The end of the Camino Francés: Santiago. I was so close, I could almost taste it.
Day 30 – Morgade to Portomarín
The trail soon led down into a valley. My back had sent distress signals, right from the first step that morning, but I hobbled along. Fog grew thicker as we descended. Rocks on the path were wet and slippery, but even if sore and tired, it was nice to have interesting terrain.
After 10 km, we’d reached the bridge in to Portomarín. I could barely walk.
We found a nice café, overlooking the square and church below. The locals relocated this place of worship one rock at a time from the valley floor, to allow for construction of a reservoir. How impressive was that?
I was walking with two other pilgrims and told them I was going no further. I ended up staying in Portomarín a day and a half.
Day 31 – Palas de Rei
Fog hung around the city, sometimes till noon or 1 pm. When we left it behind, two mornings later, as we climbed out of the valley, it provided a multitude of picturesque photos, for hours after.
Every day, we met at least 20 or 30 dogs, free to roam at will. Most were friendly. Those who weren’t were chained chained up and barked as we walked past.
I’d planned to go 5 km further than Palas de Rei, but my feet hurt, and my back told me to stop. So I did. Listen. It’s what the Camino had taught me.
Day 32 – to Arzúa
I now knew I wouldn’t have the time nor the energy to go to Fisterra. Santiago would be the end of my journey. But if I could make the 31 km to Arzúa, I would only have 2 days of 20 km each to reach my destination.
The sun provided a stunning display as I left Palas de Rei. The strange small building in the center of the photo was a granary. Almost every yard had one.
After 17 km, I took a break every 3, 4 or 5 km. I’d sit out on a terrace and drink a café con leche or enjoy a glass of freshly pressed orange juice and ponder my 30-some days on the Camino.
Locals sometimes manned little booths with food and refreshments, on the trail. I was always grateful for this. The raspberries weren’t extremely sweet, but I knew the nutrients inside them would help me reach my destination.
I stumbled into Arzúa, exhausted and in pretty serious pain. One of the hospitaleros had no room left, but she took me to an albergue with spare beds. Then she sat me down with food and made it clear she would pay for it.
Day 33 – O Pedrouzo
I hadn’t slept very well and my back hurt the next morning, but it didn’t matter. I only had 20 km to reach O Pedrouzo. I was truly going to make it! Only then did I realize I’d never really dared to hope I’d be able to reach Santiago on foot.
Most of the first part of the day’s trail was forest with strands of eucalyptus trees. I couldn’t always see them, but their presence added a deep, rich smell to the air.
A conflict grew within me as I passed the marker above. I only had 20 km left. Now that I knew I was going to make, I wasn’t sure I wanted to arrive. Part of me wanted to turn back and do it all over again.
Later on, I watched the sunset as I ate my wood-oven pizza. Add a glass of wine, a good book and a few friends to have a chat with?
It was the perfect evening!
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