Speaking of accommodation, there are several options one can choose from when walking/cycling the Camino. Hotels, hostels, and, of course, albergues. Note, however, that in some smaller villages, albergues are the only option available, sometimes only 1 or 2 of them to choose from (for example the village of Gonzar).
Albergues are an inseparable part of the true Camino experience. The socializing aspect is at its best there and for me the spirit of the journey can be predominantly felt there. Due to various reasons, some people choose other types of accommodation, but since I completely focused on albergues, I’d like to share some information with you and hopefully you will not have my confused expression when I first walked in an albergue and wondered how should things be done.
Continued from Part 1
There was some walking along the road (not my piece of cake for sure) but this time there was a sidewalk (on both sides!), so I didn’t mind. I was looking forward to the rapid climb I noticed on the map. It was so good not knowing what to expect the previous days. The pleasure of ignorance. Now, however, I was perfectly aware that it was 2 km at least and the thought was not really comforting.
We saw the guy on the horse again. He is taking it slowly, isn’t he? I would expect him to be twice as quick as we were, but instead he was moving roughly at our pace. The horse was not thrilled with the climb, either, I am almost sure of that.
After the hectic walk to Santiago the other day, setting off to Finisterre felt like a breath of fresh air and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The morning started in a perfectly relaxed mode, we pampered ourselves by sleeping until 8 o’clock and still were among the few people that left the albergue so early. To make things even better we decided to have a breakfast…about 5 meters after we walked out of the door. This is what I call a promising start of the day. We ordered hot chocolate and churros (this is like the ultimate combination, churro being a fried-dough crunchy pastry) and the energy levels hit the roof of the bar we were in, which in turn looked so authentic, I would not be surprised if it looked exactly the same way a few centuries ago.
Continued from Part 1.
We reached Santiago around noon and I was surprised how big the town actually was. We walked for a few kilometres before we reached the Cathedral, too late to see the the Botafumeiro though. The square in front of the cathedral was full with people – taking photos, laughing, sitting/lying on the ground, thinking, speaking, greeting, hugging. The cathedral itself was splendid in its style, details and size. Santiago was bursting with life – pilgrims, students (there is a university), tourists, locals. Very lively atmosphere, with gorgeous architecture and cozy, narrow streets. Lots of bars, restaurants, all sorts of places where you can sit and enjoy life. I was desperate to leave my rucksack somewhere, anywhere, change my clothes and soak in the sun. So much impatience! Probably that is why I had to wait a few more hours, lesson taught, whether learnt – still to be determined.
There it is – the day we were to reach Santiago de Compostela. Ahead of us were only about 22 km. – well deserved small walk after the last couple of days delivering more than 30 km. daily to our feet – interesting how people’s attitude to distance changes . Was I excited that I would finally reach it? Yes, but perhaps not to the extend some people do, simply because for me the end was Finisterre and watching the sun go down over the ocean. Nonetheless, I was really thrilled, curious and impatient to see the place which has been the destination point of pilgrimage for centuries.
So off we went…
Day 9 was one of those days which have not left a very memorable trace in my mind. But there should be days like that, just getting in the routine of walking, which isn’t bad at all. It was a flat, long walk (over 30 km…again) with grumpy weather but considering we had to reach Santiago de Compostela the next day (already?!), we preferred to walk more that day and treat ourselves with a pleasurable short walk for the last day.