I knew having the bunks nearest the toilets was a bad idea. When people started getting restless they headed for the toilets and the lights were on from about 5.
This meant we got a good start though and we were in the bar opposite only just after 6. So instead of the anticipated rush we had the place more or less to ourselves. Desayuna completa only 4e not bad cafe con leche, orange juice and a pastry for what you would pay for a coffee in Chester.
Our only problem was that yesterdays pounding was now telling on me, and my left ankle was almost incapable of movement. The pain was excruciating, my only hope was that it would ease as it warmed up. I lathered it in ibuprofen creem and manipulated it and hobbled off.
All along the camino we have found people who are making a good living out of the pilgrims, not by ripping them off, just giving good service.
We headed out of town and then I remembered to turn my phone on, the stupid apps that are provided by Galaxy and will not be deleted, keep turning themselves on and I did not want “voice talk” waking up pilgrims.
Again we were taken up a hill only to come down again on the road we had been on before. Still being tested I see.
Soon we were out into the country again and we strolled d on through fine woodlands.
A few Ks on we found the wine fountain. I could get no more that a drip out of it. Then Viv saw the sign that said it operated 8 till 8. That’s us, always in the wrong pklace at the wrong time.
The scenery was improving by step. Never the less as we came around a bend and over the hill, it became obvious why Christians have done this route for milenia, I could see the meaning of “Gods Beautiful Earth”.
We were now passing through wine country and vines were everywhere, but the vistas far outclassed the forground.
At our first coffee stop we met Mary, a seventy year old Irish woman. She could not lift her rucksack back on her back. I said ” You need a lighter pack” but we did not catch her up again until we reached the auberge.
We were now climbing steadily, the big hills we had seen in the distance, were now moving away to our right so at least,we would not have to climb them. Therev was a further fortified hill which we also passed, but still we were climbing.
After rounding yet another bend we caught sight of VillaMayor.
Another beautiful village on a hill. The Irish boys were all waiting at the bus stop, though I suspect that they would not be allowed a bus. (Irish boys? Do try and keep up, the ones I thought were young Americans).
After many more Ks we saw a sign “Bocadillos 1000m” Then another at 500m and so on at every 100m. What we saw was yet another enterprising soul witha van and some picnic tables.
It was very welcome just the same. We had some more tortilla and while Viv stuck with coffee I went Roman and had wine and water. It was very refreshing on a dusty road.
Becasue we had set out so early we arrived in Los Arcos not long after midday so it looked like there would be nothing open yet.
As luck would have it about the fourth Auberge we passed was already open so we just dived in. I was too whacked to look at the name, it should have given me a clue, but when the girl spoke to me I did not understand a word.
By the time we had paid and got to our bed I had worked it out, she spoke German. The Auberge? It is called “Auberge Austria”
After a shower and dressing my wounds we hobbled off to explore. We found a farmacia just around the corner, and I had another Crabtree moment. We managed to be easily understood that we wanted sunblock for our lips, but I though 40e too much so went for 25e. Then she asked for 8e, turned out that the 40 and 25 were sun protection factors.
Then we set out to find a bar, this was not looking like it would succede. So I asked a local. She sent me back the way we had come “Abajo, abajo” she said
We very soon were sat down with some more bcadillos and a very large beer. We were joined by Mary who told us of her childrens displeasure at her running off alone. She also convinced us to visit the church.
The church had the most amazing organ. The pipes came out of the walls horizontally, I would have loved to hear it played.
The walls of the interior were covered in golden sculpture, at truly amazing sight.
While Viv went for a massage I sat on the terrace talking to some other pilgrims , eventually I was left alone with Jerry, some sort of old age traveller who manages to live the life he wants on a state pension. I said he would never manage that with a Viv in tow.
We set off for the square again and our evening meal. No menu peregrino tonight, we would eat well.
The place we had spotted had pizza and paella, so we asked for one of each “para partir” oh! and some chips not forgetting the cidra.
