Milladoiro, just outside Santiago, an easy stroll tomorrow in to Santiago de Compostella. But I am getting ahead of myself again because of the excitement.
We woke up with a steady rain falling. We walk past the church on the left as we head out. And it stayed that way all day. The first day so far where I have had to wear my rain jacket and poncho and cover my pack to keep it dry as it rained all day.
Cafes feature large today, we stop for breakfast in Padron soon after starting, glad to get out of the rain and dry off a little. Kirsten, Brigitte, Sellas and Celestine we are all here. I miss Ulrika as she was definitely part of our group but we have lost track of her.
We carry on after breakfast and we see this rather cool Camino sign as we walk,you can see the rain on the sign.
There are churches, convents (the photo to the left) and chapels everywhere, this is across the river from us, and out of shot of this photo to the right is the Church of Saint James.
We enter the church and enjoy a few minutesout of the rain and the lady in the church encourages us as pilgrims to take our photos in front of the altar.
This is where it is rumored Saint James not only begain his ministry in Iberia, but also where his body first touched land when the boat carrying him returned to Spain. There are a lot of different statues in the church all relating to Saint James. Whilst Kirsten is taking my photo Ulrika walks into the church, sees me and runs down the aisle to give me a big hug. She has stayed at a nearby monastery last night that is an alternative route. It is good to be all back together again.
As we leave the church together we notice two things, the view and a rainbow, I cath one, in fact there was a double rainbow, it lifts our spirits. Also we notice another sign of a pilgrim.
This was on the side of a building opposite the church as we left. It rains off and on as we walk, you cannot take off your poncho, although it is warm because no sooner do you than the heavens open again.
We walk down narrow alleys and paths between fields. We see the road to our right, but are not close enough to access any cafes there. Eventually we come across a cafe on the path that is open and we stop for coffee and pastries. I cannot miss my daily pastry. Whilst we are there multiple pilgrims walk in, this is for many the final push to Santiago.
I am surprised again by this display outside one house of all these different gourds and pumpkin.
Just before noon the trail brings us up onto the road and we see another cafe so decide to stop for lunch, as it is pouring with rain. We go in and order coffee and discover theymake very nice rolls with cured Serano ham and cheese. Delicious. After several cups of coffee or hot chocolate it is time to move on.
Here I am ready to set out. Unknown to any of us sitting there, the cafe had a beach scene on the back wall, which we only noticed later looking at photos. Sellas is getting ready behind me, after having tried to dry out whilst we were having lunch.
We are now only 9.8 Km from Santiago de Compostella. We have planned to stay our last night just outside Santiago de Compostela so the walk in the morning is easy and we can go straight to the pilgrim office and get our compostellas and then go to the Cathedral and attend Mass.
Some of us have booked beds at a new albergue in Milladoiro, it is good to know there is a bed at the end of this wet and rainy day. Santiago feels so close, just over the hill but not here yet. So many emotions whilst walking today. So many thoughts today. My thoughts do not always give me the answers I believed I would get and in fact some of them trouble me. I don't know what the future holds yet. All I am doing is taking each day as it comes. I think, looking back I am glad I did not know what was coming down the road in my marriage or my health. The others follow us in and luckily there are plenty of beds available.
This is one of the most luxurious albergues we have stayed in, the beds are warm, comfortable and although the showers are not that warm, there is a lovely sitting area to relax in and talk with other pilgrims. The dormitories are large, but well spaced out. The South Koreans are here as well.
So many nationalities here! So many different types of people, and everyone is talking with each other without judgement. This young couple arrive and they have a baby with them, the lady from the albergue offers to look after him whislt they wash and change. Everyone enjoys entertaining him. He does not get a compostella as they are carrying him, but I have heard of others who are disabled and are pushed in wheelchairs getting compostellas. You can see there was a sense of celebration as Sellas and Celestine cooked themselves dinner and had some drinks.
My pilgrim passport has got very wet, so I need to dry it out and repair it in preparation for tomorrow. Here it is repaired and completed almost. I need two stamps for tomorrow, the pilgrim office and one other. Today we walked 13 miles, to give me a total of 440 miles walked. We got very wet today and spend the afternoon and evening trying to dry out our clothes and boots, using newspaper. Kirsten and I walk to a nearby gas station with a cafe attached for dinner and have a decent meal of soup, calamari and french fries and dessert with coffee. Tomorrow Santiago de Compostella, a day of rest then I head off to Muxia and Finisterre, the end of the earth a traditional place to finish a pilgrimage where you would burn your clothes and buy new ones. I am not doing that but am looking forward to this final stage of my journey. It will beabout another 100 miles, then I take a bus back to Santiago and onward to Lisbon then will fly home. I have not been in a vehicle for almost a month, a very odd feeling when you consider our lives in America.