vendredi 5 juin 2009


The last few days we have been in Galicia. The weather has been cooler and misty - a nice change. We have been walking along paths bordered by stone fences, lined with ferns, and flowers, or along wooded paths. There is a different tree with a strange, but familiar smell, that according to the guidebook is eucalyptus. I didn't know they had those in Spain. We have encountered many herd of cattle, farmers cutting their grass with scythes, woodland streams, horreias (I'm not sure of the spelling; they are raised rectangular stone structures that store corn away from rodents). There apparently is a celtic connection here, that I would like to read more about - the scenery does sometimes make you think that fairies and druids could live here. The smell of cow manure is also very strong here; the other night we stayed in a small town called Gonzar, and the smell permeated even the restaurant.

Tonight we are in Arco 0 Pino, just 20 km from Santiago. We are staying in a very nice pensione. Galicia's public albergues are all run by the province, not the municipalities and they are awful. I can handle dormitories, I can handle sleeping on an upper bunk in the middle of a room, I can handle cold showers, or even, like last night, having to walk past naked men in the open showers to get to the one private shower, but today was too much. There were no private showers. I don't get this - the Catholic church is so rigid about sexual matters, yet there are co-ed showers with no doors in the public albergue. Go figure! Anyhow, we have a beautiful room with twin beds and our own bathroom. Albergues can be fun (more than one person has commented that they can feel like summer camp for adults) but I can live without them for a while.

It's hard to believe that our trip is almost over. In some ways, it feels like we started yesterday,in other ways it feels as if we have been on several different trips with different scenery and different travel companions. If all goes well, when we enter Santiago tomorrow, we will be able to say that we walked every step of the way and carried our packs always. We have been very lucky.

The last few days, everyone is tired. I overheard a young man say that 20 km this week feels like 30 did 10 days ago, so I don't feel so bad. We have done 30, 30, and 34 the past few days and are feeling it. My knees are sore for the first time. I had hoped to be faster up the hills by now, but I am still the slowest one (I suppose I could be faster, and everyone else has jsut correspondingly gotten faster too). My thigh muscles are awesome - I feel like the Audi billboard I saw in Montreal before I left: underneath the beautiful car was the caption '50 ans et cuisses de fer et fesses d'acier'. My pants are falling- the Spanish government could market the camino as the one sure way to eat all the chocolate and pastries you want while losing weight!

Tomorrow we reach Santiago, where we will stay for 3 nights. There is a whole ritual associated with arriving in Santiago, which I will write about later. For now, as I only has 4 hours of sleep last night, I am off to bed. I am looking forward to seeing people in Santiago that I met earlier on the trip.


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