and I use the word 'town' very loosely here), now that siesta is over. Sometimes places open after siesta on Sundays, sometimes not.

Pilgrim iron cut out

Pilgrim iron cut out

Bird nests

Bird nests

Bug bites

Bug bites

Posted by Deb Godley 16:59 Archived in Spain

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