Well it was chaos everyone who had come in after us got their drinks before our bottle of cider arrived. Then our pizza went to the table behind us, she managed to start it while we just had our chips. Then the paella arrived but we had no plates, eventually the pizza arrived half an hour after our chips. It is a good job we were sharing or one of us would have been eating cold food. I wanted a glass of wine to help my pizza down but it was well eaten before my wine arrived, probably just as well as he poured more on my plate than in my glass.
Then the waiter changed, I asked for carta de postre and he brought the pilgrim menu. As for the bill, I think we should have done a runner, we chased them around the restaurant and paid at the bar. Cheep it wasn’t, but I suppose it was cheerful, it was certainly entertaining.
I knew having the bunks nearest the toilets was a bad idea. When people started getting restless they headed for the toilets and the lights were on from about 5.
In Finisterre we had the time of the bus wrong, during all this time we keep forgetting what day it is. The bus on saturday is either 8:45 or 13:55.So we had missed the early one, and we were far too early for the later one, still, it gave us some time to just mooch around.
We bumped into the nice Canadian girl who was always ahead of her group. She must have carried on from Santiago without stopping, because she had been here six days. Each to their own, I suppose, but I enjoyed the places we stopped at much more, and would have felt it a waste to stay here that long.. After all that walking I think six days in one spot would bore me. It was really nice to see a familiar face though.
I managed to get a camino tile for our house, and then we convinced the girl in the shop that she had the wrong ear rings on one card. So she sorted them before Viv bought a pair.
We arrived for the bus early, I just did not trust the Spanish timetables. Daft really, as when we had used the AVE years ago, that was bang on time, as was our bus now.
We shared the bus with one other girl and she got off at Cee. Leaving Cee we saw Tammy for the first time in weeks. She saw us on the bus and we both waved frantically as we sped past. She will. most probably, be the last fellow pilgrim we will see.
Later the bus did fill, but it never reached capacity.
In A Coruna there was a really helpful guy who got us on a bus that night. The problem was, we had to wait 3 hours and we did not arrive in Santander until 3:30 in the morning.
They closed the bus station as we arrived so we had hours wandering Santander in the dark. In the end though, getting home was not too difficult.
We could not get to Poole and had to arrive in Portsmouth, but again helpful staff in the station there helped us on our way.
I have nothing good to say about British hotels though. Two tired pilgrims, we felt as if we had been taken advantage of as the first hotel that was not fully booked charged us an exorbitant rate for one night. Then there was a charge for the internet (so we did not use it) likewise a charge for the TV. We were stuck, what else could we do? After a walk back into town for an indian we walked down to the beach to find a Premier Inn not 200 yards away.
So what advice would I pass on?
Know your capabilities, we saw so many who injured themselves, thinking that they could do more than they were capable of.
In the same vein, do not over plan. Rest when you need it and if you cannot make a destination stop earlier.
Factor in rest days, not only a chance to recover but also allows you to see some more of the place. We chose ours to match the big cities, but you can choose to rest wherever it suits you best.
Take a lot less with you than you think you need. We saw people carrying bed rolls as well as sleeping bags. If we were to ever do this again I would only take our silk liners. I know we stayed mainly in Hostels, but those albergues we stayed in all had matresses, pillows and blankets.
Carpe dieum, Seize the day. Remember you will not pass this way again, if there is something you want to see, see it. If you see something you need, then buy it. Most importantly, never pass up a rest break. This may be the last bench or coffee shop for 10 kilometres.
Finally, be honest, I never saw anyone put down because they had to take a taxi. If you do it and tell everyone you walked, then probably you will be ostracised. Everyone
does their own camino and everyone understands that we all have different needs.
Cee to Finisterre
It is always difficult making sure everything is well packed and ready to go. That was why I so hated albergues, because usually we had to do it in the dark. This morning the lights fused, so we were back to packing in the dark. Fortunately we did not have too far to go so we were not in such a hurry to leave. We left the bags in the room and went down for breakfast. By the time we left at 7:30 it was getting quite light.
