Day 33 Santiago and final post

We had a Camino family meal last night with Catharina Sonia, Lars, Jacqueline and Carla Mary and I. Some were leaving for home today others had a few more days.
This morning we went to the pilgrims mass at noon and it some spectacle and ending with the incense ceremony.

Botafumeiro

Botafumeiro

Silver casket with remains of St. James.

Silver casket with remains of St. James.

Six men oscillating a giant thurible – Botafumeiro –  to the roof on one side and then on the other. Magnificent.
We are now doing the tourist side of the few days and are booking a bus to Finisterre ( the end of the world) for tomorrow.

Touristas

Old Camino bridge

1090_1 Muxia

Muxia ( the location of the finish of the film ‘The Way’)

1098_1 Finistere

Mary at the 0 Km sign at Finistere

1098a_1 IMG_2989 Martin in Finistere 0.000Kms

Myself at the 0 Km sign at Finistere

1100_1 Finistere

Lighthouse in Finistere

1105_1 Finistere

Beautiful weather here and Mary is in her element. She managed a swim later in the day

1107_1 Galician Scenery

Amazing scenery

1117_1 River Flowing into Sea

Dumbria. river flowing into sea by way of waterfall.

1117a_1 IMG_2991 River flows directly to sea by Waterfall - location Dumbria

Beautiful scene.

1135_1 Old Camino Bridge

Our penultimate photo op.

Oh by the way I have made the appointment (tattoo) for Thursday morning.

The TATOO

The TATOO

As this is the last post I have to thank al those who supported me in this venture especially Mary who accompanied me from Sarria. I want to thank my Camino family for their company along the 790 Kms. I want to all those who supported my effort for the MS cause. Finally, I would like to thank all my followers on the blog on the route in Ireland England Spain Wales Australia and Denmark. Thank you most sincerely for your good wishes and support. Hasta lluego. Slan.

Lily meets us at Dublin Airport.

Lily meets us at Dublin Airport.

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Day 32 O Pedruoza to Santiago about 23km

We went to Mass last night and after Mass the priest gave the pilgrims blessing. It was Mary’s first pilgrims blessing. We then went to have dinner and had pizza, melon and ham and wine and a sparkling water. All good and then Anne and Chizato sought us out and a final wine of the night with them and off home. Tummy wasn’t the best all night and was always on the ready. Didn’t sleep very well. However alarm went off and shortly after we were ready for the off.
Today’s walk started once again in foggy conditions.

Ready for the last days walk

Ready for the last days walk

1039_1 Monte Gozo Santiago

Little Chalepet in top of Monte Gozo

It was a bit longer today before the fog lifted and we were up at the airport for Santiago when on our left hand side planes were taking off and I’ve could feel the ground tremble under the weight and thrust. Save being in the plane I was so near to the runway to feel such power.
Our walk was in some ways different as it was the last walk of the Camino. There were no physical problems. There was no rush as we both felt we could or would make it. We put one foot in front of the other and on we went. Monte de Gozo was once the first sight pilgrims had of Santiago but alas no more.

Monte Gozo

Monte Gozo

Building have grown higher and vegetation etc have obscured the sights. Down hill from there and we are in the outskirts of Santiago and then begins the long walk in.

We made it

We made it

After we find our way in and into the main square called Praza Obradorio we see the main entrance to the cathedral. Mass is just finishing and people are leaving. All of this side of the cathedral is now under reconstruction.

Remedial works to the faced are under way and the whole face is protected by scaffold and mesh with the picture? of the cathedral on the outside

Remedial works to the faced are under way and the whole face is protected by scaffold and mesh with the picture? of the cathedral on the outside

Mary all fresh after  her walk from Sarria

Mary all fresh after her walk from Sarria

Scaffold and net protection are the order of the day. Photos will probably show those. I suppose for everyone’s sake it must be done. We take a few photos and here cones Hayden and Cath. A few words and more photos and they are off. 1061_1 Santiago

Last Camino family meal. Thanks to all for the memories.

Last Camino family meal. Thanks to all for the memories.

We take some of ours and then head back to the hotel only to meet Graine and her Dad talking to Hayden and Cath. More photos and chit chat and they are off and so are we.
We are amazed that Mary luggage deal worked out so well. A single payment of €15 and her bag was dropped at each location that is four more stops over approx 117 km. each time her bag was in our room before we checked in. Fantastic.
We have had lunch now and shortly will be heading for the Compostella office. Toady our roll changes from being pilgrims to being tourists. So sad to say tomorrow will be the last blog day.
We have arrived Santiago. Bodies are relatively okay minds are good Finistere by bus over the next few days. Thanks for all the support.

Day 31 Castenada to O Pedrouzo about 26km

We stayed in a lovely Casa Rural last night in the manner of Ballymaloe. We had a lovely dinner and a friendly waiter and as it was out in the open countryside with not a bar in sight it was early to bed.
Today had an overnight threat of rain up to Forty percent so mac was jumped out and was ready for the off. He was packed high in bag and ready. That reminds me of packing high, it’s the origin of the word shit -it stands for “ship high in transit” – and goes back to when manure was shipped from place to place but when it got wet it became explosive. Hence, Ship High In Transit. But I digress, mac stayed in the bag all day and we had no rain. It did get to be a long and tedious trip today.

