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City: Rancho Palos Verdes
Begins: Mar 27, 2016
Date: Mon, Apr 25th, 2016
Entry Visits: 188
Journal Visits: 14,745
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Day 29 - Back in Santiago
The albergue where I stayed in Pedrouza was really very good. It was fairly new and typically the modern ones like this are equipped with individual low intensity lights per bed and lots of power outlets. This one also had some long beds (2.0 m versus the standard 1.9 m) and because I asked for one I ended up in a separate section all to myself. I slept really well and was a little later than usual getting going.
The trail spent much of the time in eucalyptus woodland just far enough from the main road to be quite tranquil. There was the usual convoy of hikers stretching as far as I could see. One of them I had met briefly yesterday was from Las Vegas and we chatted briefly but she was going quite slow so I soon wished her buen Camino and took off. The trail then went past Santiago airport that for a small regional airport was quite busy as three large passenger jets took off while I was in earshot. The trail planners clearly tried to make this last section as memorable as possible so there was a lot more woodland sections. But eventually the urban sprawl of Santiago took over and the last few kilometers were all beside a busy road with several roundabouts. It was interesting that within the city limits, all the direction signs completely vanished. That struck me as really odd given that they have led us every step of the way from St Jean in France and then leave us to figure out the last two kilometers with no help.
There was a large sign that became the photo location. Beside it was a very modern style monument to many of the prominent people historically associated with the Camino. And then, I was back in the cathedral square having now completed the Camino Frances. I went down to the pilgrim office - ironically now I knew where it was and didn't have to spend an hour searching for it, somebody came up to me and told me exactly where it was. The line was a bit longer this time but it moved quickly and soon I was the proud recipient of a Camino Frances completion certificate. I went over to the tourist information desk and was given a very good map of the Camino Finisterre that showed the distances and profiles for each segment.
Most importantly I got some money from an ATM but although I was now hungry I skipped all the Santiago restaurants thinking I'd find my way out of the city and then just stop at the first cafe that shows up. Not one of my better plans. The trail went into woodland for several kilometers and there were few houses and no businesses at all. I even got a nice view of the town with the cathedral (and its scaffolding on one tower). I went past one house and it looked like someone was at home so I went up the driveway to ask for some water. The guy was really nice and was happy to fill my bottle. I asked him about a cafe and he said the next one was 40 km away which was going to be a real problem since the town I was planning on staying at was now less than 20 km. I think we must have had a communication problem so I wrote it off. Then I met another hiker coming the other way and he said the nearest cafe was closed on Monday but there was one open about 6 km away. At the closed cafe, a guy was working there so I asked him and he said it was now just 1 km to the next cafe. About 2 km further on I met a woman sitting in her car and she told me I was 5 minutes away. Two km later, I hit the main road and there was the cafe. I can't believe that all of those responses were misinterpreted; luckily I put most credence on the hiker and he was spot on.
After my late lunch, I descended along a road and then went into the woods and hit a really big hill, a climb of over 200 m in 2 km. After that it was all downhill to a river with an old bridge - A Ponte Maceira. Then I was at the day’s endpoint, the largest town of this short Camino, Negreira. I checked in to another modern albergue and after a shower went looking for a restaurant for dinner. I stopped at a bar/restaurant called the Imperial. The owner was from England and after a brief chat we discovered that he and his wife met at the Imperial hotel in Barnstaple, Devon which is the town I was born in and my sister still lives there. It was such a coincidence that I just happened to pick this bar over several others but quite fortuitous because he and his wife were very helpful and gave me a lot more information on places to stay and eat. A great evening to end a long day with another accomplishment under my belt.
Camino De Santiago - Part Deux
The Camino de Santiago is the name of any of the pilgrimage routes to the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the saint are buried. Many take up this route as a form of spiritual path or retreat, for their spiritual growth.
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