We had already explored Corcubion so we knew the way out. We decided to walk on the other side of the road and then noticed an arrow we had not seen before. We followed what turned out to be a medeval route out. This gave us a whole new perspective on the place, showing us things we had not yet seen.
We passed the church of Saint Martin, but then the arrows dried up. A guy in his front garden pointed us in the right direction. Further round the block an old woman stood on her doorstep pointing. A can of yellow paint would put all these locals out of a job.
The arrows got better though, and they sent us up a narrow alleyway that took us up behind the houses. Then we were climbing again, up through woodlands ever higher.
When we thought we should be coming to the next village, we saw a sign that said Cee. For a while there we worried we had come in a circle, but that was not possible. It looks like Cee just circles Corcubion and soon we arrived at Estorde.
Again it looked like there was little here, but we rounded the bend and there was beautiful beach with a hotel on it. We stopped for a zumo and paid a premium for a beach view.
As we left, I am sure that alsation was following us again. He had followed us all around Cee, I have no idea how he found us there after we were lost for so long. I swear that dog will turn up in Gesford one day.
We followed the road for a while and then came across another beach with a long footpath running behind it. We stopped for an orange and some water, before carrying on again.
We were still early as we entered Finisterre and were surprised to find the first Hostel full. We passed an albergue and there sat in the window were the German gang we had met in Hospital, who had followed us down to Cee.
We found a Hotel that looked ok and they had plenty of rooms. I was again surprised that they gave us the key straight away. Usually we have to wait until one o’clock or at least mid day.
We had a coffee dropped all our gear in the room and set off for Cape Finisterre. I had trouble stopping Viv going in the supermarkets, but there would be time when we came back.
We took a detour on the way up through some rough ground, but when you have come this far nothing daunts you.
Well we finally reached the end of the earth, you can go no further west in Europe without getting wet.
Cape Finisterre was a dissapointment. We got a final stamp, but otherwise it was like John O’Groats, just a big souvenier shop. There was a coach from Bogna Regis, if you think I am grumpy, you should have met the first man off the bus. “Are you on the bus?” I asked, all I got in return was a very sour “No thank you” Not put off I tried again and we met a very nice group who took our photos for us. About time we had some of the two of us together.
2.5e to go round the lighthouse, but you could not go up to the light. We did not see the point, so declined.
We climbed up the rocks and took some photos. The view from here was amazing, we could see the storm lashed rocks below us, seaguls were flying over our heads and a lone fishing boat sailed across the sound. We met a canadian lady called Margaret and an Austrian guy called Cyril. Cyril had done the Portugese route to test himself. he said he was a tour guide and had got some good ideas from Spain. One good idea he should definitely ignore is to put an attraction at the top of a hill, encourage walkers, then sell nothing but concrete shells and fragile boats. We would have loved to stay longer but were in serious need of sustenance and you cannot eat flags and pin badges.
It is surprising how fast you can get down a hill when you are hungry and soon we were in the town itself. There was a market, but that was all closing up. We found a supermarket that closed ten minutes ago. I did not care, the door was open so we walked in anyway. We managed to get some biscuits and yogurt, but being a supermarket they did not supply spoons and ours were back at the hotel. So we had a treck back and ate them in the room.
It was time to try and find our way out of here. We had intended to walk to Muxia, but realised that Finisterre was an end, we have done enough, and so this was going to be where we finally stop walking.
We found the travel agents for pilgrims, and wouldn’t you know it? this is Spain. Five past two and it is shut for siesta. Only thing to do is go for another beer. Before we went we asked in the shop next door what time it would be open “five or six” was the answer, how the hell can they run a business like this?
We had our beer, then went somewhere else. Viv liked the look of the menue here. It was now five so we checked the travel agents first. Of course it was shut.
