It’s December. It’s cold outside and I’ve got a cold. As I’m stuck on the sofa nursing inflamed sinus and a cough cough cough… I’ve kept myself happy by planning my 2018 camino… or should I say Gerry’s 2018 birthday trip.
My lovely husband is celebrating a rather special birthday in 2018 but he doesn’t want a party; instead he wants to go walking in Northern Spain. The Camino del Norte meanders its way along the northern coast of Spain and it makes sense for us to follow this route. Gerry is a fairly easy going sort of chap but he prefers to walk around 20-25 km a day and he’s not a fan of albergues; he prefers to know that he has a comfortable bed and a private bathroom waiting for him at the end of the day. So whilst we’re following the camino this is definitely more of a hiking holiday.
I’ve spent the weekend in front of the fire pouring over routes and variations and GPS tracks and blogs and I’ve come up with a plan. We’re going to take the train to Hendaye and walk from the station to our first hotel (about 6.8km). If my calculations are correct we should be in Llanes on the 11th October. We’ll walk one more day and then Gerry will return home and I might (might) carry on and cross over to the Camino Primitivo… although I’ve been told that I’ll be back in the albergues and on a pilgrim’s budget. 😀
I’m the kind of pilgrim who prefers to walk without too much of a plan. The problem with a plan is that things can change (or go wrong) and if there is a schedule you feel like you have to stick to it. But, I’ve made my peace with this over weekend as this isn’t my camino, it’s Gerry’s holiday and I so love walking with this chap. And, if I continue along to the Camino Primitivo I can switch back into pilgrim mode… although I have a sneaky feeling that I’m going to miss Gerry a great deal.
So… it looks like we’re both going to be in training! The Norte and the Primitivo are difficult walks and we need to be ready for the challenges we’ll face… and I have to find new boots.
Happy Christmas folks.. and happy safe walking!
Day 14. Santiago de Compostela
So, we arrived. We took the customary photos in the main square, we smiled at the other arriving pilgrims and we went in search of the pilgrim’s office. To be honest my feet/blister were screaming for a bar but Sara’s excitement and enthusiasm won the day, and it was a good choice as there was no queue. Once we’d collected our compostela we found the nearest hostelry and joined other pilgrims for a farewell drink. Oh my word the simple pleasure of removing shoes!
The rest of the day was simple…check in… eat tapas… sleep.
Day 13. Iria Flavia to Santiago de Compostela
Just a little note to say that we made it… hot and footsore after a 26km last day… we’d planned for 22km and the last hour was unexpected 😃 But it’s been fab… now for a rest before planning the next one!
Thank you for all the kind words of encouragement! We’re tourists tomorrow before our flight home on Tuesday… I’m going to try the rooftop tour which will be a challenge for a girl that dislikes heights! 😎
Day 12. Caldas de Reis to Iria Flavia
Our little room last night was way more comfy than we had expected. We had a room for four with a shared bathroom but as the only guests in the house, we had the place to ourselves. Continue reading
Day 11. Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis
Jaqui and I shared a small double bed last night. We laughed in the morning that we’d both hugged the sides and left a big gap in the middle. And at some stage we were both hot and kicked the covers into the middle but then it became cold again we must have grabbed them back… but only one cover each; so neither of us really got warm and the room was pretty cold when we got up. We all dressed quickly and left early in search of breakfast. Pontevedra is a big town but we struggled… eventually we were directed to the same square where we ate lunch yesterday… hot coffee, toast, free churros and orange juice. Perfect. Continue reading
Day 10. Arcade to Pontevedra
It was cold this morning. We knew we only had a short day so we slept in. It was a nice albergue and only us and a Spanish couple staying… they lent us their hair dryer which Sara used to dry her washing with this morning. Continue reading
Day 9. O Porrino to Arcade
Last night’s albergue has to be one of the best that I’ve ever stayed in. Very well maintained, lovely owner, hot shower and the best bed I’ve slept on in a while. The bunks were a bit like old train bunks all lined up side by side but in your own little cocoon… complete with light and plug and curtain. Oh I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning! Continue reading
Day 8. Valenca to O Porrino
I met up with Jaqui and Sara last night for dinner and they recounted their long day through woods and pretty little villages. It was a bit up and down and they said that there was no way I would have coped with my ankle… so I think I made the right choice. Valenca, that had been so busy earlier was deserted at night so we found one of the few (three) open restaurants and had a lovely meal of hot soup and chicken… washed down with a little chilled Portuguese white wine. Then we said our good night’s and headed off in opposite directions. I must admit it felt more than a little spooky wandering these empty fortified streets alone and I was glad to get back to my little room. Continue reading
Day 7. Caminha to Valenca
I loved my hotel room last night. It was absolutely the right choice and the perfect treat. I chatted (facetimed) Gerry when I woke up and had breakfast at around 9.00 with Maggie (well not with Maggie because she’s in Australia) but she messaged me and we reminisced about the Via and our pilgrim adventures. Next was the luxury of a morning shower, my laundry was all dry and I cleaned and threaded my blisters. What a good way to start the day! Continue reading