El Camino Day 1/35, 2/36 -Endless Rain and a Quiet Road

Santiago ➡ Negreira ➡ Oleviroa

Recap

Royce and I arrived in Santiago in the rain on day 33 of our walk from Saint Jean Pied de Port. Yet more rain greeted us, but also smile, laughter and revelry as we met up with fellow pilgrims in the city. We all felt both in-describably lighthearted at the accomplishment of having conquered such a feat, but also melancholy. The knowledge we may never again see many of the people we met and had such a life changing experience with. Many pilgrims would never return to any of the places we had seen, let alone even return to Spain. In light of that we stayed two nights in Santiago and; partied, drank wine, ate tapas and reminisced on the journey we had undertaken, both separately and as a collective. All together as pilgrims on the road to Santiago.

The Road to Finisterre.

Royce and I awoke on day 35 of our Journey, to start day 1 of our trek to Finisterre hungover. We had been out till 2am the night before, a Wednesday night much to the dismay of the small bar owner in the centre cobbled streets of Santiago. We dragged heavy bodies from our beds to be at the house our friend Sam and her group of Camino friends, they were staying, for a promise of coffee to set us on our way. The coffee and toast were welcome for pounding heads, and we said sad farewells as we exited. We were bound for the coast.

Earlier than the Catholic pilgrimage of St James, the pilgrimage from France through to the western Spanish coastline was traversed by pagan religions. They did not stop at Santiago, and even after the official pilgrimage was founded by St James, many pilgrims would carry on past Santiago to Finisterre and then Muxia. To enter the town of Muxia, burn their clothes and wash themselves in the ocean. A mark of cleansed sins and new beginnings at the edge of the world as they knew it. Today it is recognised as its own pilgrimage and has its own pilgrim passport and certificates. We received our passports from the Santiago pilgrims office and could collect stamps along the way as we had with the Camino Frances.

As is the way with many who walk the Camino, we weren’t ready to be done yet. The coast was far a more inviting endpoint, and we were determined not to bus like many more sensible pilgrims who had read the weather report. The day was pleasant; it rained persistently, downpours on and off. But it was warm, tropical even, and the road was.. Empty we saw hardly a soul. It was a little surreal from the crowds that had occupied the last days of our walk into the city to feel now so.. Alone. But it was also refreshing and welcome to just be the two of us again. To have time to talk to each other and unpack our minds, unpack the journey we had undertaken. Our path to Finisterre was one of reflection, and I was grateful we had the time to walk this extra path.

We arrived into Negreira late afternoon, having been in no hurry during the day. We found most albergues were closed for the season. Having arrives on October 30th we were at the very end of the April 1- Oct 31 pilgrim season. People still walk after this, but most albergues are closed. We found a bed as some are open all year around. We also found a very well equipped supermercado and made dinner at the Albergue that night sharing our wine with an Australian man who was the only one in the place with a corkscrew (a must if you are planning the walk.)

I woke early on the morning of day 2 and we had a simple breakfast before setting off into the cool morning, it warmed quickly as we walked quietly through the trees, the vegetation was definitely more “tropical” near the coast here you could see the change, more lush. The towns were also further apart and less populated. Shops and cafes were few and far between. To get to an albergue, we had to travel 32km. Thankfully, having already walked to Santiago, we were well practised at this. The weather turned from 100 percent humidity to misty rain, slowly as the day wore on we got completely soaked through. The weather was still warm however and the dampness though inconvenient was not bitingly cold. We were still in good spirits when we made it to Oleviroa for the night. During the day we had hardly seen anyone else. It seemed everyone walking this path was far more seasoned in backpacking and walking than the general person on the Frances route And a larger proportion of people were also walking the other direction, having first gone to Muxia then Finisterre now on their return to Santiago. The rain fell insistently that evening and Royce and I huddled in warm dry clothes in the albergue watching videos content in our own company. This part of the journey; the reflection was so serene and peaceful. we would walk to Finisterre tomorrow, maybe, maybe we would take another day. I didn’t have any worries at this moment but getting up and walking. It was a comforting thought.

As Always thanks for tuning in, I hope everyone is coping in Lockdown. And I will endeavour to keep writing and try to bring something to read in your boredom. Stay safe, everyone. Head over to Instagram to check out what we are up to on the farm. Most of our markets have been cancelled, so the bosses have put their heads together to figure out how we will continue to feed the nation. The van build is also still going ahead, even if we are not sure when Scotland will be open for touring again. Till next time, stay in your hate but keep finding ways to be adventurers. Try to cook something new or learn a new skill in isolation. And to those of us in the United Kingdom sunbathe at your window and get some vitamin D !

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