We went back for the menue. We both started with salad, Viv had pasta, and I had an olympic sized pizza. We were stuffed when we had finished, but you have to have the ice cream, don’t you?
Now full to bursting we went back to the travel agents, still closed. We walked over to the bus stop and asked a big guy where he got his ticket “On the bus” he said. He also showed us the timetable.
So tomorrow we will have breakfast in the Hotel. Then at 11:10 we will catch the bus to A Corona and the travel agent will get no commision out of me.
Now we are having more Galician rain, that will put paid to the festivities. Looks like another early night.
Olveiroa to Cee
The lady of the house drove us back to Olveiro and dropped us off out side the bar. Time to grab a coffee while we can.
The road out of Olveiroa was paved with what I think were granite slabs about two metres by a half. They were also used as fences and for the side of buildings. I think it must be some sort of traditional quarry method.
We turned left and a group of Italians joined us. We decided to follow them in the hope that we would not get lost again. They proved to be good company. There was the tall guy who was always ahead and a good spotter for the best scenery. Then there was the shorter guy who was trying to learn English and the girl who acted as translator. The shorter guy also had a GPS so we knew we were on the right road and how far we had come.
They kept us entertained as well as on the right road until we reached another place called Hospital. (Starting to think there must be a lot of sick people here).
We stopped for a stamp, but the woman there was insistant that there was nothing more for 15K, so we had a zumo before moving on.
Just up the road from here the road splits for Finisterre and Muxia, our new friends were heading for Muxia. We took their photos and said goodbye. I suppose this sums up the Camino; good friends for a short while, short goodbyes, never to meet again.
The cellist passed us while we were in the bar and I thought for a while we would catch him up as he was now walking with his father. Every time we nearly caught him something happened.
First, we were approaching a cross and a group of men wanted their photos taken. We had him in sight again and then passed a donativo where Viv wanted some fruit.
Nearly had him again, and we had to stop at Santuario de Nosa Senora das Neves for a rest and a drink. It was lovely spot to rest, but no facilities, I could not imagine staying at this place overnight.
It was a rocky road from here on, I found it difficult on my knees and ankles, but the views were stunning. The film crew, it seems, thought so too, as we got our first good views of the sea we saw them filming the view and the pilgrims passing by. So we got in their film again.
We arrived in the back of the town, it was still early so we stopped and had a beer and shared a bocadillo. After this we walked passed the beach and across the road. It looked like we had passed anywhere that might have had hostels, but there in front of us was a new place.
The old lady who ran it was really helpful, she showed us a room where we could help ourselves to coffee at any time, biscuits and even cake. We had a lovely double bed and a superb bathroom.
We left everything there and went off to explore. First thing for me to do was sooth my tired feet in the sea. It was not the best beach but it was a cold sea water and I loved it. Viv hates beaches and sand in her toes, but it was all I was waiting for.
We walked inland and bought an ice cream. As we ate them we met and Irishman named Dick, who spends months here every year and has bought an appartment. I think it was at this point I thought “Why spend two days in Finisterre’ when we may not even like it. We were tired after getting lost the day before, so I decided to stay another night here.
We found a great place to eat, walked into Corcubion and even, finally, got Viv a new swimsuit.
So by the time we left we were well rested, re-stocked on medicines and had bought everything we needed.
Negreira to Olveiroa
It was always going to be a tough day, 33K is not to be sniffed at, but with a shortage of stopping points we had little choice.
Never the less we set off in good spirits as we followed the road for a short while and then set off into woodlands. As we started climbing we saw the film crew that was following the cellist, they were filming the pilgrims as they climbed the hill. Viv tried to avoid getting in their picture, but I realised what they were doing and just carried on. As we passed the camera we were asked to sign a release to say it was ok to film us.
We followed the road for a while. Then we passed acouple with a big fierce looking alsation only the alsation now decided he was ours. Viv was quite concerned as it wandered about the road. He stayed with us though. As we turned off the road we saw two men by a car “es tu pero?”‘I asked,no was the reply,but they called the dog anyway. I think the dog cursed us.
