As promised, at the bottom of this post are the places I stayed at and for those who like this kind of information, the cost. Note that the distances given are what I made on my "route tracker" app. As this is not as accurate as the systems surveyors use there could be as much as 10% discrepancy. Distances are from bed to bed too which may affect the final measurement, as does the way I walked to that bed - sometimes on a very circuitous route!
Well, I have had three lovely days and four nights in Santiago de Compostela, one of my favourite cities. When I left it after my first Camino in 2005 I remember standing in the beautiful Praza Obradoiro, looking at the Cathedral in the pink of a splendid sunrise, and thinking "well it's been great, but I'll never be back here again'. Six visits later, it has lost none of its charm for me, and I have visited for longer, and more often than Sydney!
Pilgrims contemplating their achievements in the square.
One of the Cathedral Towers
I was here in June last year, the height of the pilgrim season and so, though busy, things were much quieter, and calmer, this time. For example, getting a seat for the pilgrim mass was possible right up to when it started, whereas in June if you weren't seated 45 - 60 minutes beforehand it was likely that standing was the only option.
The Botefumero swung at the Pilgrim mass on Wednesday.
The insence hung in the air
This door being open is not a common sight. This year is a holy year and it is only in holy years that the Holy doors are opened. It will be closed in around a week, and this door won't be opened again till the next Holy Year in 2021.
The buskers are still in town - an instrumental group, singers, a flautist, a guitarist and of course the gaita players, to name a few. Then, late at night, the Tunas Compeatellanas, a university singing group, perform in the arcade opposite the Cathedral. They perform traditional foot tapping music, using their considerable charms to entertain and extract money as buskers, and for their CD's.
Tunas Compostellanas are very good at working the crowd.
The past couple of visits I have missed my friend John (for those in the know - Johnnie Walker) because he was out of town. I was successful this time, not only in catching up with him, but hearing him play the organ at Mass, and hearing his friend Stephen sing. I had heard what a wonderful voice Stephen had, but never been fortunate enough to hear him. This time I heard them both, and then had a lovely lunch with them. My bag is now nearly 30 kgs as I have collected 15 kgs of books from John to bring back for the Australian Friends of the Camino.
This time I stayed in a pilgrim room at the San Martin Pinario. It was here that I met many pilgrims, having met barely any by comparison in the past few weeks. I have spent the past few days with some Aussies, which has been nice. I really enjoyed Ricci and Tim's company and shared a delightful meal with Ricci and her two Irish friends, Wally and Paul. It is simple pleasures like this that one treasures, among the many.
The far end of this building was a former monastery, now converted to a hotel, with special pilgrim rooms on the top floor.
The rooms are simple, but comfortable enough, complete with an ensuite.
Waiting at the new pilgrim office to collect my Compostela.
As I write I am sitting on the train to Barcelona, with only one hour to go of a 13 hour journey. Tomorrow I make my way to the airport and within a few days I will see many of you! I am unlikely to be able to use my electronic equipment in Doha and so this will likely be my last post. Thank you to those who have sent me an email, or added a comment. I really do appreciate knowing that the time and effort this takes is appreciated by some!
This has been a wonderful, different Camino. What, when, where, will the next one be? Who knows!? Watch this space! Till next time, adios.
Day 1. Thursday 20th Oct. Ponferrada to Borrenes, 22. Kms. Centro de Turismo Rural Cornatel. €40
Day 2. 21st Oct. Borrenes to Puenta de Domingo Flórez de Valdeorras, 17.3 Kms. Hostal Restaurante La Torre. €34
Day 3. 22nd Oct. Puenta de Domingo Flórez de Valdeorras to O Barco de Valdeorras. 22.1 Kms. Pensión do Lar €25
Day 4. 23rd Oct. O Barco de Valdeorras to A Rûa de Valdeorras. 14 kms. Hostal Niza €18. (own shower & basin, shared toilet)
Day 5. 24th Oct. A Rûa de Valdeorras to Quiroga. 29.5 Kms. Hostal Quiper €17
Day 6. 25th Oct. Quiroga to Pobra do Brollón. 26.03 Kms. Hostal As Viñas, Dinner, bed & Breakfast €34
Day 7. 26th Oct. Pobra do Brollón to Monforte de Lemos. 16.7 Kms. Hotel Puenta Romano room + brekky €20
Day 8. 27th Oct. Monforte de Lemos to Chantada. 32.7 Kms. Hotel Mogay. €33.
Day 9. 28th Oct. Chantada to Rodeiro. 24.4 Kms. Hospedaxe O Guerra dinner bed and breakfast €32
Day 10. 29th Oct. Rodeiro to Lalin. 19Kms. Hotel Palacio. Dinner, bed and breakfast €35
Day 11. 30th Oct. Lalin to Ponte Ulla. 38.6kms. Bar Rios. Dinner, bed & breakfast €27
Day 12. 31st Oct. Ponte Ulla to Santiago de Compostela. San Martin Pinario €92 (€23 per night - pilgrim room) bed & breakfast for 4 nights