Total distance 954.6 km
Daily average 28
Today’s accumulated uphill elevation 121 m
Today’s accumulated downhill elevation 275 m
After enjoying a very decent ‘menu’ lunch yesterday at the new restaurant in Hospital de Bruma, I returned to the albergue and discovered it was full and turning people away. There are 22 beds, two mixed-use facilities each with two showers and one loo, kitchen with hot plates (although no shop to buy any food). I bought a kit-kat and packet of crisps to eat with my one remaining nectarine later on – such a healthy diet! The lovely hospitalera assisted me in finding a bed for tomorrow, and I have booked a bed at ‘The Last Stamp’ albergue in Santiago where I have always stayed before.
I am a bit (very) concerned about the amount of people I am likely to find on the Camino to Finisterre. George, who has already walked it, has advised that I should book ahead all the way, and I shall take his advice. Flights home from Santiago only operate on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I will arrive on Thursday and have an arrangement to meet with George that evening, otherwise I might have thought about foregoing my trip to Finisterre and Muxia and go straight home. I guess I mustn’t let it bother me. I should easily be able to avoid the hordes whilst I am walking, and just make the most of it at the albergues. I have to be careful that I don’t allow my 2016 camino experience to be soured by overcrowding, so I will try my best to remain positive.
This year is particularly busy because the Pope declared a ‘year of mercy’ which has religious significance to Catholics and has caused the number of pilgrims to swell.
I wrote the above yesterday evening – and here’s today’s update…
It rained lot during the night but it had momentarily cleared as I left this morning. However I didn’t trust it to stay that way so I donned my pack cover and rain jacket. It did in fact rain on and off for the whole journey, never particularly hard and at times the sun briefly showed its face, resulting in a rather indistinct rainbow. The way was again fairly evenly split between road and track, with perhaps slightly more soft than paved surface.
I stopped at around 7 km for breakfast and there is another bar at the halfway point of this stage, and then nothing until Sigüero, where I had decided to stop for the day.
I found the place I had arranged to stay at the private albergue O Fogar. The door wasn’t answered so I phoned the number given and spoke to the hospitalera who told me she was in Santiago, and a few other things that I didn’t quite catch, but got the impression I should wait at the door. I gave the bell another ring for good measure and this time it was answered by a Spanish pilgrim who I had seen on and off for a few days. The hospitalera had phoned him to request he let me in, and I awaited further instructions. I had reserved a private room which I had presumed would be in the same property (wrong!) There soon arrived husband of hospitalera who ushered me out of the property and tried to bundle me into his car. I was having none of that. I hadn’t walked all this way to take a lift around the corner. So I followed his directions around the block and met him at the gate of another house. A rather odd set up, but I enjoyed a very hot, very long shower so all is forgiven, and I am getting all my clothes washed and dried. The albergue accommodation is 16 euros, and mine 22 plus an exorbitant 10 for the washing.
Sigüero is a large town with banks, supermarkets and an abundance of bars.
On arrival I checked the weather forecast for the next week and it isn’t looking good – in fact it is looking very bad.
I pondered my situation for a while and realised that I did not welcome the prospect of walking another five days in stormy conditions. For me, the whole point of walking to Finisterre and Muxia is to see the sunset over the ocean at the ‘end of the world’. There wouldn’t be very good views in cloudy, rainy conditions. I’ve walked to both these places before and I just don’t feel the need to do it again at the risk of a soggy end to my adventure. So I checked out early flights home and discovered that Ryanair is now operating a Saturday flight which I haven’t seen before. I booked it for less than it would cost me to walk on to Finisterre and Muxia.
Of course the weather forecast may not be very accurate, or may change over the next few days, and if it was my first time I would probably stick with the original plan. But I’m an old hand at this lark, and don’t need to prove anything to myself. So tomorrow, walking the short distance into Santiago will be my last stage of this Camino, and I am quite happy about that decision, and David was delighted when I told him I would be home a few days early.