Faro Finisterre was on top of our list when we left the albergue in Finisterre. People once believed this to be the end of the known world so I was so ready to be there! With no rucksacks on our backs and flip flops on our feet, the ocean right in front of us, I felt more like a holiday maker than a pilgrim, but I did welcome the feeling. We asked a few locals of the way to the lighthouse and quickly found the way out of Finisterre. As a matter of fact, I anticipated a short walk, but in reality it was almost 4 kilometres in only one direction, my rubber sandals were not the best choice, I have to admit that and so do my heels.
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.
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.
This day of walking the Camino was not only long (more than 30 km), but it also started extremely early! Snoring in the room was unbearable during the night and when I felt the vibrations of the alarm I felt so relieved! I was ready in no time (something I usually do not do in normal life) and we were out (of course after breakfast). We started following the road in front of the albergue in the opposite direction of the village and after a while I seriously got worried that we had taken the wrong direction. It was completely dark, we saw no yellow arrows and there were no pilgrims walking the Camino after us. So we walked in silence, hoping.
Luckily, finally it turned out we are on the right track.
Before we realized it, we were in Ponferrada.
After our first day on Camino Frances, we started the second as proper pilgrims – early! Had a quick breakfast of toast and jam in the warm and cozy kitchen of the albergue and we set off. After walking for about 10 metres, I was convinced I should have put more clothes on, so we had to stop and, of course, it turned out my rain/wind jacket was at the very bottom of my backpack, so all the contents were taken out and then put back in again. Practice makes perfect, however, to limit the numbers of roaming through my things during the day, from now on I started to put items I would probably need during the day on the top!
After we went out of Rabanal (about 3-4 minutes after we started walking), even though it was completely dark, I quickly came to understand we were going to have some mountainous experience that day.The wind was a little discouraging but after a while we looked back to see one of the most beautiful sunrises on the Camino Frances so far. The sun definitely made things better.
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.