The yellow arrows were getting more scarce, but at first, this was not a problem. When we had been walking for half an hour without a sighting we started to worry. It was time to get out my trusty compass. Little did we know that we were already too far off to regain it this way.
After another hour or so we finally saw an arrow, relieved we followed it. After about another half hour we reached a road. As we approached, a taxi drived stopped and said this was not the camino. He kept telling us we should go back to Negreira and that the road was too far. He could give us nothing in simple language so we elected to continue along the road.
We walked for hours and eventually arrived at a bar. Time for a coffee, the barman was really good, he said walk 3K and turn left then bear right and we will see an albergue, then we will be back on the camino.
Now 3K is about half an hour and true enough at almost half an hour there was a turning and it was in a village with a name that made sense of what he was saying. (He drew a square on the map and said something that I did not understand, now I did).
We took the turning, but now there were numerous other turns, unsure what to do we followed his advice and beared right. Over a cross road, things were looking good, until we arrived back on the mainroad we had already been following.
We asked so many people “Camino Finisterre?” and always got the same answer “si siga todo recto” (year one Spanish, go straight on”). So we did. For hours.
Then we asked someone else, he told us to go over the next roundabout and ask. So we did, but there was no one to ask. Many may be asking now “what about your map?” well camino maps are fine while you are on the camino, they are totally meaningless when you are off it. In fact most of the towns that are on the map do not exist as far as road signs are concerned.
We trudged on to a place called Antes and there was a garage “tienes Mapa?” I asked more in hope than expectation. “Si” he said. so now we had a road map of Galicia, only slightly more use than the camino map, but at least we knew where we were.
I decided to head off to the left, but the men in the bar insisted we should carry on this road. Now there is a big lake, big enough to show even on the Camino map and if we carried on we would be the wrong side of it. We walked about a kilometer and decided to walk back.
The men from the bar were off in their cars so we passed them by and took the next turning. I was now following the compass, all we had to do was head west from here.
That was ok until the road took a turn. In the middle of a village called Pazos a big articulated lorry stopped, caused a traffic jam and told us we should head back. I was getting less and less sure that anyone in Spain knew where they were going, but for the sake of Viv we went back. But again we came to a junction, so I followed the compass.
It was now mid afternoon and not a sign of Camino or any signs, so we stopped in a bus shelter had some water and nuts and turned the data on on my phone. (I know, I should have done this earlier, but it has become so unreliable, I trust it less than a Spaniard).
My only hope was to head south for Santa Marino, Olveiroa was 3.5 hours away.
We followed, got lost again and eventually passed some men working on a house. My instinct was to go right here but they all said straight up.
I should have learned by now, but up we went. Then after who knows how long, someone stopped in a car and said “Santa Marino straight on through the next village”. So at the next village, instead of following the road we went through the village, until after a couple of Ks we ended up in a ploughed field. So we walked back through the village and followed the road.
Now we seemed to have lots of people telling us to go straight on, but we reached a point of utter despair. No sign of any civilisation, totally and utterly lost.
At this point I decided to turn around, then a wagon came. Half a K up the road he said was the camino. “if you turn left you can get to Santa Marino, but it is 4K back, you are best turning right” he said. True to his word, when we got to the next junction we saw arrows at last.
We had been walking now over ten hours, but now at least we knew we were going the right way. I was at this point completely exhausted and decided to just sit on a rock.
We saw three people come over the hill,”quick lets follow them” I think we both said in unison. They too had been on the road all day, the difference was they were stopping to film, they were the film crew again.
We walked together for a few Ks, it helped to have company at last, as well as knowing we were on the right track. What I did not realise was how far we had now come. I asked how far was Bon Xesus and they told me we were much further than that.
