Camino de Santiago

Camino de Santiago – Day Five

The final day of walking was from O Pedrouzo to Camino de Santiago, a walk of around twelve miles. The morning started by walking from the hotel to our breakfast location, with the sun just starting to rise. I was also pleased by the sight, as I have the motto of ‘red sky in the morning, craft beer in the evening’ which I feel is a useful modern adaption of the old phrase.

Located along the main street of the town is this cafe which was busy with pilgrims ready to start their adventure. Seven of us intended to have breakfast here, but it transpired to be eight as Gordon came along after his B&B owner didn’t understand him doing impressions of chickens to try and get some eggs.

The breakfast food and drink, which was reasonably priced although the service wasn’t the most timely. And there was a scandal caused when Gordon didn’t get as much toast as some others in our group…. Bev also loudly announced that there was no toilet paper, although she loudly announced other things that I won’t willingly mention at this juncture.

We saw this cat near to the start of the walk and I’m sure Dylan and Leon would have recognised how similar it looked to their cat   🙂

The day’s adventure began by walking through what I thought was quite an atmospheric woodland area. Although the trees didn’t feel particularly ancient, there was a timeless feel to the surroundings.

The woodland went on for some distance, but the historic route stopped because it had to be diverted around the city’s airport.

The sun shining through the woods, although the feeling of remoteness was taken away from me as an aircraft took over around 100 feet away.

The appearance of the airport, which is where we were to fly back to the UK from, was in contrast to the peaceful walking environment of the morning.

Fast paced Steve and I went on a little ahead, finding a handy drinks stop at Porta de Santiago to wait for the others. The toilet situation was a little complex as it required a number, which I had, but the cafe’s insistence on this policy meant that there was no queue. So I approved.

The others appear in the distance.

The drink which I rewarded myself with at the cafe, which had become something of a favourite during the walk.

The church at Iglesia de San Paio and there was an opportunity for those with pilgrim passports to have them stamped.

One of the sculptures inside, although I’ve struggled to find out much more about the church. I felt at numerous points along the route that it would have been useful and interesting for more information to be provided about these beautiful small churches.

A resting cat just before we reached Lavacolla.

This is Lavacolla, which is the settlement where pilgrims would wash themselves in the river to cleanse themselves before commencing on the last part of their journey. The literal translation of the town name is perhaps just a little coarse, so I’ll loosely translate it as ‘washing place’.

Standing on the bridge looking over the river, or stream, at Lavacolla.

And the stream itself, which did feel just a little anti-climatic if I’m being honest.

Soon after Lavacolla there was another stream and what looked like former bathing facilities. There were steps down to the river here and it gave the appearance of being a place where pilgrims would wash.

A directional sign made of shells.

A dog. I probably didn’t need to clarify that, but I have nothing else interesting to add about the dog.

With around five miles of the walk left to go it was evident that one walker got fed up with their boots.

This is the group that Bev had taken a photograph of the previous day and we were to meet them numerous more times, including ultimately at the airport on the way home.

This is the Monumento de Monte do Gozo, which frankly needed some care and attention. The area around it has been loosely roped off and the monument itself isn’t in the best state of repair. Nearby is the Chapel San Marcos but I was surprised how uninventive this site was, because it has great symbolism as it’s where the city’s cathedral came into view.

The area was modernised in 1993, which was four years after Pope John Paul II had preached here in the attendance of large crowds. Unfortunately, 25 years have now passed and it’s evident that much more needs to be done here to improve the site. Perhaps toilets, a Greggs (or at least a cafe) and some landscaping with benches would improve things somewhat.

This is the first sight of the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela and although I can’t say that I felt any special spiritual thoughts at this point, I can imagine just how exciting this must have been for pilgrims in the past.

The motorway just before the city. Just before this motorway was a little incident involving Sarah and a man watering the plants in his garden. I have no comment to make about the details, but for those who know her, don’t hesitate to question Sarah about it.

And the city sign. Our lunch stop was shortly after this, at La Bodeguilla de San Lázaro, which proved to be sufficiently eventful for me to post about separately. Steve B also had an exciting experience on his way into the city centre, but modesty yet again prevents me from writing more. Actually, I fear I’m not mentioning quite a lot of things about this trip, but I have to be careful not to be facing legal action.

The destination for generations of pilgrims, the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. There has been scaffolding outside the cathedral for some years, but this has recently been removed whilst works have instead begun inside the building.

And we’re finally there, all standing in front of the cathedral.

And me, standing awkwardly, something which I do well.

And to quote Tony Blair (which I don’t do very often), “that is the end of that”.