A Travellerspoint blog

March 2018

Pinhao on the Rio Douro


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Here I am on the Rio Douro...

Pinhao on the Rio Douro, Portugal after the Camino

Pinhao on the Rio Douro, Portugal after the Camino

Posted by Deb Godley 18:23 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

Day 36, Santiago de Compostela


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

As planned, and so Steve would have the full experience, we met up with Kim and Vittoria at 6:30, before sunrise. We used headlamps, although as usual, I held mine in my hand, having discovered that bugs are attracted to light - so, why would I want it close to my face? I generously shared my light with Steve.

It was nice to be able to start out with friends, but we were slower. K&V were soon ahead, but very nicely waited for us at the first bar in order to have breakfast together. We continued on, stopping every 5 km for a rest and drink while K&V pulled further ahead - we wouldn't see them again until later at mass.

At Monte del Gozo, we took a short detour through a construction area to see the large statue and the pilgrims pointed toward the first view of the cathedral in Santiago, still about 5km away. We found shoes that pilgrims had left behind, some new-looking; others with holes cut in the toe area to accommodate blisters or swollen big toes and loose toenails; and still others looking very well worn.

The construction, when completed will result in a revised camino pathway to pass close to these statues, which we think were moved further up the hill to improve the cathedral view, somewhat blocked by new housing.

It was hard not to speed up as we neared Santiago and my goal of the last 5 weeks, stopping to take pictures at the welcome sign. And then, finally, we arrived! After an emotional hug and sone required hurray! pics, I entered the cathedral through the holy door (spelled "holly door" on some signage :) and followed the pilgrim tradition of hugging the saint from behind (an action fully viewable by participants at mass) and praying for a moment at the tomb of Saint James (Santiago).

Afterwards, we went around the corner to receive my official compostela asserting that I had walked with an appropriate frame of mind and heart, and the confirmation of the distance walked, which is officially 775km from SJPP.

With the long line-ups at these pilgrim rituals, there was only time to quickly check into the hotel (the same one where Steve had stayed and which was storing our luggage) a quick change to non-Camino clothes (!) and find a seat in the cathedral for mass. Wirh the reported popularity of this service, we arrived just after 5 for the 7:30 mass, saving seats for Paul (yes, Paul from before Leon, who arrived 3 days ahead of me having walked up to 40 km per day), Kim & Vittoria. We probably could have arrived at 6, but we had really good seats and were happy to be able to sit with the group.

The mass began with a very personable nun teaching the congregation the sung responses. Even without understanding a word she said, we could see she would be a fun person to get to know and her singing voice was lovely, very melodic.

After communion, the purple-robed guys (not sure if that's their official name), began to manipulate the large incense burner, the botafumeiro) with the rope pulley system. It was an incredible spectacle, swinging from rafter to rafter. Fantastic! Apparently, this is the largest incence burner in the world that is swung in this way.

After mass, the five of us went to a bar that had been recommended to Kim. The bar was lovely, in a very nice garden, but served only popcorn for food. So, promising to return later, Kim was given a recommendation for a nearby restaurant. It turned out to be a Michelin-recommended restaurant and was an excellent choice for a celebratory meal after our great adventure.

Here are some pics of the food. It's not an error, that was delicious roast lamb. We ordered four different desserts (one of each on the menu) to share between us. Excellent meal, great company, dark beer, and Steve finally next to me - what more could I want?

We said goodbye to Paul after dinner - he will most certainly take his wife to dinner there once she arrives - and returned to the garden bar for a final drink.

What a fantastic, amazing day! And no setting the alarm tonight!

Selfie in the morning

Selfie in the morning

Pilgrims pointing to the Cathedral

Pilgrims pointing to the Cathedral

Large statue at Monte del Gozo

Large statue at Monte del Gozo

Shoes left at the foot of the statue

Shoes left at the foot of the statue

Entering the city

Entering the city

Arrival at last

Arrival at last

Selfie in front of the Cathedral

Selfie in front of the Cathedral

Holy Door arch carving

Holy Door arch carving

Cathedral altar

Cathedral altar

Guys pulling the ropes for the Botafumeiro

Guys pulling the ropes for the Botafumeiro

Botafumeiro swinging

Botafumeiro swinging

Roast lamb at the Michelin-recommended restaurant

Roast lamb at the Michelin-recommended restaurant

One of the five desserts

One of the five desserts

Posted by Deb Godley 18:11 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Day 35, O Pedrouzo


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Well, last night was my last albergue and it was a great way to finish. Kim, Vittoria and I left at 6:30 am as usual and walked the 12 or so km to A Salceda, arriving at 10:30 am. We had some food and drink together and then had a photo taken before they left to walk on and I stayed to wait for Steve's bus. They were walking to O Pedrouzo and our pension was in A Rua, 2 km earlier. As such, we didn't expect to see them again until Santiago.

