Things I have not said-

Well, there are many but waiting here at La Coruna airport cafe with time on my hands seems a good time to complete.

there is such a cocktail of joy and sadness finishing the camino- people meet in such a unique way along the road- everyone is vulnerable and so at some point everyone opens their heart to someone or ones.

Walking to Fisterre from Cee was a lovely walk. A quiet man called Simon from Mauritius who had worked as a nurse in Brighton walked out of the albergue with me to find bread. I was disappointed because bread and salad and fruit had disappeared from my bag in the hostel kitchen and I felt a little vulnerable because I had picked up odd vibes from a tall bearded dishevelled older guy. I asked Simon about him and he said that yes, he was strange but he thought he was suffering mentally and I wasn’t to worry because he was not going to Fisterre. It was Sunday but Carrefour was open in the town centre. We were both delighted to find that there was a Sunday market on and I found bread for the day. He then walked with me for a kilometre or so around the bay until we arrived at the church where we parted. He was such a kind unassuming man and although he wasn’t in his slippers- I thought he was – so to speak!

i have posted some pictures of that beautiful day so why oh why did I not photograph the fish?!!

Walking along the 2k beach towards Finisterre  thinking about not much at all just beach combing -what should I see but a perfect shiny – massively edible, silver fish – with a shinier eye than any I’ve seen at the fishmongers! With feral speed and deep joy I retrieved my trusty opinel, gutted it in the sea- much to the disapproval of a small French audience and bagged it in a spare bolsa! The thing is- I was not to worry, tea was provided. I had had in fact, two opportunities that afternoon- meeting a Spanish man and his son who were passing me down a forest path carrying a good forage of chanterelles! They said it would be easy for me to find some there were many in the woods- I had considered it but I was heading – on a hot day for the sea!

Fear of men and dislike? Everything comes up for attention. The beautiful bay I found myself in and from which you have photo graphs revealed itself to be occupied-only after a long toil down,by two older gentlemen  who had decided for themselves that this was a nudist beach. What to do? Well clearly not strike up a conversation, not take all my own clothes off, not scuttle off in embarrassment- I wanted this beach with an ache in my heart! so I found a corner which looked quite demure put on my scabby long tea shirt and strode defiantly into the silk sea. Many of the photo’s taken have a pause waiting for said gentlemen to get out if frame. So glad I didn’t have my contacts in or glasses on!

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Leaving Santiago de Compostela

Well, this is where having very little Spanish becomes a problem. Having been told that the bus station was 5 minutes walk away- I discover thus not to be true and spend an hour and a half walking all over to find this other bus station on the outskirts of town, missed my bus but am catching one at 18.15 – which is a pity since I would have like to spend this beautifully sunny day in the Galician lanes heading to the sea! It is also Saturday and I needed to get more cash out of an ATM but all the banks are closed! Using an ATM outside a closed bank took some courage following my recent experience! However- praying hard I put the card in and was very relieved when the screen read’ hello Mrs. Jennifer  Hewitt!’ It knows me! hurrah! Money should be enough to walk and pay for bus plus 3 nights albergue accommodation on coast

Santiago de Compostela !!!

Nice Irish fellow walker- Ger ( Gerald))
Nice Irish fellow walker- Ger ( Gerald))

it it was an extremely emotional experience for me arriving at Monte Gozo and looking over the city of Santiago. There is a small chapel there which has those fairground votive. candles that light automatically – however my internal experience super ceded these minor impediments and there were prayers for you all n’ me all! Hope you don’t mind! Ger who is, I think a practising Catholic very kindly left me to it and then we proceeded. Both of us had to stop and be measured for bandage supports at the next available pharmacy- him for his ankle and me my left knee which had decided to play up immediately we were in the vicinity of S de C!

Santiago city is so beautiful- ancient medieval and alive with something more than just commerce since it is a University city. Maybe I should have stayed longer. But cities are expensive.


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View from my window in the Benedictine monastery

View

It was really down to Ger that I ended up staying in the incredible Benedictine Monasterio which overlooks the cathedral. He just marched straight in to this immense building which to me looked like Buckingham Palace. My joy & surprise when I asked (rather sheepishly) at the reception desk whether they had rooms for pilgrims -yes! And the price 23 euros WITH breakfast!

what a breakfast… I made my sandwiches for the rest of the day from the cut and come again spread –

Monasterio breakfast!!!
Monasterio breakfast!!!

