Day 26, Oct 24: Santiago to Negreira, 13mi

It was strangely hard for me to leave today.  I let myself sleep in because of 2 nights in a row staying up so late (experiencing the late-night food scene!), and today I don’t have that far to walk to my first destination on the way to the coast.  But, I really felt like I was dragging my feet.  I packed up, had breakfast of some food I had leftover, and then still stopped in the cafe next to my hotel at noon before leaving.  I bought another piece of cake there – yesterday I had pumpkin, today it was carrot and walnut – and had a cup of coffee while I sent a couple more emails.  I still didn’t feel like leaving the city, so I walked over to the park that I had discovered my first day arriving here in Santiago.  That day had been sunny and bright; today was overcast and drizzly.  I took a lap around the park and let my feelings float around — I know the end of my trip is coming soon, and I feel ready to go home in some ways, and not ready in others.  I took a couple photos from the park in the rain, and then walked back to the Cathedral to get onto the “Camino Fisterra”, which is the route I’ll follow to the coast.

The Cateral de Santiago in the background on a rainy day; this photo was taken at a big park I had walked through on my first day in Santiago.  I re-walked it before leaving today.

The Cateral de Santiago in the background on a rainy day; this photo was taken at a big park I had walked through on my first day in Santiago. I re-walked it before leaving today.

 

There was a rock band playing in the square where the Cathedral is – a funny paradox of a combination, but I liked it.  I walked past it, double-checked that I was heading the right direction (!), and took a deep breath.  Why is this hard today?

 

I think it’s because I “finished” the Camino in Santiago, and there is some relief and celebration in that.  I am VERY grateful and excited to get to walk 4 more days, but it’s a strange combination of feelings to be “done” with the Camino and yet still carry on.  I am a little nervous about the route; the Camino Frances is the most well-traveled route and is SO well-marked with yellow arrows that it’s almost funny.  I have heard that the route to Finisterre/Muxia (both the coastal towns) is not quite as well-marked.  Plus, I read that only about 10% of pilgrims carry on to the coast.  So some of my nervousness is because there will be many less people around and I’m afraid to get lost!

 

The day was cloudy and drizzly, but the trail was absolutely gorgeous.  The low clouds were lovely amongst the super-green foliage.  The constant moisture is why it’s so green here!  After about 30 minutes of seeing  yellow arrow at every turn/intersection/road crossing, I was convinced that the route would be marked well enough I didn’t need to worry.  I settled into my rhythm of walking and began to enjoy.  It started to rain about an hour in, and this lasted about 90 minutes of some real rain.  It wasn’t cold, and I had my backpack cover and rain  jacket on, and I used my umbrella.  It seemed a little silly to walk many kilometers with an umbrella, but it was working well!  It was not cold enough to be able to withstand my big poncho/parka that covers me and my backpack; that would just make me sweat a ton.  The umbrella-method worked fine (because it wasnt windy).  The rain subsided after a couple hours, and the sun came back out.

 

The route to the coast was well-marked and my fears were unfounded!  Finisterra (or "Fisterra" in the Galacian dialect) is my final destination, and I will walk first through (and stay in ) the coastal town of Muxia, which is pronounced Moo-SHE-a.

The route to the coast was well-marked and my fears were unfounded! Finisterra (or “Fisterra” in the Galacian dialect) is my final destination, and I will walk first through (and stay in ) the coastal town of Muxia, which is pronounced Moo-SHE-a.

 

After 2 hours, I came upon another pilgrim.  Since I had left Santiago later in the day (around 1:45), I figured anyone on the trail would be well ahead of me.  I found that a few others had also left later.  This middle-aged man named Victor was Spanish and very personable.  I chatted with him in Spanish a little, and because we had similar paces, we ended up walking the rest of the way together.  He was a lovely man, very genuine and kind, and he spoke fairly slowly (compared to some), so I could understand him quite well.  We had some really good conversation, all in Spanish.

 

We came across a stone bridge where the light was falling in a perfect way on the river and stone buildings near it.  We paused to take a few photos.  A young man (pilgrim) named Sam appeared and asked if we would like him to take our photo.  He was American, from Boston, but spoke Spanish quite well.  We all 3 ended up walking the rest of the way together (about an hour), all of us speaking only in Spanish, and having a great time.  We all went to the Albergue Municipal, on the far end of Negreira, and then decided to go to dinner together too.  It was such a unique and fun experience to be speaking Spanish with another America and a Spaniard; Sam and I could have spoken English to each other, but we didn’t.  We wanted Victor to be included, too.  It was a lovely evening; both men were very thoughtful, kind, and conversational.  I was glad for their company and conversation tonight.

 

Victor, from central Spain, who I met and chatted with today for a few hours during my walk.  He is very lovely man and I was glad to meet him and get to talk in Spanish with him.

Victor, from central Spain, who I met and chatted with today for a few hours during my walk. He is very lovely man and I was glad to meet him and get to talk in Spanish with him.

 

 

A view from a stone bridge about an hour before I arrived at my destination today.  The sunlight was just right and the setting was breathtakingly beautiful!

A view from the stone bridge Victor and I crossed over about an hour before I arrived at my destination today. The sunlight was just right and the setting was breathtakingly beautiful!

 

Victor and I met Sam, from Boston but who spoke Spanish very well, at the stone bridge.  He joined us and we all 3 walked the last hour into Negreira.

Victor (L) and I met Sam (R), from Boston but who spoke Spanish very well, at the stone bridge. He joined us and we all 3 walked the last hour into Negreira.  The light was just beautiful at this point in the day. 

 

Sam from Boston, Whit from Colorado, and Victor from Spain.  We walked together for a while, speaking all in Spanish, and then got dinner together and continued some nice conversation.

Sam from Boston, Whit from Colorado, and Victor from Spain. We walked together for a while, speaking all in Spanish, and then got dinner together and continued some nice conversation.

 

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