Hanging out in Santiago

It was great to meet up with George last evening. For those of you who don’t know, George and I walked the first part of the Camino Mozárabe together last year. We met for the first time at the church of Santiago in Malaga and continued to spend eighteen days in eachother’s company, seeing very briefly only three other pilgrims in all that time. On day eighteen we reached Mérida where the Mozárabe meets with the Via de la Plata, and George and I went our separate ways as he was on a slightly shorter timescale than me. This year George has walked up from Cádiz joining the VdlP at Seville. His grandson Thomas came to meet him at Santiago and they walked to and from Finisterre together. It was a delight to meet Thomas who is an absolute credit to his family – if only all young people were so polite and engaging.

I returned to the albergue at around 22:30 and was about to get ready for bed when the thought occurred that I had never really wandered around the streets of Santiago after dark, so back out I went, to take a few night shots. I worked my way around to the Praza do Obradoiro and was drawn to some lively music being played under the arches of the ayuntamiento building opposite the cathedral. There was a troupe of twelve musicians playing a variety of instruments and singing, to the delight of a small crowd. I stayed, listened and watched for the best part of an hour until they stopped – they were such fun and very professional. I was making my way back once again to my accommodation when I noticed through the window of a bar more musicians, who looked as though they might be playing my type of music – four guys with two guitars, a violin and a flute. The music sounded Irish but was probably Galician – whatever it was, I loved it and stayed there for another forty minutes or so, and treated myself to a cd before leaving. I have to say, I felt like a dirty stop-out when I crept into my bed in the wee small hours. But I had enjoyed an excellent evening of entertainment.

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I spent this morning mooching around. First I visited the pilgrims’ office again to collect my Compostela, but even at 08:00 there was a huge queue – once again I didn’t wait. I would like to add my name to the list of pilgrims having walked this month, but am not too bothered about receiving a certificate. I already have quite a collection that I never look at and I have the more important credencial as my momento.

There followed a visit to the food market, and the post office to send my walking poles and penknife home. Then I went in search of the ‘Pilgrim House’, a welcome centre that offers backpack storage, laundry facility, wifi and printing. Situated at Rúa Nova 19, tel 981 585 788, open 11:00 to 20:00, but closed Wednesday and Sunday. There is a reading library, comfortable lounging area and a patio garden. It is a place to meet with others and share experiences, or just quietly reflect on your Camino. You will receive a warm welcome from very kind people. Look them up on line at pilgrimhousesantiago.com.

Nate and Faith who run the Pilgrim House, and their tribute to Denise Thiem, a pilgrim who was murdered on the Camino last year.

Nate and Faith who run the Pilgrim House, and their tribute to Denise Thiem, a pilgrim who was murdered on the Camino last year.

I then trotted across to the office of Ivar who runs one of the Camino forums. I’m not sure if this was a good idea as I think he was busy, but he graciously spared me a few minutes to touch base.

Then it was time for a very important mission. To find a peluquería where I could have my hair washed and tamed, which was so very nice after five weeks of unremitting frizz.

Back at the cathedral, I entered via the holy door, which is only opened during holy years. I don’t think I qualify for my sins to be forgiven as I am not a Catholic, but it couldn’t do any harm (I hope).

The musician in the black mask was playing again and of course I had to stop in the square for a drink. When he finished playing I complimented him on his fabulous music, by which time he had unmasked himself. I asked ‘why the mask’ and he said it was by way of his tribute to the musicians of New Orleans. he told me he is from Uruguay and has been playing in this spot for seventeen years. I bought a cd, which was rather expensive at 15 euros, and a difficult decision to make because there were several to choose from. He then very kindly gave me a second cd free of charge – I think he was in celebratory mood because he was due to fly to Ibiza later in the day to visit his sons. I was obviously in the right place at the right time.

The barman told me that he had to clear the tables and chairs from the square as they were closing, but I could move to a table under the arches. That was a good move as, soon after, the heavens opened for the promised downpour and I was comfortably seated with a glass of wine and a bowl of crisps whilst all around made a dash to get out of the rain and wait until it subsided. I fear my de-frizz will be very short-lived.

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The above was written yesterday (Friday). It’s now early Saturday morning and I will be on my way home in a few hours. But I just want to share with you a few words and photos from my last evening in Santiago. I was delighted to have been in touch with some pilgrims that I walked alongside from time to time during the first days of this Camino. Alan from Mexico was at the albergue in Irún on the very first evening. I met American Niki walking out of San Sebastián on day 2, and Carsten from Germany a day or two later. We had arranged to meet in front of the cathedral at 19:00. Niki was first to arrive, looking as beautiful as ever, just like a breath of fresh air. And whilst we were chatting someone else walked over. I couldn’t have been more surprised to see Peter standing there, Dutch Peter with whom I had walked the first week of my first Camino in 2013. This was the best surprise I could have received at the end of my journey. Peter and I have remained in touch via Facebook and I knew he had been walking a few days with his son. I couldn’t believe my eyes at seeing such a dear and familiar face. We caught up with eachother’s family news for a while before he had to leave for the airport.

