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.
We were equipped with a list with the albergues/hotels and bars on the way to Finisterre (some even with phone numbers), a new credential for this part (rather small compared to the old one – had place only for 16 stamps) and a black & white list with a relief map of the stages. All of these were provided generously for free by the Tourist office in Santiago and we were ready to walk the 22 km to Negreira.
So instead of aiming at Santiago, that morning we started from it, in the direction of the place once people perceived as the limits of their known world. Getting out of Santiago was easy, we just knew we had to reach Obradoiro Square and, once there, the familiar yellow arrows guided us out of town and into the wood. The concrete milestones with blue and yellow ceramic star continued to be a pleasant presence along the way as well. Following yellow arrows is such care-free activity, it would have been nice to see one of them every once in while in life when having no idea which road to take.
Anyway, after you are at Obradoiro Square, you should go past the Hostal de los Reyes Catolicos (it should be to your right), and then follow the cobbled street of As Hortas. You will then gradually reach the oak wood of San Lourenzo and finally leave Santiago.
The weather that day was pretty warm since morning and very soon we had to remove layers of clothes (layering did a great job to me with temperatures changing during the day). Quite a happy circumstance, as then we turned back and saw Santiago in the distance with the silhouette of the Cathedral – what a view.
Out of Santiago, the walking the Camino was so peaceful and quiet, I relished every minute of it. No crowds, no towns, just nature and some pilgrims here and there and no one seemed to be in a hurry. The walk was mainly passing through woods, with quite a lush vegetation. The challenging part was a part with several kilometres of descending and then a rapid climb of 1-2 kilometres. Villages in this section of the Camino looked so lovely and more opulent than the ones we’d seen so far. Some looked quite luxurious with beautiful gardens, palm trees and to cut things short, I could imagine myself having property there for sure.
Generally, the road was well marked, with the exception of one place where we almost started walking in the opposite direction, luckily a very polite Spanish woman stopped her car as she was driving only to tell us we had to turn back. We found a place to eat just on time. Mind that Santiago-Finisterre is characterized by much fewer places like this, so it is a good idea to have something in your backpack, just in case hunger manifests itself in the middle of nowhere.
I had never seen bigger sandwiches than the ones we got served.
This day continues in Part 2, where we reach Negreira.