27 October 2013

Field of stars


Dear diary,

This year I made a long time dream come true...
Compostela
I walked the Way of Saint James, well at least the last 100 Km that is needed to obtain the certificate and dragged my husband with me, lol.
We decided to take the original way and started off in Lugo and walked the first 18,5 Km until San Romao da Retorta where we had the 12-bed hostel all to ourselves, well maybe not quite...

This first stage was pretty easy, even though I'm not used to walking long distances and had never carried a backpack before in my life (school bag doesn't count).
The second stage was more difficult as we went through mountain passes with lots of ups and downs until we arrived in Melide. We walked about 30 Km that day in the hot sun and stayed at the overcrowded pilgrims hostel.
As a special treat for having walked so far we had a humongous T-bone steak at Casa Quinzan where Mariano, the manager, was nice enough to share his own dulce de leche and made me some pancakes.
The third day was the worst, my feet started to hurt so we stopped at Ribadiso to soak them in the icy waters of the Iso river. We continued our journey to ArzĂșa but I could hardly walk anymore, my feet were full of blares. My husband suggested we should walk back 2 Km to Ribadiso and stay at their beautiful hostel but I was so frustrated to go back instead of forward that it took him a long time to convince me. Total walking distance: 14 Km + 2 Km back: 16 Km.
We were lucky to have stayed at the Ribadiso hostel, even though it was full, the layout and partitions of the big dormitories where better made for having a quiet night's sleep. I rested my feet and took good care of my blares but best of all was that I could watch the F1 race at the restaurant, yay!
The following day we started off badly, my feet still hurt a lot and I only could walk at a really slow pace. After a 3-hour walk we stopped to have lunch and I took some Ibuprofen for the pain, something I never do as I hate taking meds. There we met a group of very nice people and we continued with them until O Pedrouzo but it was still early (13:00) and there were only 18 Km left to Santiago de Compostela so we decided to continue and give it a try.

In fact, we had planned to stay at the Santa Irene hostel but my husband was so wrapped up in his conversation that he didn't hear me scream his name when we passed by. As I was also having a good time and felt much better I let it pass and we walked the extra 4 Km.

What should have been a 5 day journey ended up in a 4th day nightmare, we wanted to arrive to Compostela so badly that the last 5 Km seemed endless. My blares started to burst so I had to walk the last 3 Km in my flip flops and my husband's knee started to hurt so much that he really couldn't have walked any further. But we had made it! A total of 40 Km on this last day proved to be a bit too much for us. Tears were running down my face at the sight of the magnificent Cathedral:

We stayed at the Parador Hotel:
And enjoyed the Galician gastronomy:

The best anecdote from this journey was that I got attacked by a ferocious hungry feline:
For the love of sharing,