They had to get to Olveiroa as the cellist had a concert at seven and it was now approaching half six. So after a call, they backtracked to get picked up.
We, however, still had to walk. Not far around the bend we came across Abeleiros. Overjoyed, we really had come further than we thought and we were going to make Olveiroas afterall.
Much to my consternation there was more downhill, but hope does wonderful things, my knee seemed to be holding out. So much so that when we saw the albergue at Puente Olveiros I said ” lets have a beer here and carry on to the town”.
So, after a beer and some crisps we walked on hoping we would not regret the decision. At the first hostel, I got a very abrupt “no” so we tried the next and on right through the town. Not a room to be had. So we tried the albergue, no beds either.
There were some Germans in the same situation and we told them about the donativo albergue at the bridge. We, however were not about to walk another 2K especially back the way we had just come. This is what happens when you arrive at seven thirty. The girl fromthe film crew said “the concert is still on you can go in” but we needed to find a bed first.
We went back to the last hostel in the village and decided, before we could do anything more we needed a rest and some food.
We ordered the pilgrim menue and some beer. Now, it has been said to us before, that everyone here knows someone with beds. The hostel owner said “If you want a private room I kow someone, but it is 10K away. They can pick you up and drop you back here in the morning. It was 45e, but then we were desperate.
It is a strange feeling after nearly 7 weeks to get in a car again, to be moving along not under your own power, but we were so tired, after 12 hours walking I would not have noticed if they had used a Starfleet transporter.
What we had was not a room with a bathroom, but in fact a house. The lady of the house presented us with a plate of cake, Viv, being Viv tried to refuse, but I thought it would be rude, so graciously accepted. We could always take it with us in the morning.
We showered and I don’t remember my head hitting the pillow.
Santiago to Negreira
I will save our three days in Santiago for a later date as I am getting behind with my story.
We followed the road that rings the old quarter. There seemed little point in going through the centre again.
When we reached the junction to the road going out we saw a bar open and decided it would be best to get our coffee fix while we could.
Inside we ordered our coffee and spoke to the two ladies sat there. One was from the US and the other from Holland. They intended to make Finisterre in three days. I said as we left “we will see you when you pass us” we intended to take four days so it was bound to happen.
After we had passed the dance school (where we failed to find tango a day earlier) there was a junction. We took one side of the road, the two ladies the other. Their side was quicker “Ididn’t expect you to pass us that quickly” I said, as they passed us.
We descended out of Santiago and then we climbed again. At the top of the hill we had a wondeful last view of the Cathedral peeking out of the fog.
We were now a group of five; the two ladies we had met in the bar, Viv and I, and another girl, who we kept meeting all day, but found out nothing about her.
We did a lot of up and down but there were no rest places until Roxos, 8K in. We had coffee and a stamp and then carried on.
There was now 2.5k of tough uphill. It was relentless, we passed no end of pilgrims who simply had to stop for a rest, and when we stopped, those who managed to pass us also rested soon after. The solo girl we knew nothing about was resting on the hill. The group of chattering French women we thought we had lost were also there, all walkers needed to rest.
It was fairly easy downhill after this and uneventful until we got to Negreira. The first thing we saw was a beautiful roundabout with a concrete statue of a woman and two cows, on top of a water feature. The next thing we saw was a rather plump, short woman charging across the road at us “albergue aqui” she said pointing at her albergue. “Hostel” we said and carried on. She meanwhile charged off to the next pilgrim.
We found a hostel, we thought it rather expensive and declined the breakfast, but the room was beautiful, though a little short on hot water.
After we had showered and rested the rain came, proper Galician rain, thunder, lightening and a downpour like standing under a waterfall. We would not be going anywhere for a while.
When it did ease up we still had to dodge between the shops. Viv nearly got a swimsuit, but it was not to be. We got some provisions for tomorrow at the supermarket and we observed the short plum woman still chasing pilgrims.
We found a bar run by an Englishman and his Galician wife, and had one of the best pilgrim menues yet. Then off to bed ready for a big day tomorrow..
