28 December 2015

Camino de Santiago--From Santiago to Finisterre

So, the Camino was over, at least for many people!  For me, the goal had always been to go to Finisterre, on the ocean, so I had three more days of walking to do.  A few others were walking to Finisterre, others were taking a bus/taxi, and others were going home.  So I decided to hang around Santiago for a few days before pushing on to Finisterre, to see what other pilgrims rolled into town, because I would prefer to walk there with at least a couple of other people that I knew.

But first, a few days in Santiago.  Here are some of pix of the town:





Here are some pics of the cathedral:










And here are some pix of fellow pilgrims!

Two shots of Steve:

 Jorge, a Spanish guy:
 Martina, a nice Czech girl:
 French Alex:
 German Klaus (?) and French Aurelie
 Satia:
 Ross:
 Satia, Steve, Aurelie:
 South African/Swiss [] and Satia:
 Ross, me:
 Tish:
 Katie, Tish, Peter:
Big Kevin:

A few words about Santiago: what a dump!  First it is a very grim city, dark and foreboding, full of religious shops, souvenirs, tourists...  I stayed in a hotel right across from the pilgrim office, which would have been great to watch all the new tourists wander into town, but it was spoiled by a bunch of bums that hung out there 24/7 making noise and generally making a nuisance of themselves.  They weren't particularly aggressive, at least until I told them to shove off a couple of times, but there were extremely irritating.

The best thing about Santiago was the food--it was delicious, especially at one particular restaurant that we found--I went back there about five times in a few days!  Great octopus, shrimp, etc., really really good!!

People really straggled in over several days.  I was in Santiago for three days and saw most, but not all of the folks I wanted to see, like Donall and Dreadlock John.  The two German hippies Yakub and Zorin slept outside every night under some kind of porch, cool dudes!  They were always ready to offer whatever they had to anybody, they were great.

The weather was terrible the whole time I was in Santiago; it basically rained all day every day for three days.

After three days, I was ready to get out of there.  I'd found a couple of other people heading the same way--Aurelie and Portland Pete.  I made plans to meet up with Pete in the morning at his hotel.

6 NOV 2015
Pete had to do something in the morning, I forget what, so we got a late start.  It was a short walk, about 22 km, to a town called Negreira.  The walk was nice enough, but there were dramatically fewer pilgrims heading up to Finisterre.  I only took a few pictures during the day, of a nice bridge/stream:


Pete and I found a pretty dirty hostel in the town, Negreira, and Aurelie was shortly behind us.  After settling in, we went out for some apres-hike beers and chips:

It was a pretty shit town, and a pretty shit hostel; after dinner we went to bed, and that was it...

Here is the hike:

7 NOV 2015
The next day was to a town called Olveira, about 34 km away.  I walked with Pete again for part of the day, then he pulled ahead, Aurelie was a bit behind us.  The walk was pretty unpleasant--this was the smelliest day on the whole camino.  While the camino goes through lots of agricultural land, etc, today was by far the worst for various smells, and it seems like we were walking through endless fields of pig shit (or something worse).  It was really horrible.  Didn't even take any pix.

Olveira was a pretty small town.  Aurelie and I ended up staying in one hostel, Pete in another.  Our hostel had a kind of restaurant attached, and the dinner was actually very good.

Here is the hike:

8 NOV 2015
November 8.  The last day of the Camino, wow!  It was about 35 km to Finisterre, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't really looking forward to ending the trip--it had been a long long walk!  

I walked most of the way alone today; Pete stayed in a different hostel, and Aurelie always got up later than me, so I set off alone.  As usual, it was dark when I left, and there were some amazing stars (actually I think planets) above  me as I set out:
After a few kilometers of walking in the dark, I came across a cozy little cafe in a little village.  I stepped in for a coffee and some donuts, and it turns out that all six of the pilgrims in there were American, including a couple from Alaska that I had seen on the very first day, but not since then...  But anyway, too many Americans!  Anyway, the walk was nice, much nicer than the previous day, less smelly!  I had a pretty good pace today (I think) and by early afternoon got my first glimpse of the ocean!!!  See the center of the picture below:
It was really exciting.  So exciting, in fact that I took a bunch more pictures:

Soon the camino led even closer to the ocean, and you could smell the sea breezes:



Here is a picture that I had some guy take of me:

While I was messing around with these pictures, Yakub walked up, and I took his picture as well.  He didn't have a camera, so I promised to send him the photo as well:
Shortly after this picture, I stopped for a break for lunch, and then it was back onto one more fairly big hill--the last one!  Here is a picture of the first view of Finnisterrem (the cape visible in the background):
Here is another view:
Pretty soon after that picture, I was down on the beach--it is a long, wide, beach empty in November.  There is a tradition to skinny dip in the ocean on this beach when you finish the Camino, so I took the plunge (very briefly). Here is the beach:

The picture below is from the far end of the beach, looking back on the Camino.  There was a little beach bar here so I had a couple of beers before heading into town to find a hostel.
The town of Finisterre is nothing special, so no pix.  But the Camino was not quite over, because the end of the hike is actually on Cape Finisterre, a few kilometers out of town.  I went with Pete, and we got there shortly before sunset--it was actually a really nice sunset, and a fantastic way to end the Camino!








Here are my walking stick and hat leaning against the sign before I threw them into the ocean:
Here I am, with my celebratory cigar and wine:
Another view of the stunning coast:
Here are some pix of Yakub (also sent to him, I think they are pretty cool!)

 The last hurrah...
And that was it.  I had not been in a car or other vehicle for more than five weeks, so thought about taking a taxi back to town, but decided to walk.  I met with Pete and Aurelie for dinner in some kind of shitty sea food place...then we tried to find somewhere to celebrate, but it was not easy.  So back to the hostel after a pretty early night, and with the plan to take the bus back to Santiago in the morning.

Whoops, almost forgot, here is the hike:


9 NOV 2015
So in the morning a caught an early bus back to Santiago (something like a three hour ride!) and went back to the first place I stayed, the Hospitallerio or something like that.  Saw a few more people that I hadn't seen in a long time, including Chloe and Canadian Alex:

That night, one more night out with a few of the people:



The End!