Thursday, October 27, 2011

Camino De Santiago - Santiago De Compostela To Negreira

The first day of my trek to Fisterra started out foggy and it started out early.  I walked back to the cathedral where you took a ramp next to the Parador hotel down to the street below.

The Camino was not marked well.  The markers seemed to be spaced out farther than before.  I reached a point where I could either turn right or go up stairs.  Naturally I assumed the Camino went up the stairs.  For once this was not the right answer.  At the top of the stairs I wandered around a bit, looked at the map I'd picked up at the tourism office, and got myself back on the right path.  Not the best start.

The Camino reaches a small park called the San Lourenzo Oak Grove.  At this point you see the first concrete marker with a distance marked.  The marker said 88,022 km - a scary number until you realize that Europeans use a comma for the decimal point.  (I briefly looked for a geocache near here but it was too dark and decided it would wait for my return to Santiago de Compostella).  The rest of the way to Fisterra would be clearly marked.

The Camino leaving the city is very similar to the Camino on the way in to Monte de Gozo - nice villages and eucalyptus forests.  I looked back at one point and took a picture of the cathedral spires sticking out of the fog.

It started to drizzle a bit so I stopped in a place for breakfast.  I had a fresh and hot bocadillo de tortilla francesa (a scrambled egg sandwich) and some orange juice.  It really tasted good.

The Camino was easy going until you reached the town of Aguapesada.  The Camino briefly takes you off the main road and has you cross a small roman bridge before taking you right back to the road you were on.  Then you leave the main road and go ... up.  The Camino here is a combination of steep sections and slow long inclines.  That hill took a lot out of me.

On the way down the hill I was passed by a Spaniard (I would see him on and off on my way to Fisterra).  He was walking a a much faster pace than I was and he was smoking.  I could smell him as he walked ahead of me.  I was a little pissed at myself that a smoker was smoking me.

At the bottom of the hill I crossed a cool old bridge in Ponte Maceira.  There was a large castle like building on the other side with groomed gardens.  Not sure what it was ... possibly a hotel?  Looked almost idyllic surrounded by it's groomed grounds.

I reached Negreira and then the search for an albergue started.  I passed one private albergue that was not open yet.  I went farther in search for the municipal albergue but turned around when I realized I was leaving the town.  I went to another private albergue which was open but expensive.  I finally asked someone on the street where the municipal albergue was.  His directions took me almost a half mile out of town before I found it.

I dropped my pack in line, removed my boots, and started writing in my journal waiting for the place to open.  As I did this I realized that the albergue was out in the middle of nowhere.  I made a decision, put my boots back on, put on my pack and walked back into town and stopped at the first private albergue I'd passed.  It was centrally located across from an internet place and less than a block from a grocery store.  I'd agonized over the choice of albergue for almost forty minutes and walked over a mile.  I never realized how much I'd delegated the albergue selection to GV.

The albergue, La Lua (The Moon), opened and I settled into a lower bunk in the back corner of a large room.  The place smelled of incense and the hospitaleros were a little on the hippy side which I liked.  I did my chores and went out to find a place for lunch.

I found a bar not too far away and ordered a hamburger completo.  To my surprise, it was an actual hamburger.  The 'completo' meant that it came with lettuce, onion, and tomato.  I forgot to order fries but that was okay.  The burger was pretty good and hit the spot.

I stopped at the grocery store on the way back and stocked up for the next day.  I went back to the albergue and took a long nap.  I made a turkey and tomato sandwich for dinner before crossing the street to the video/internet place to send out emails.  On the way out of the internet place I bought some red licorice which I downed back at the the albergue.  I wrote a bit in my journal.  I worried a little bit about the pain in my right heel (which I now know was related to the twisted pelvis issue I am currently working to correct).

That night I had some hard core heartburn ... damn candy ... it was the bane of my existence along the Camino.  Never again ... but it tasted soooo good.

Day thirty-seven ended with a first, a family walking the Camino.  A couple with three small children (I would say 2, 4, and 6-ish).  The children were well behaved and this albergue had a children's activity area.   While I didn't really talk with anyone, I was content.  I felt pretty good, my mood was upbeat, and my adventure continued a little longer.

Total Distance: 14.00 Miles (22.53 km)
Total Time: 5 hours 9 minutes
Total Elevation Up: 1,981 ft (603.81 m)
Total Elevation Down: 2,298 ft (700.43 m)

2011-06-20 Santiago de Compostela to Negreira
[Click on map for a larger version]


missmccracken said...

Sitting with a mug of tea and reading about your adventures is so nice. I bet it would be especially nice in a book format (hint,hint!) :)

Bruce H. said...

Miss McC: I don't think my writing is quite Book caliber ... but thanks for the hint :-)