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Then Alan and Carsten arrived and we were joined by Dutch Andre, who I had met briefly during my time walking with Gunter. We enjoyed an excellent meal at Casa Manolo (where I ate with George the night before – fabulous value menu with mounds of quality food for 9.50 euros, including water but not wine – highly recommended). We then regrouped at a bar specialising in strong beer – Niki and Carsten being aficionados of the brew. I bravely tried a couple before resorting to my favourite Alboriño. By midnight Andre had already left and it was my turn to leave the young ones to their last night. Thanks you guys for including me in such a fabulous evening – it made my last day very special.

As you can imagine, there were lots of smiley, huggy photos taken and I unashamedly give you a selection here.

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About magwood

Trepidatious Traveller - camino blog is about preparing for and walking the Camino de Santiago. Many future pilgrims have found the blog useful and inspiring, and many who have no plans to walk the camino have simply enjoyed the dialogue http://www.magwood.me
This entry was posted in Camino de Santiago de Compostela, Camino del Norte, Camino Ingles, Ruta do Mar and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to Hanging out in Santiago

  1. Janice Tyler says:

    Very well done Maggie. I will miss the daily blog! I wonder where your feet will take you next and did you carry that nice jacket all the way in your rucksack? Xx

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    • magwood says:

      Thanks Janice – my feet will be tramping the hillsides around home for a good long while. The jacket kept me warm every evening along the way. It is ultra-light down, weighs next to nothing and packs down very small. I was very glad to have it with me.

      Like

  2. Christine & Malcolm says:

    Wonderful end for an amazing journey, ‘ Welcome Home’ Maggie! Xx

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  3. janpow123 says:

    Congratulations and thank- you for the interesting, honest and humerous account of another amazing achievement. Again the photos were wonderful. Have a safe trip home and enjoy the ‘welcome home’ from the fur babies, family and friends xxx

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  4. Pat & John says:

    Many congratulations Maggie on another successful Camino, you never fail to amaze ! Your daily blogs (always so informative and fascinating) will be very much missed along with your brilliant photos. Enjoy some rest , relaxation and total pampering now for a while.
    Much love from both of us …P & J XX

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    • magwood says:

      No pampering required – If I am anything like last year I will keep walking everywhere for a few weeks – I found it difficult to sit still. Roly should appreciate it at least.

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  5. Congratulations Maggie. A great adventure and memories. Thanks for the ride N

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  6. Irish Sue says:

    Well done Maggie, I must admit that I actually feel a little sentimental this morning as I read your last couple of blogs. As usual I have followed every step – even if I do miss a couple due to work, I always back track to be sure I have not missed a single day.

    Enjoy your next few days at home, let your toes breath and enjoy the company of David and of course your little pouch Rollie (spelling?).

    Congratulations and hugs from me.
    Irish Sue xxx

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  7. Heather says:

    Congratulations Maggie, I will miss reading your daily blog and seeing your great photos. What wonderful memories you have made. I wonder how you feel when you get home – is there a sense of “What now?”. You really have become a bit of a wanderer!! Enjoy a well earned rest.

    Love Heather xxx

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  8. mary lynch says:

    Congratulations you wonderful woman. You are looking fantastic. I too wondered about the lovely jacket. Was it in the backpack or did you treat yourself? Much love xx

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    • magwood says:

      Thank you Mary. The jacket set off from home with me and has been much worn in the evenings. Many thanks for all your support along the way xx

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  9. Terri McCall says:

    Thank you Maggie for your wonderful posts during your journey, they have meant so much to me over the past few weeks. I have also been sharing your stories with my mum.
    My friend Greg initially struck my interest in Camino del Norte, but you have inspired me to pursue things further. I’m a 46 year old married woman, and mother of a beautiful 12 year old son, and I have just booked my flights to head to Bilbao from Australia to start my Camino on 12th August 2016 and walk through to SdC. I can’t wait to start and have taken on board a lot of your tips and traps to help my journey. You have assure me that I can do this, thank you. Terri

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    • magwood says:

      Hi Terri. Thanks for your comment – I am delighted that you have enjoyed the blog. It is likely to be very hot in August, but I guess you are used to the heat. I don’t doubt for a moment that you can do it and you will have a wonderful experience.
      Buen Camino!