It was great not to have to get up early, but we were still up at seven thirty. By the time we had eaten our granola and found our way through the labrynth it was getting on for nine so we decided to join the queue for the compostella.
It was all very good natured despite all the time we had to wait. We had the cellist in front of us in the queue. He had been behind us all the way, in fact he played at our hotel in Leon the night after we had left. Now, here he was with a film crew following him, just maybe, we will get to hear him later.
Behind us we had someone who had cycled from Leon. He was a Londoner and we talked about some cyclists giving others a bad name. I also gave him some stick about not being a proper Pilgrim as he had done it on wheels. We carried on the banter until we were invited in.
Because we had been honest and put “non religious” on our passports, the guy told us we could not have a proper compostella. We worried that that meant we got nothing, but we got a certificate in Latin. I am now Franciscus Robertus Finch. Obviously they could not latinise Finch. We also got a certificate to say we have walked 775 kilometers, that gets less with each telling as well.
When we came out, the canadian guy we walked a bit with yesterday and had a drink with last night was outside. So we sat there seeing how many pilgrims we knew. There was a Hungarian girl sitting with us as well, so I surprised her with “jo’ regget” unfortunately that was my lot.
In time we moved on and found a Russian trio in the square, so we sat listening and clapping at the end of each number until we felt hungry.
Just a little lower down was a bar where we could sit outside, and still just about hear the Russians. We had coffee and empanadas. These were not the normal Galician type which is just a tray bake which is portioned, these are more like the Argentine empanadas or our pasties, but the pastry is more like batter. It was very light and the fillings were spiced, quite delicious. So nice in fact, we decided to have another.
We were still on the camino here and just as we were starting our second empanada Rachel and Paul walked past. We rushed over and gave them a hug, I think it was all too much for Rachel there was definitely a tear in her eye.
We moved on again and sat outside the Cathedral, still watching the pilgrims roll in. Sat there on the wall I came across the Japanese sense of humour again. I had my camino tee shirt on, with the yellow arrow, and the Japanese guy told me to sit on the other side as my arrow was pointing the wrong way.
Then along came Richard and Tina, we talked for a while, then some other friends of theirs arrived. Sitting alone again on the wall we saw Wyn dressed in deliberately holey clothing.
He told us that the cellist was playing in the cathedral at four.
I managed to get some internet in a bar, posted a blog and found some tango here in Santiago. The address was somewhat confusing but after walking this far, everything is withing walking distance for us.
We arrived at the Cathedral and sat waiting, it was only three thirty so we did not expect too many to be there yet. We ended in a French tour group, no way we were sitting here listening to some guy prattling on in French so we moved forward.
This was still not good, we were at right angles to the Altar so we moved again. I think we were now where people come to pray, as there were ropes to stop people wandering in and a guard watching eveyone, so we just sat quietly. There was still no sign of anyone we knew.
Then at almost four we heard applause, and it was not coming from where we were seated. It was time to move again. We followed the sound and arrived at a Chapel dedicated to the pilgrim. It was full to capacity, and there was Wyn sat right at the front. I have no idea how he finds out about these things, but there he was again.
So we spent the whole concert standing, after the cellist had finished Wyn Rushed out. Apparently he had lost his wallet and was off to cancel his cards. I think he should have done that first, this could be a very expensive concert for him. He would be flying out in the morning, so we would never see him again.
There were two encores before we left. I don’t know if there was another, but we had stood long enough.
We wandered off to find the dance place. Now, the address was Calle San Lorenze, but that did not seem to exist, but the Google location showed it somewhere near Rua San Lourenzo. That was on the way out towards Finisterre, so navigation was easy, just follow the arrows again. We turned into the narrow side street where the Google location placed it and it was obviously not here. So we headed up Rua San Lourenzo to see if it was there. Number 51-53 was indeed a dance school, although it did not look the sort of place you would have a milonga, but we decided to come back tonight anyway.
