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Published: November 1st 2018
Today is Day 1, post Camino.
It’s strange not walking, and not even planning to walk.
The sorting, washing, smelling what is best to wear, and is this shirt good for another day. It’s over.
Carrying a pack up and down mountains, through valleys, and across spanish farms; I’m done with that.
Preparing your feet for the day; tape, vasoline, double socks. That’s all gone.
Sadly, so have my mates.
Last night, Tim and I shared a last meal in Santiago with Dave, Darcy and Janet. We relived recent experiences as if they were the good old times.
I was exposed as being a little overexposed, people wise, on the Camino. I never noticed that I knew so many people, but in hindsight, travelling alone does release a curiosity to meet people, and find out a bit about them.
Some people come and go, never to be seen again, some I spent a meal with, and then they bob up at the most unexpected of times days or weeks later; I think Darcy thought that was me a couple of times. And then there was the odd one that I added 9 Kilometres
The Maria Pia Plaza
This 19th Century square houses the city hall and is named in honour of the woman credited with preventing Sir Francis Drake’s forces from taking over the city.
to a day to avoid, only for them to arrive the next day, parked in the bed above me.
How does that happen?
Then there were people like the 3 Amigos, and later Lisa, the young German girl. It’s still a mystery to us all what she saw in us. Darcy described us as Mum and Dad, Aunty Janet, and Grandpa Steve last night, but she was comfortable to wander along with us and we were thrilled to enter Santiago together. I met them on my second night at Larrasoaña. I didn’t know at the time, but they became my constant companions, whether we were together or not. I alway wondered what they were up to.
But it’s over. For now.
Janet is going to organise a tour group; I’ll carry the water for them. Just joking, Sue.
Today Tim and I walk...that was just a genuine mistake. I can’t believe I automatically started to type ’walked’. I meant caught the train, to La Coruña. We did walk to the station.
After waiting half an hour at the bus stop with an irritated and impatient Tim, we rode the bus into the old town
Sculpture Park, La Coruña
Tim and I walked around the coast, through a park dotted with sculptures, until we reached the Hercules Tower
of La Coruña, and stepped off the bus to the squabbling and shrieking of a seaside of seagulls, and whatever other birds carry on by the beach. As we walked around the esplanade, this out of tune choir of noise was strangely welcoming. After so long wandering inland, you really knew you were by the sea. The salty mist floating over the stone wall cleared your nostrils, and the waves crashing over the rocks, just missing the fishermen below, drove home the stark difference between La Coruña and Santiago.
Santiago represents an ancient world set in the medieval world of knights, pilgrims and religious orders draped in dark , almost sinister looking garments.
La Coruña, with just as much history, struck us as being a more modern seaside city, with a historical aspect to it that is a sideshow, rather than the main event.
The late bus and the city’s slow start to the public holiday, after Halloween, placed a few of our plans on hold, but I thought we experienced enough for the day to hail it as a success. La Coruña needs more than a day, but a long weekend would serve to cover the
sights, unless you were after a longer beach holiday.
There are enough natural features, warm cafes, modern shops, and spectacular, glass clad, period buildings to satisfy the fussiest traveller.
It used to be the home of the Galician royalty until Santiago took that honour, and this is reflected in the old town of La Coruña.
It’s location on an isthmus provides a unique opportunity to walk across and through its maze of small streets in 10 minutes or so, with quick access to public transport, or the ability to catch a taxi, for very little cost.
The only word of warning, and disappointment for an avid tower fan like me, is that you have to buy a ticket to climb the tower down the hill, in the car park; a fact we didn’t know because we walked the long way, around the peninsula and through the Sculpture Park, before arriving at the Tower. I wasn’t doing a 20 minute round trip down to the car park for a ticket, so the Tower remained unclimbed.
The day finished as it started, with an airport type security check at the station, with your pack passing through a
screening machine, before you could enter the station. They didn’t take my pocket knife, so I’m not sure what raises their eyebrows.
Tim and I caught a taxi to the Monastery, rain and Tim’s leg being the reason, and for €6, it’s not much more expensive than the bus, and it was door to door.
Well, that’s it for now. It was a nice day and tomorrow night we fly to Paris.
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