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Published: September 11th 2019
Camino Portuguese Day 12, or The End:
Since I only had 13 kilometers or so to go today, I was in no hurry to get up and get going. I finally left the albergue around 8am, worried about the sore calf and bites that I’d had the day before. The bites are still there, and itch some, but the calf is holding up well. Also, I ran out of clean Injinji toe socks, so I was going with just the merino wool socks, with a couple of bandaids on the two quasi blisters that I had. Strangely enough, my feet felt better than they had since the beginning! Having a short day, I was in no hurry, but found myself clicking along pretty quickly anyways. At last, I spotted my first Camino marker with less than 10 kilometers to Santiago on it! I’d only walked about 4 kilometers, but I was feeling pretty good all around. I was climbing another of many hills, entering the town of Silleda, when I noticed a guy on the side of the road had stopped a couple of pilgrims ahead of me. Turns out he was more or less inviting pilgrims to turn off
the Camino 100 meters to try the Cafeteria O Camino. Since it had been almost an hour and a half since I’d started, and my golden rule for the Camino Portuguese is “never pass up a rest stop unless you’re ready to walk 8 to 10 kilometers to the next one”, I went up the side road to the cafeteria. I had the usual coffee con leche and added an interesting looking pastry. The pastry was a sweet cheese mixture and quite tasty.
Soon after this rest stop, I started passing other pilgrims, some walking slower or taking a short break, and some at a café or bar along the way. Within a couple of hours, I was beginning to pass other pilgrims, some walking and some at rest stops that I passed by later on. About 3 hours into my day, I finally spotted what I believe was Santiago, my final destination! It still took me almost another hour to actually get to the Cathedral, but at least half of that was walking through the outskirts of Santiago de Compostela, a pretty good sized town/city. I finally entered the square where the cathedral was located, with all sorts
of people milling around and taking photos. I was a bit surprised how few of them were actual pilgrims. The majority seemed to be tourists or with a tour group of some sort. After taking a photo or two of the Cathedral, I asked a fellow pilgrim to take a photo of me in front of it. I remember when I finished the Camino Frances two years ago, that I felt happy and relieved. This time I felt releived, but also sad, to the point I almost started crying! That’s how rough it was this time. I’d almost quit on days 4 and 5, but decide to persevere, if for no other reason so I wouldn’t feel like a quitter and have to explain to other folks.
After the cathedral, I walked down to the Pilgrim’s Office to see how long I’d have to wait to get my certificate, remembering how long it took the last time. The guy at the door told me probably a couple of hours, so I decided to go find my hostel for the night so I could unload my gear and return without my backpack. Although I didn’t have cellphone service, I had
looked up the hostel last night and had the map still available on my phone. Unfortunately, the map was oriented the same way I was and I ended up going the wrong way for a number of blocks. I spotted the Mundoalbergue where I’d stayed the last time, and went in to ask for directions. The lady at reception tried to get me back on path, but after a number of blocks, again in the wrong direction, I stopped again for directions. This time I got myself oriented properly, and soon found the right street. The hostel has a very small sign, so I had to go up and down the block until I finally found it.
Meiga Backpackers is in a fairly old building, but even though its not very modern inside, it does have a nice homey feeling. I buzzed my way in, confirmed my reservation, paid the 15 Euros and was shown around. Again, I have a bunk on the bottom (I wonder if they know I’m older and give me one of those?), but again, on the second floor. Oh well. I have my own locker and the lock I brought with me, so I’m
good to go. After stowing all but my necessary gear (pilgrim credentials and money), I got a map, marked the path to the Pilgrim’s Office and went back down for the wait. My number was 786 and they were calling on number 500 and something, so I made my way out to the waiting area, where I ran into one of the guys I’d met and talked to a few times along the Camino. He asked me to hold his chair while he went out for something. I’d heard they were calling about 100 numbers per hour and my number was about 200 or so up, so I made myself comfortable, chatting with various other pilgrims. Finally, around 4pm, I saw they were calling number 760, so I told the other guy and we went to stand in line. In just a few more minutes they called my number and I went in to clerk number 10, filled out the necessary information, gave him my credentials and in no time I had my certificate. I paid the 3 Euros for that and another 2 Euros for a tube to store it in for the trip. I shook the guy’s hand
I’d been waiting for (no idea what his name was), and headed back to the hostel.
I already knew that they had a decent kitchen, but no vending machines, so I stopped at a nearby Dia supermarket and picked up a few necessities. I bought 3 Cokes, a carton of Mango juice, another of those delicious paella dinners, and a couple of flans for dessert. I’d eaten a sandwich while waiting for my certificate (yes, they have several vending machines with sandwiches, snacks, coffee, and drinks), so I just needed to cover dinner. I’d forgotten about Silvia and her husband coming today or I might have held off on the dinner stuff, figuring we’d go out together. I stowed my goodies in the fridge, then started laundry (everything I had but the night shorts, and the pair of socks and shirt I had on), then took a nice hot shower. I’m going to wait until 8pm or so to see if Silvia shows up, then if not I’ll have my dinner.
Tomorrow, I start my trip back to Chipiona, by bus. After that, we need to watch for a useable flight back to the states from
Rota Naval Base, preferably back to Charleston, but if one doesn’t show up in a couple of days, we’ll probably opt for McGuire or maybe Norfolk, and rent a car from there…. from Hertz of course .
Tot: 3.769s; Tpl: 0.054s; cc: 17; qc: 58; dbt: 0.0708s; 3; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 2;
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