I ambled the streets for a bit in the morning, feeling wonderful to be able to leave my belongings behind in my room which I did not have to quit before midday!

I had an idea that I might have liked to stay an extra night but it was not to be – no more space! The pilgrim’s mass was at midday- an extra ordinary experience! A censer weighing I am told around 60 kilos on a rope and pulleys descending around(estimate) 36 feet from the roof- and then they swing it! The full arc! My goodness gracious me!

O Cadavo to As Seixas

Des res en route
Des res en route

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Sweet animals en route
Sweet animals en route
Light playing through the chesnuts
Light playing through the chesnuts

I walked alone today to heading for As Seixas – It feels good walking alone and I have established a good rhythm and have been wearing the much admired rain kilt! Clearly rules of sartorial elegance are somewhat different along the camino ! I decided not to push the kilometres much today as I still felt a bit weird from my day off resting. I was definitely coming to though – in the morning I noticed the terrible state of cleanliness at O Cadavo – left over food piled high on a plate greeted me by the kettle in the early morning. Yuck! Those genial men need a female eye around to ensure the ambience does not get spoilt by grubby habits.

I  arrived at the Municipal Refuge in As Seixas, dripping wet and early- the hospitallerios are never open before 1pm. Luckily there was a deep sheltered porch where I was able to sit and drink a warmish coffee from the vending machine. The rain slaked down.  Eventually the small rather tough looking lady arrived and let me in. I was delighted with the beautiful interior, polished cement floor with underfloor heating, a balcony right next to my chosen bunk with a completely glazed wall where I could sit and read Emily’s kindle after a hot shower and warm up.

In the evening I met with a lovely couple Maria and Marcos and Mark  – an American man travelling with his daughter who had chosen to study in Europe and whom he missed terribly – hence the walk. Her name was a gaelic one, hard for me to fix in memory – something like Arwyn meaning peace. She had no dry clothes left and so came to the bar in her dad’s clothes! I only have a pic of Maria and Marcos but I hope one day to hear from the American two.

Maria and Marcos
Maria and Marcos

Castro Verde to Lugo

Leaving Castro Verde - early morning.
Leaving Castro Verde – early morning.

Left early walking alone for half of the day, then met a woman called Lou from Maine who I had already thought I would like to chat with. We walked the rest of the way to Lugo, sharing lunch and exchanging stories. An inspiring woman, 62, feminist activist and really engaging. I am feeling tired and the big city of Lugo was daunting for me _ elected to cook ‘instant risotto’ on the one ring that worked at the hostel. Two nice surprises- a long chat with Willow and the excellent news about J Cornyn and then my friend Manuela who was still in Lugo with her boyfriend Alberto hooked up with me to introduce us.image Continue reading

O Cadavo to Castro Verde

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My friend Manuela on departing

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Morning mists along the way
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Walking through beautiful pine forest

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This remarkable little guy was keen to show off his 'gallery' of small roughly made wooden forest artifacts
This remarkable little guy was keen to show off his ‘gallery’ of small roughly made wooden forest artifacts

Okay- so today I have been ‘in transition’ at least that’s what it feels like – saying goodbye to manuela who is finishing her camino today by walking 22k further to Lugo. I woke this morning in the fog that had descended on O Cadavo with a bit of a catarrhal cough so having walked 8k a really beautiful walk through pine forests as the mist lifted I decided to rest. Afternoon siesta as the hostel opened at 1.00pm Now sitting with the cerveza in the warm evening making contact with a new group of peregrinos.
There is a very interesting 14th century keep with no obvious door in it- reminds me of the tarot card ‘The Tower’.
It’s only 22k to Lugo and I hope to make an early start tomorrow as the forecast is for rain. I am not a city bird but it looks as if I will have to brave it for one night. Anyway off to the bar down the road to see if I can pick up enough internet signal to paste up this post. Don’t worry- the afternoon’s rest appears to be working it’s trick.xx