Oct 252009

The time changed last night, giving me an extra hour before Mass at noon to get ready for the walk to Finisterre which is 90k west of Santiago on the Atlantic coast. I want to meet up with Nando & Eduardo there. Tradition says it is where pilgrims ritually burn their clothes, we have 3 quarters of Guylène’s scarf.
I couldn’t bear the smell when I put on my damp clothes this morning, a mixture of sweat and mildew from the horrid little cupboards at the head of each bed. The room in the basement with the washer doesn’t close at 9:30, like the rest of the Seminario does, so I did my laundry, had boxed carrot soup and the remains of my asparagus for breakfast and met another American, Brian from Cincinnatti.

A Ponte Maceira

A Ponte Maceira

Rushing out the door a couple hours later in clean, dry (sweet smelling) clothes I was stunned to find that the sun was out and the city flooded wth light. Edurne, Olga & Quitterie were just arriving. So glad to see them!
Nando had a plan to walk to Negreira in the am and take the bus to Olveira, and I would either do the same or take the bus to Olveira in the pm. The flaw in this plan is that there is no bus to Olveira, as I discovered when I stopped at the tourist office for a bus schedule.
My feet were itching to walk so I just set off. Even though the sun was out it was very humid, and water still glistened on the leaves of the trees.


Looking back at Santiago

Climbed up a hill for beautiful views of Santiago before dipping down through more eucalyptus and oak forests and towns that had the feeling of a cross between farms and suburbs. The houses were newer and larger and had lawns – one with a soccer field and another with a volleyball net – though every house also had dogs and roosters who noisily heralded my passing. Every house also has a grape arbor that covers a signicant portion of the yard, and are now heavy with yellow leaves and grapes. Also signs of local life. A young couple on a bridge with a young girl playing pooh sticks. A boy on a bike, maybe 11, passed me several times on a long straight country road on a gentle hill. He would chug up to the top then fly down, yelling, one arm brandishing an imaginary something. At one point he turned into a farm compound, and the windows of the house were festooned with orange construction paper pumpkins with ‘feliz halloween’ written on them.
An adorable, tiny medival bridge, complete with sunning cat, now leads from the yard of a house to nowhere in Augapasada. Followed a few ks later by the stunning 14 c bridge and river with millhouse at A Ponte Maceira. There was a huge silhouetted heron fishing, caught a fish and flew down stream, enormous wing span. Saw Roberto and 2 other Italians strolling along the riverside walk. Tempted to stay at accommodations at east end of bridge – 25 euros, lodging, dinner, breakfast.
Continued through oak & fern forests paralleling the river. Long evening shadows, leaves and ground still glistening in the sun, humid, but much cooler.
The albergue in Negreira is on the far side of town, through a magnificent wall of arches and past a plaza with an interesting statue  where the crew was cleaning up from the weekly mercadillo. As soon as I entered town local residents told me the albergue was full.
I checked to make sure that Nando was not there, then with help of Norberto and the Spanish Roberto found a single room at the nearest hotel. Like the seminario the sleeping area is on the 3rd floor, up amazingly steep and long flights of stairs. But here the water is hot instead of on the cold side of tepid, and comes in a bathtub with soap and two white towels! The double bed has sheets and blankets. The windows open.

25 Oct 2009

  2 Responses to “Day 35 – Santiago à Negreira ~ 22k”

  1. Hi Jeanne, congratulations on making it to Santiago. It seems a life time ago that we met for the last time in Santo Domingo de la Calzada. Kaye and I visited Yuso Monastery in the afternoon and then the next day we took the bus to Bilbao and went to visit the town of Guernica, which was bombed by the Germans in 1937 and is now immortalised in the famous painting by Picasso. The town is the centre of the Basque government and we were able to visit the government buildings and see the ancient oak tree where all the laws were sworn in [and still are]. Then it was back to Bilbao for some retail therapy and the plane home and back to real life with a bang ! And so it is… work, home, family and all the other activities that make up daily life. All the things that I am sure you are looking forward to returning to. I so admire you for making the journey to Santiago and onward to Finnestere. Kaye is off on two weeks holiday to Italy today and is still nursing the last of her blisters!
    An Old Irish Blessing
    May the road rise up to meet you.
    May the wind always be at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your face,
    and rains fall soft upon your fields.
    And until we meet again,
    May your God hold you in the palm of His hand.

  2. Romayne,
    I am sitting at dinner with the German woman Beata. Just today she was telling me how much you and Kaye helped her in Azofra when she was angry. We just watched the sunset together at Finisterre.
    Thank you for the update, wonderful to hear from you!

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