George and I met for pre dinner drinks and were joined by Emma and Simon the brother sister from Yorkshire. They had been souvenir shopping properly, lots of gifts! Disappointingly for them the pilgrim museum that I had recommended was closed on Monday but they did seem to enjoy the cathedral more than I did. They queued to go and hug the statue of Saint James and said that the queue moved fast so when I get back to Santiago I might go and make the effort to queue!
George and I tried another place in Santiago for dinner. I have not had a bad meal yet but I also haven’t had a Pilgrim menu either. George and I shared a very large T-bone steak and salad which was really good, and felt like a good celebration meal for George. He now gets to wait and celebrate with Kari as she arrives today and I will have gone. She is the last of our extended group to arrive, so nice that someone is still around.
After our dinner we wandered back and I had to remind myself of the evening routine for packing up each day. That is one thing I won’t miss when I get back to England and that is a different bed and room each night. I have watched into the wall twice this trip getting confused about the room layout when looking for the bathroom! I am surprised it has not happened more often actually.
Emma, Simon and George were all at breakfast this morning which I was not expecting but it was nice to say final goodbyes as I headed off.
I can’t fully explain why but today I was almost giddy with excitement about this next stage. It doesn’t make sense because by comparison it is a very small stage just 89km to Finisterre and then another 29km to Muxia which compared to the 780km to Santiago is clearly nothing. Perhaps it is because I know the routine now, perhaps it is having had a break of a couple of days, or the fact that the weather is amazing with sun and blue skies again. Probably a combination but I am really excited and pleased to be heading on for this next stage.
The walk today was just stunning. More climbing than I expected, but overall a pretty straightforward day, 22km. The book does say that this is the easiest day of this stage, so I should probably enjoy it. I seemed to leave Santiago very quickly, it was not like Leon where the outskirts went on for ever. Within a couple of km I was back in woodland with a fairly early climb and view back to the spires of the cathedral.
The guidebook said that the marking is not as good as Camino Frances and that there will be 90% less pilgrims. I actually thought that the route was mapped pretty clearly, which was a relief. There were far less people but enough to know that I was not on my own and to say Hi from time to time but it was also a very peaceful walk today.
There were very few villages on the way and I had just given up in having a mid way coffee when this cafe appeared, which was great. I think I have come to expect a good strong coffee and a rest late morning and the prospect of some water was just not quite the same.
The timing was perfect too as it was about half way and just before the steepest climb of the day, which seemed to go in forever but was actually only about 350m!! It was quite steep in stages though. A group of Spanish guys passed me commenting on the angle of the climb, at least I think thats what they were saying, I agreed anyway! I bumped into them again later at the bridge below and took their picture.
Ponte Maceira was a beautiful spot, with a medieval bridge crossing the river just below the Weir, it was a very pretty spot. It is only once we arrived in Galicia that we have really seen any real rivers, prior to this everywhere was dry. The recent rain may well have helped of course.
I arrived in my first town of the new trip at about 1.45pm. My spot for the day looks nice. There is a cafe and bar but no dinner served so I will need to pop out and find something for dinner.
The town is quite big but quite sprawling and not very attractive, however it is always tricky to tell during siesta time as so much is closed. I am going to head in and have a shower and then have a proper explore.
I found about the only bar that seemed to have seats in the sun so I stopped for a glass of red wine. A couple of minutes later the lady popped out with some crisps and nuts, I was delighted since normally I get olives (which I don’t like). So I was feeling very pleased when 2 minutes later she was out with a plate of meat. Just brilliant, I have now had my appetiser for the price of my €1.50 glass of wine!! Have I mentioned that I love it here, so civilised, there is no way you would get these snacks with a glass of wine in London!