Santa Irene to Lavacolla

The walk today was a gentle 12 km through the countryside. We stopped at a couple of cafe's for coffee and refreshment and of course the Servicio moment. We passed a number of pilgrim signs in various places. I took a group photo for an excited bunch of Italian pilgrims which they appreciated. We passed Santiago Airport (CDQ) which Nikki arrived at last Saturday. At the end of the shorter stage today we stopped at Lavacolla.

 This village of Lavacolla is where the pilgrims in earlier years stopped to ritually cleanse themselves before heading on to Santiago. We revisited that particular ritual with a thorough shower in nice hot water. The guidebook says that the original water source is "putrid" now, so we have adapted it a little.
The pension we are staying at today had a fab menu peregrino. We had fish soup and a grilled fish Plato segundo. As ever I had vino tinto but today Nikki was on Agua because of the antibiotics. C'est la vie.

We reflect that each of us, es…

Arzua to Santa Irene

Today our journey was mainly through woodland and country tracks. At the back of mind was the John Denver classic of my youth "country roads" . It certainly wasn't West Virginia although there were plenty of American accents around. It was a bright sunny morning and turned from freezing to take your coat off by early afternoon. When the sun comes out the cafe bars open and today we enjoyed a couple along the way. It was nice enough to sit outside at one. So coffee, coke, and some pinchos made a refreshing lunch. There was a fab camillia in the garden too.

At one point the ever active graffiti artists had altered the sign for a small hamlet called  Suso" into "Super-Suso" which reminded us of  good friends we have called Sue. This picture is included by way of prayerful thanks for their love and support. You know who you are.

Tonight we are in a Xunta hostel just outside the hamlet of Santa Irene, named after an early Christian martyr. We have been munchin…

Casanova to Arzua

An eventful day after a peaceful night where Nikki and I were the only two people staying at the Casanova Albergue. We started out knowing that a call at a Centro Salud was going to be needed as Nikki's wheezing and coughing was not improving. The walking in the morning was fab. A light dusting of frost on the ground and sunshine could have fooled us into thinking that it was Autumn rather than the first day of Spring. We came across a rather cute stone bridge, and one or two other lovely views.

As we approached Melide at around Km 55, we got our Credentials stamped and sealed in wax - you never know what is coming next on the Camino! The man offering the service for a small donation was a Paralympic athlete, he also had various items, mainly t-shirts for sale. He spoke good English and was able to tell us where the health centre was and more importantly how to get there.

Nikki was duly signed in when we arrived using the passport and EHIC card. A few minutes later and we have a …

Night time

Ok so it's now 3.35 am and I have been awake since 2 am. The aroma and noise of around 40 pilgrims "sleeping" in a large dormitory with no ventilation is an experience in itself. Add to this the Germans, and yes it usually is in my limited experience, Germans; who think they are whispering "sotto voce" but couldn't if their lives depended upon it- and they are on the top bunks above my head... there is snoring that puts mine to shame, and I have already had to "persuade" the pilgrim next to me using my size 12 that  6€ ticket only entitles you to one bed, and that does not include mine. Perhaps it is a good thing that journeys end is in mental, if not visual sight. There is a human limit to all our patience and charity no matter how hard we try. P.S. I may have snored loudly earlier in the evening, in which case someone else is probably writing a similar and equally charitable blog!!!


Well that's name I would not have expected to appear in this blog, Casanova.

We spent today "stalking" a dad and his young son walking the Camino. They were our companions overnight at Eirexe and left before us in the morning. We came across them several times along the way, lastly in Casanova, where we are spending the night, they were going on to Melide.

During our journeying today we came across some amazingly big ants in a garden... munched a fab bacon and cheese bocadillo... got the requisite number of stamps in our credentials and saw lots of these interesting farm outbuildings too.

It has been tough going for Nikki who has an awkward pair of blisters and we had some first aid to do along the way. Eventually we found a cafe open and at that point an Albergue was what we needed. When we asked one of the ladies serving in the cafe where the nearest one was, she laughed and said "metros".  As we left she came out with us, pointed 20 m up the road and said &…

Portomarin to Eirexe

Most of the morning was spent catching up with, being overtaken by and re-catching a group of Irish Secondary Schoolgirls and their minders. What energy they had compared to the old and the unfit. The second feature of the day apart from the climb to 750 m was the bizarre weather. Clouds we had them, rain, we had that, sleet we greeted that a couple of times; sunny spells tick, driving snow too... fog was about the only weather we didn't get today. So we were rather damp when got to the Xunta Albergue at Eirexe.

Nikki did valiantly despite her "not being built for hills of any description", has joined the blister club and wanted to go home a few times but that is all part of the "normalisation" to Camino life. She has apologised for slowing me down, which she has, but this is now about getting two of us to the finishing line, so it really doesn't matter - but we do have to crack on.

Just the two pictures today for you blog followers...

The first of one of …

...and then there were two!

Sunday saw the arrival of Peregrina Nikki on the 13.14 train at Sarria Station. It was straight off on the trail too, just as well as it turned out. Nikki was soon introduced to the joys of the Camino... lovely tracks with fab views... and a hill or two, rain that comes and goes, but mostly stays, and a hill or two. The frustrations of cafes not yet open, albergues not yet open and a hill or two. Then then challenge of treading your way carefully in muddy sections, trying not to do a swum Camino , especially on hill slopes. What was supposed to be a 10 km gentle introduction to Camino life for a variety of reasons, turned into a baptism of fire at 24 km. By the time we found the poorly signposted Albergue in Portomarin it was past 8 pm, after dark and still damp. We ended up with top bunks which was a challenge to both of us. Sleeping in a dormitory of around 25 others is also a challenge. I haven't seen that many pilgrims in one place until then.

Considering the distance we walk…