Camino: Days 37 and 38

Camino de Santiago (a Muxia)

Days 37 & 38: Santiago to Santa Mariña

Day 37: Santiago—Negreira ~ 12 miles     

4 November 2017

View of Santiago from the west
My last look at Santiago as I began my final stretch

Santiago was not to be my final stop. I wanted to walk to the sea.

It was mid-morning the next day before I left Santiago. It was a beautiful fall day. The road was quiet and rambled through small villages. Only a couple hours into the day, I stopped to eat a small lunch. It was good timing. A gaggle of people walked by me. “Buen camino!” they hailed. There were about 30 or 40 of them and none had on a pack. I was perplexed. As I put away my things to start walking again, an empty tourist bus passed on this lonely road. Oh…these were tourist pilgrims. The bus carries their luggage from stop to stop, meals and lodging are arranged. All they have to do is walk, chattering all the way. Hmmm…I later wrote in my journal:

I feel a bit offended that these people can so cavalierly walk a ‘pilgrimage.’ I feel like they make a mockery of it. But probably it has always been this way. In medieval times, rich people could use a carriage. Some people were forced to go on a pilgrimage to do penance for a crime, and if they really did not care, they could just do a façade of a pilgrimage—at anytime in history. And who is to say that my “way” of walking is any more or less real?

I arrived in Negreira near dark, but a supermarket was located within a block of Albergue Lua. I grabbed an easy ready-made salad and entered the hostel. I was assailed with…traditional Irish music?!?! You never know what you will encounter on the Camino!

In the little kitchen, I prepared some packaged mushroom soup and settled down with my soup and salad. There was too much soup, so I shared with a young man who had walked from his home in Germany.

Grapes along the Camino between Santiago and the sea.
End-of-the-season grapes I encountered today. Some good ones were on the ground…delicious purple grapes!
Serene bridge at Ponte Maciera.
I crossed this old bridge at the village of Ponte Maceira. There is a legend that say some of the disciples of St. James were miraculously saved from pursuing Romans when the bridge collapsed at just the right time.

Day 38: Negreira—Santa Mariña ~ 12.2 miles     

5 November 2017

As I left Negreira, the locals were setting up a Sunday market. Oh, how I love markets, but I had a way to go and could not wait until it opened.  My destination, San Mariña, is very small and only had two albergues. The next albergue after that would be almost 11 kilometers farther. Most of the day I worried that both albergues there might be closed. What happened to those lessons in serenity I thought I had learned?

I had been taking a rest day every 4-5 days. But I was now in my seventh day, walking average and above average distances, without a day off. My hips and legs were complaining. But I did not want to stop until I got to Muxia (pronounced moo-shee’-a) at the sea, where I was told there was a very special albergue.

Room at the Inn?

I was right to be concerned about there being a bed waiting me. I went to the first albergue I encountered, Casa Pepa, and got a bed—and it was a single bed—no one would be sleeping above me! But! I found out later that the only other albergue in town had filled early in the day. Whew!

A Memorable Night

 I was in a tiny Spanish village in a building of stone; the rented beds were upstairs over a quaint café/bar. As the bar filled up for dinner and a fire was lit, I could not help but feel like I had been transported back to a medieval evening on the Camino. People congregated and got to know one another at long plank tables; wine was poured, and the conversations were noisy. 

I had an engaging conversation with a young Italian man, a devout Catholic, 26-years-old, who had walked from Italy. He had been sent on his Camino by a monk, who was his mentor. He was hoping it would help him decide between the priesthood or marriage. Upon his return to Italy, he planned to retreat to a monastery to contemplate what his Camino meant. He would make the choice whether to take a vocation in the church or start a family. Momentous!  I asked if he had a woman in mind. He didn’t but indicated that was not a problem.  I did not doubt that…he had beautiful blue eyes,  a lovely complexion, and was engaging and thoughtful. Whatever his choice…he would do well in life.

The menu del dia dinner was filling and the wine, conversation and ambience made the evening perfect. It was one of those elusive “pinch myself” moments that happen when least expected.


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