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  10. C.o.n.g.r.a.t.u.l.a.t.i.o.n.s. on another successful Camino. Bless your feet for carrying you. ❤ Wonderful pictures. Thanks for sharing. Homeward bound. It will be nice, I'm sure, to sleep in your own bed. ((<3 ))

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  11. sixwheeler says:

    Dear Maggie

    Once again thank you for allowing us all to share your adventures, have a good trip home.

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  12. Your last few days in Santiago sounds like you were in Camino heaven Maggie – meeting up with all those familiar faces from your past, especially Peter from your first Camino. Santiago really is “the place” to hang out. I remember the warm fuzzies I got whenever I would see a newly arrived pilgrim on the street. You are my inspiration Maggie and have been since I started reading your posts 1 1/2 years ago. Last year I walked in your footsteps on the Portuguese Camino and this year it will be the Del Norte with my daughter-in-law (who is beside herself with excitement). You have provided many valuable tips about the albergues, restaurants, terrain and even how to cross the train tracks over a bridge before a train comes, ha, ha! You’re quite the dare devil at times. Many heartfelt thanks from Canada for all the effort it takes to do a daily blog with all those wonderful pictures. .Enjoy your homecoming Maggie – David, Rollo and all your friends await you.

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  13. Congratulations!

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  14. Inge H Fullerton says:

    Thank you for your amazing story!!!!! I am in awe of you! Congratulations on yet another Camino successfully completed.

    Like

  15. Clare says:

    Such a happy post! Enjoy going home!

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  16. Cindy Jones says:

    I will really miss your daily blog and beautiful photos but look forward to seeing you soon. Cindy

    Like

  17. Gill says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your Camino experiences. I have loved reading about your walk and seeing the beautiful photos. We leave on our first “mini-Camino” – we’re only walking for a week this time – in 3 weeks and reading about your experiences has been really inspirational. I will miss the daily updates.

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  18. Sue Lyons says:

    Wow! You are one amazing lady, I’ve loved reading your blog and it ended on such a high, I love the fact that you said you’ll be walking everywhere for a while because it’ll be difficult to sit still…

    Like

  19. Annette says:

    Thank you for sharing your adventures. Now I will go back to read about your earlier caminos, although not quite the same as following you day by day. Enjoy your home & make sure you tell us when and where your next adventure will be. Buen Camino!

    Like

  20. Kristina Wilkening says:

    Welcome Home! Awesome words and photos. Really enjoyed them! Now you can put your feet up until the next adventure!

    Like

  21. Mary Wynne says:

    Hi Maggie
    Congratulations and greatful thanks for keeping up you blog and the wonderful photos.
    Will await with anticipation your next adventure, lm glad this ended up safe and injury free.
    Shows you really do the groundwork before you begin. You truely are an inspiration to me and I would imagine many others.
    Mary

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  22. Bill says:

    Thank you for allowing me to par take in you journey. Loved every moment.

    Like

  23. Lee Wakelin says:

    Hi Maggie! I have followed your wonderful journey across Spain and am totally inspired to go back again and try this amazing Camino del Norte. Your descriptions of the trail and accomodations will be so helpful, and the beautuful photographs have fulfilled all my hopes about how this Camino would look!
    You are a strong brave woman! I did my last Camino alone and I will do this one too now that I have seen how well you coped on this great adventure! Totally brilliant! Thank you so much! xox

    Like

  24. Stewpot says:

    Hi Magwood, Just seen your You Tube film & listened to the lovely music by Austin Durack. Your film & music go to the very soul. Did you use your own playlist for the music or is it from a particular album by Austin Durack.

    Like

    • magwood says:

      Hi Stewpot. I haven’t used Austin’s music yet. I had completed my video before he gave me permission to use it. The artists featured on the video are listed at the end.
      Thanks for your kind comment, the videos are definitely a labour of love, really as a personal memory of my journey. If anyone else enjoys them, then I am very happy about that.

      Like

  25. nickwhitley says:

    Brilliant article, it sounds like you had an amazing time! I cycled the Camino de Santiago last year and really enjoyed it. The amazing landscapes and super friendly people make it an experience to remember. I actually made a list of The 7 Things I wish I knew Before I cycled Camino de Santiago. Check it out if you’d like to! http://whitleytravels.com/7-things-cycled-camino-de-santiago/

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    • magwood says:

      Hi Nick and many thanks for your comment. I agree with a lot of your points, particularly about not over-plannning. I always make a plan, but am happy to change things as I go along.

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