After lunch at Cee, at the moment where laziness had reached its highest peak for the day, we started to climb up intensely. Camino Finisterre was tough on us, but, hey, no pain, no gain – the efforts made it up for the golden kilometres that followed…:)
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.
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.
Here comes another thirty-something stage. To be precise, 32 km. A little disturbing thought, as I’ve noticed that around the 30th km my walking enthusiasm starts to rapidly evaporate in the hot Spanish sun.
We left early (what a surprise) the tiny tiny village of Gonzar and we were on the road again. The good thing about not starting from the major stage ending points (like Portomarin the other day) is that you can actually walk and enjoy the process without the contest feeling I sometimes got on busier parts of the Camino. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy competition spirit every now and then, I even normally get motivated by it, but for me it is not compatible with the Camino. Challenging myself – definitely YES but that’s another story.
I’m afraid I’d have to say it again. I totally felt for Casa Barbadelo and the leisurely atmosphere that surrounded the place. I was so relaxed that it was not before past 7 o’clock that I started to realize I have to get up and walk, walk, walk. The simplicity of life The funny thing is everyone in the room got up so “late” which had not happened the previous days. It was rather foggy outside but so pleasant and refreshing temperature. Fog in the city is one thing, fog in such places is a different story – it sprinkles everything with magical droplets and gives this fairy-land feeling.
(Continued from Day 6 – part 1)
Unlike most pilgrims, we did not stay in Sarria. The distance was very small (only 18 km) and also we preferred to relax in small villages and appreciate the rural atmosphere. It is worth mentioning that many people with limited time start exactly at Sarria as it ensures the minimum of 100 km. you need in order to receive your Compostela (the certificate you earn after completing the way) at Santiago. We desperately wanted to miss all the hustle and bustle in the morning.
The Camino de Santiago packing list…I have read so many advice and Camino packing lists before I started packing, that I was feeling a little confused what I should bring at all costs and what I can live without. The truth is that it is indeed a very good idea to have a look of other people’s packing lists, however, you should also take into consideration that packing lists vary depending on season of travelling, individual needs, physical condition, weight and personality! Make your own choices, and remember – the lighter, the better!
Here is what I took with me, my luggage was rather light at the end, perfect for the long hours of walking. Keep in mind my weight is only 45 kg. so I had to be even more choosy with the stuff I carried on my back.
The things listed covered all my needs for a September Camino. We were lucky that the weather was warm and sunny during the whole period, with the exception of a 10-minute-rainfall and 2 misty mornings.
Take your time and create your own list and also keep in mind that every day you are passing through villages and there are also some towns along the way, so you can buy any item you have forgotten or discover you need on Your Camino.
Day 1 of our Camino walk started at lovely Astorga. After spending the night on a bus travelling from Barcelona, taking about 11-12 hours (blissfully spent in sleep), we finally reached our starting point. It was dark when we got off the bus and immediately began looking for a place to take our credentials from. We found the first albergue very easily, it was so close to the cathedral, however, the hospitalero was not willing to spend any of his time on us. He was speaking to us in Spanish (like so so many people on the Camino), but it became clear he was welcoming us at 11 o’clock. 4 hours? No way.
One pilgrim on the street showed us the municipal albergue and we decided to give it a try. We were lucky because right after holding our credentials in hands, it closed as well. What followed was a memorable breakfast – cafe con leche (it is amazing that while in Spain even in the smallest of villages I enjoyed fantastic cafe con leche-s) and churros - the sole thought is mouth-watering.