Today was a beautiful day on the Camino de Santiago! Hm -- is it still the Camino de Santiago if I'm walking towards Finisterre? We got a much later start than intended this morning; much much later. We were going to rise at five thirty and leave by six ... we rose at seven and left at eight ... and stopped for breakfast, putting our official "leave Santiago" time at 8:40am. Eek. Finding our way out of the city and onto the path was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be; usually we get a little turned around coming in and out of the bigger towns. We climbed up and out of Santiago, took a look back at the city from the top of the hill, and kept on climbing.
About this time it started to drizzle. I didn't want my pack to get wet at all, so I put my rain cover on -- smart move: putting on the rain cover at this point; dumb move: not putting on my rain jacket. About five minutes after the rain cover was in place the skies opened up and buckets poured from above. God is in the rain. I actually love hiking in the rain. I prefer it to hiking in the sun, even if I don't have my rain jacket on. With the rain falling, CJ and I pressed on up hills and through little towns until we got to our first cafe where we dried off and ate a (second) breakfast: tortilla and tea for CJ, tortilla and colacao for me. I really do love Spanish breakfast. After a bit of a rest and fueling up, we went back to the trail -- a big hill was yet to come.
While approaching the start of the incline, we met a nice couple from Switzerland -- they started in Santiago and are just walking to Finesterre; they have walked caminos in their past. They soon let us pass them and veered off at a cafe while CJ and I walked on. Hills are not my favorite, but this one was made less terrible by the tall sheltering trees surrounding the path: the damp ground, the cool breeze, the smell of eucalyptus -- if I must walk up, this is how I like to do it! After a three kilometer climb to the top, we started to make our way back down, crossing over a really neat old bridge and a beautiful waterfall. We stopped at a cafe right before the waterfall for a cold drink before pressing on.
And finally we made it to Negreira, a tiny city boasting four albergues and two grocery stores. CJ didn't feel well when we woke up this morning (stuffy nose, sneezy, headache) so when we got to the albergue he went to sleep while I showered and went in search of groceries. I found the store, grabbed some veggies and noodles and milk, and came back to the albergue to make us some dinner. By the time I got back, CJ was awake and getting ready for a shower. I joined the rest of the Camino chef pilgrims in the kitchen and got to work.
CJ and I enjoyed our dinner in the company of a pilgrim from Australia and a pilgrim from Montana -- both were excited to share of their adventures prior to Santiago on the French Way; it was fun reminiscing with them about the French way, comparing different albergues we stayed at and delighting in the times we stayed in the same albergues. I forgot how much more busy the French Way is than the other routes -- this walk to Finisterre is much like that: packed with pilgrims, filled albergues, pilgrims cooking and taking up every corner of the towns ... On one hand, it is fun: it is social and conversational and familial. But on the other hand, it is noisy and exhausting and busy. There is something to be said for the smaller, less populated routes. I think the part of me who does the Camino to find peace and prayer and wholeness prefers the smaller routes. The part of me who enjoys meeting new people and learning from the stories of others is very much enjoying this section, the route to Finisterre.
And now CJ and I are in the bunk room amongst already sleeping pilgrims and those preparing to settle in; I think if the sun set earlier I could be sleepy, but because the sun stays bright until after ten (the sun sets at 22:04) it is hard to think about sleep. So instead we are exchanging foot massages (CJ is the best -- my achy feet have received massages almost every day!) and playing cards.
Here are some pictures from today:
Tomorrow is a loooooong day: 35 kilometers. We plan to get an early start (though as you can read, we haven't been very good at early rising ...). Maybe tomorrow will be different. Pray for small hills and strong feet!!
Buen Camino. ❤