Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Camino walking day 6

Again we had decided on an early start with the alarm going off at 6. Breakfast was available from 6 and was being provided by the cafe next door to our hotel. Actually, the hotel and the two eateries along from it appeared to be being run by the same people as they kept popping up at each one.

After the taping of feet and donning of boots it was out for breakfast. The staff serving us were very friendly and welcoming. Suitably set for the day it was a final pack, teeth, toilet and out the door.

There was an amusing notice in our bathroom. Can you decipher the meaning?

Having been warned to be careful crossing the main drag through town we were pleasantly surprised at how quiet it was. There were quite a few groups of pilgrims heading out of town ahead of us. The sun was just coming up as we were trooping through the last of the town.

Today we would reach our destination ... the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. We had also been warned that the distance indicators on the way markers would stop ahead of our arrival in Santiago. Knowing that many of the distance plates had been stolen from the markers we decided to take a photo of the first one we found ... as it could also have been the last!!!

Ripper ... less than 19kms to go!

We walked through some pretty country and cool, shaded forests. Some of the eucalyptus trees were mighty tall.

Here is an example of the many straight, tall trees we encountered
We made good time and took advantage of a couple of the cafes along the route to grab a drink. It is amazing just how many places there were and how many were open.

The track continued its ups and downs. There was hardly a level strip along the route but, by now, we were used to this.

Throughout our walk we had come across a couple of vans that were supporting groups of walkers. On our first day one of them managed to collect most of their group of walkers as Jen and I had walked on in the rain. The vans, one green and the other white, punctuated our walk for the whole 6 days. I wonder what would have happened if we had asked for a lift.

When we reached Lavacolla, the place where traditionally pilgrims washed themselves in the river (more like a creek!) before reaching Santiago de Compostela, we stopped to wash ourselves (well, our hands) in the water. At least we managed to clean ourselves each day and change our clothes. Many of the earlier pilgrims would have walked for months in the same clothes without bathing either.

Jen doing the ritual cleansing
The next point of interest was the small chapel of San Marcos and Monte do Gozo. The latter rise was the first place at which pilgrims saw the city of Santiago de Compostela.

The chapel of San Macros

The interior of the Chapel of San Marcos

New monument at the top of Monte de Gozo

View over Santiago de Compostela from Monte do Gozo
If we thought that it would be all downhill from Monte do Gozo we were in for a surprise as the terrain continued to bump up and down.

Once into Santiago the signs to follow changes. There was still the odd yellow arrow. There were also street signs on posts. In addition there were shell signs on the footpath.

We finally reached the Cathedral.

Where we were staying appeared to have disappeared. Once I managed to connect to the internet I tracked it down and realised that we had walk right passed the entrance as we were distracted by people being turned way from entering the cathedral through and exit only door.

Once at our hotel we collected our bags which were dutifully waiting for us near reception, retrieved the bag of dirty clothes and other stuff not required over the previous 6 days, dumped these in our room and headed out.

We dutifully lined up and visited the tomb of St James the Apostle whose relics are supposedly housed in the Cathedral.

While there is a no photo policy for the tomb of St James I was able to take a photo of the entrance to this part of the cathedral

Having completed the walk we went off insearch of the place that issues the certificates to pilgrims who comply with the minimum requirements for recognition. It was no easy feat but we did eventually find it so  we obtained our certificates. Yes, we both proudly hold certificates stating that we had walked 116km.

Jen having a celegratory drink

How often have we come across famous buildings and other object that are encased in scaffolding and plastic? The Cathedral in Santiago was no exception. The front facade is undergoing a facelift ...

Throughout the old part of the city we encountered musicians/buskers providing a variety of musically treats.

Indeed, after returning from dinner we were treated to a concert that wrafted into our open window.

We had a great view from our hotel window.

Jen looking out our window
All good things come to an end our our 6 day pilgrimage was no exception.

On our final day we walked 19.8km to get to the cathedral (and many more around the old town during the afternoon and evening). Our elevation gain was 745m with a loss of 810m (compared to the predicted 150m gain and 186m loss).

Apart from the first walking day the weather had been fine. The mornings were generally pleasantly cool with the temperatures rising throughout the day.

The places we stayed were good. The food was more than acceptable and some was excellent.

The natives were friendly and helpful and did their best to understand and help the non Spanish speaking tourists.

1 comment:

  1. Well done on finishing! I thought I had some messed up feet during our trip, but they were nowhere near as bad as Jen's looked.