I knew he'd arrived because he emailed me from each airport as well as from Santiago the night before. The bar advised that the bus would arrive at 11:30 and it was right on time, although confused me was watching for it in the wrong direction.

Steve & I started out and walked toward A Rua. The first pilgrim we met said he was really happy to see Steve because Steve was finally someone even whiter than him, not having had the sun exposure yet.

When we arrived in A Rua, we found no pension and discovered it was actually in O Pedrouzo. As soon as we settled, we immediately emailed K&V to arrange a meet. Excellent!

They'd had a great lunch, but the bar was no longer serving food, so we moved to another restaurant around the corner, and also happily away from the leaf blower we'd been shouting over.

Steve had grilled garlic prawns, sizzling as they arrived at the table and I had a great goat cheese salad. Our food was so good, we all agreed to come back to the same restaurant later, K&V for dinner and Steve & I for dessert at 8pm. Here's a pic of us at the restaurant.

The pension was nice - our own bathroom with towels - what a treat. All set to start before dawn tomorrow for the final day's walk into Santiago.

Last picture before we parted at Salceda

Last picture before we parted at Salceda

Very common corn storage

Very common corn storage

Church in O Pedrouzo

Church in O Pedrouzo

With Kim, Vittoria at the restaurant

With Kim, Vittoria at the restaurant

Posted by Deb Godley 18:07 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Day 34, Ribadiso


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Stopped for a quick ice cream sandwich with Kim & Victoria. Kim, Kara (Michigan) and Alejandro were dancing the Macarena as we walked. Apparently, there's a video. Ah, the young.

This is a great albergue!

We are sitting with our feet in the cold water and having our beers. Having already had a shower where I could control the temperature and the shower stayed on until I turned it off! This is a luxury. There's also soap and paper towels in the bathroom. Amazing.

It was a bit of a climb and there were plenty of complaints, especially since we determined that an albergue with "great views of the countryside" would mean climbing for sure.

Well worth the climb, though. The view is great and I could sit here with my feet in the fountain all afternoon...and I just might. Already on the second 1906 Black Coupage. Very dark, very nice...

Shell arrow way-marker

Shell arrow way-marker

Stone bridge

Stone bridge

Kiwis growing at the rest stop, ripe in December

Kiwis growing at the rest stop, ripe in December

Me and my 1906 black

Me and my 1906 black

Vittoria, Kim at the albergue foot fountain

Vittoria, Kim at the albergue foot fountain

Posted by Deb Godley 18:03 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Day 33: Palas de Rey


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

I've just met Vittoria (Italy) and Kim (Netherlands et al) and we're sitting in a bar in Gonzar having breakfast. When you ask Kim where she's from, she asks "in which sense?" - she was born in Africa, has both Dutch and Australian passports and just moved from Brazil to Dublin.

Walking with Kim and Victoria. Kim works for Linked-in and Victoria is a lawyer. We've been chatting and exchanging recipes. Currently in line to order something to drink...

Kim & Victoria are planning on single rooms at a hostel, while I am staying in a 6-bed room in an albergue. I just had a great shower with a rain shower head (!)

I meeting them for lunch at 3. Here's a picture from the last rest stop.

At least two of my roommates here speak English, so that will be nice later.

More later. This looks like a nice little town.

I know, another church, but it was literally the only recommended see here. It's a big enough place to have a Museo or something, but only the church and some pilgrim shops to go with the farmacia and supermarcados. And lots of bars, of course.

I've been getting spoiled, I was going to complain that I can't charge my phone while lying on my bed, but this place even has soap and paper towels in the bathroom, a rare treat for an albergue, plus the afore mentioned rain shower head. Anyway, the bathroom is better than most, but I do like to lie in bed with the phone charging, rather than plug the phone in overnight by the door.

Had an enjoyable meal with Kim & Victoria, then we walked all over the central area, which didn't take long. We've agreed to meet at 6:30am for tomorrow's walk, and we may run into each other later.

I hadn't eaten since lunch at 3, so I ventured out looking for a snack and a nice place to sit outside. I found a small shop selling fabulous strawberries, so bought a bit of dark chocolate to eat with them. Yummy.

My fingers are red from the berries.

Kim, Vittoria, and I

Kim, Vittoria, and I

Our shadows

Our shadows

Church in Palaus del Rei

Church in Palaus del Rei

Inside the church

Inside the church

Red fingers

Red fingers

Posted by Deb Godley 17:54 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

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