We found another great place to eat, we had T bone with fried egg and chips 7.95e, how good is that? Set in a galleon with portholes and a binacle compass, they should have called the toilets “The Heads”, though”
We were showered and ready early. Viv had found a bargain dress to wear, how she always manages I will never know. So we set off again for Rua San Lourenzo. We arrived at nine thirty. No sign yet of anyone so we walked bck to Hotel San Lourenzo and had a drink. It seems to be all Germans here and Germany were playing Guyana, so we just sat back drinking.
We returned to the Dance school at about five past. Still no sign of life but a number of cars were now parked outside. In the one parked nearest we saw a guy and a girl heavily made up. On the dash was a shoe bag.
I tapped on the window “hay tango aqui anoche?” I asked. “No anoche es salsa” came the reply. So that was that then.
We walked back into town not quite knowing what we would do now. In the Cathedral square we could hear music and underneath the portico of the building opposite the Cathedral was a full mariachi band. They kept us entertained for some time, before we decided to move on.
Across the square and below the wall was a pipe band giving it some. two girls were jigging about until they were in a frenzy.
Then we walked across the square towards our home direction. This was a mistake, we got accosted by a guy who was giving us a history lesson in Galician music. I was not about to buy a CD of music I had never heard, we had quite a job getting away from him.
We wandered about some more, afraid to go back towards the cathedral in case we met that man again. So we headed back towards our hostel. We found a nice bar and stopped for a nightcap before heading back to bed.
Sunday morning, and we started with our museli and juice again but we still needed to get our coffee, before feeling human again.
We found our spot back behind the Cathedral and before long along came John the Canadian, then another girl from Orrison, and then came Richard and Tina.
Then we had the surprise of our lives, we met John and Vanessa. We thought that they had to return by now. They had bussed part way across the meseta, but a farmacia had advised her to take magnesium and her problems were eased. So, they too had finished here this weekend.
We were advised that the pews were filling, and so at 11:15 we tried to find a seat for the Pilgrim Mass. There was not a seat to be had, so we sat on a pillar base, Vanessa and John stood at the back.
Paul and Rachel had sat through the last mass and were going to sit through this one, but then decided to leave and gift us their seats. Rachel said “this is my gift to you” as we were reluctant to take their seats.
By shuffling along we managed to allow Vanessa in as well. We understood little of the service although some parts were translated. Despite this, the sound of the choir was beautiful and they got through the communion quickly by having many priests giving out the bread.
It was Burgos all over again though, after the service we lost touch with Vanessa and John when they rushed off to see the singers. So we left for some empanadas again.
Man may not live on bread alone, but the Finches can only take so much spirituality before we need feeding again.
We spent the day wandering, Viv was still looking for a swimsuit, but in the middle of the day in Spain hardly anything is open, on a Sunday you can pretty much forget it.
It was getting late and the Finches were hungry again. Viv was determined to have one of those pre made paellas, but we could see nothing. We passed a place selling Thia food, it looked a bit grotty so we moved on.
The sky was blackening, it looked like another Galician thunder storm was on the way. By the time we got to Cathedral square the rain drops had started. We saw Vanessa across the square sheltering. Time for a quick decision, do we cross the square and get soaked or do we turn around back to the Thai place, get fed and stay dry.
Sorry, Vanessa, twice you ran off from us, now it was our turn. By the time we reached the bar there were raindrops like saucers. When we sat at the table the street had turned into a river. It was hard to tell what was running off buildings and what was straight out of the sky.
The bar may have looked grotty but the food was excellent and well presented. It just shows, you can never tell what you are going to get here.
We stopped for a final drink in the bar just before the city gate. Ernest Hemingway stayed here apparently and his facsimile is still sitting here drinking. We drank to him and enjoyed the free tapas that come with the drinks here. It was a time to say goodbye to Santiago and all the friends we have met along the way.