Early morning in Castenada

Early morning in Castenada

We started from about three km off the actual Camino. This then added to the overall length of today’s walk. I always knew that this section to Santiago would be different.

Flowers on the wooded path

Flowers on the wooded path

1027_1 Castenada to O Pedrouzo

Mary crosses another Pilgrim bridge

It is after all Mary’s Camino, our Camino and my Camino. It would different meanings at different times each day. And so it proved very much today as we heard of the passing of a dear friend ours , Michael Sheehan – brother of Patsy – in Cork. Lord rest his soul.
While on the walk today we were met by a group from Dublin. As far we could tell there was about ten or twelve of them and started from Sarria roughly on the same schedule as we are now. One of them asked where we started from and when I told him Sarria and SJPDP I think he was rather surprised.
We passed each other a number of times during the day. We are both due in Santiago tomorrow.
The walk itself proved a bit difficult. I think that it was day four on the trot and you feet let us know.

On the way

A memorial to an Irish pilgrim who passed away while walking the Camino

The Church in O'Pedruozo- Scallop shell behind the Altar.

The Church in O’Pedruozo- Scallop shell behind the Altar.

We are here now and checked in and now for a beer and bite and look forward with different emotions to tomorrow.

Day 30 Palas de Rei to Castaneda about 24km

We stayed in Palas de Rei last night and bumped into some Camino family members after dinner. Were tired and went back to accommodation rested for another day.
Today started with a lovely buffet breakfast fresh OJ choice of cereals breads cheese ham salami fruit yoghurt pastries cakes etc. It is advisable for one consider how much to before embarking on twenty odd km walk. Nature in all aspects must be respected.
Today we crossed six shallow river valleys, I’m sure however that one of us might not agree with the definition of shallow. We have also passed from the area of Lugo to A Coruna.

Crossed from Lugo to O' Coruna

Crossed from Lugo to O’ Coruna

We are also about 45km from Santiago.
Much of today’s route took us through forrest paths and quiet country roads. I also saw something that I have never seen before and that was broccoli growing. I has never seen it except in shops and then like everything else when you see it you have to see it again.

Broccoli on the stem growing

Broccoli on the stem growing

So we did. We also had a diversion from the Camino for the building of something. Still not quite sure what exactly.
The walk while predominately downhill did take into account dropping down into valleys and climbing out again. It was strenuous in places and must have bordered on very difficult for Mary.

Pilgrim bridges

Pilgrim bridges

1009_1 IMG_2986 Melide - relaxing

Melide – having coffee

1014_1 Palas de Reí to Castaneda

Gates into our Accommodation

Castenada

Sunset from the Dining room window in Castenada

Day three for Mary completed and with a blister. All in all nearer to Santiago and the finish line.

Day 29 Portomarin to Palas De Rei about 27km

Had dinner last night with four of previous Camino family members and a good time was had by all. All members of both of my Camino families have welcomed Mary warmly into the Camino family.
We were off around seven thirty again this morning and there was a haze or fog all over the place.

Palas de Rein

Palas de Rein

989_1 Portomarin to Palas De Rei

Early morning on the way to Palas de Rei

Early morning on the way to Palas de Rei

982_1 Portomarin to Palas De Rei

Old method of grain or straw drying. “Horero” always built over ground.

We walked in it for nearly two hours it was coolish but the climbs made one feel hot. The scenery when it finally burned off on the top of the climb made all below us in altitude seem like fairy land. All the valleys were still covered in cloud and hill tops peeked out of the clouds.
We spent a lot of time on paths alongside quite roads and these paths were sometimes stoney.

Palas de Rei

Sculptures on the way to Palas de Rei

Overall the days journey was longer than the route planner stated due to the ups and downs. In all we covered about 27 adjusted Kms.
Mary tried different fuel this morning and had fried eggs on toast with coffee. Somehow I think that the pan o chocolat have a bigger fuel injection.
Day 29 and Day 2 walk is completed and all is good and both of us are nearer to Santiago.

Day 28 Sarria to Portomarin about 24km

Our Camino started around seven thirty this morning. We had two climbs to get out of Sarria and then wait until the train passed before we could really get going. It was still dark and the lamp showed us the way. Mary was all for it and the second of the climbs really opened the lungs and got the blood flowing.

Early morning on Mary's first day

Early morning on Mary’s first day

Today we had a good walk and for Mary it was a great start to Camino. The weather was pleasant without being too cold early or too hot later in the day. Today was day of gentle climbs no matter what the start was like. We had a pleasant stop for breakfast which consisted of coffee and pan o chocolate – unfortunately from a packet.

Breakfast - Pan au Chocolat out of a package - yummy

Breakfast – Pan au Chocolat out of a package – yummy

Photo Op on the way ant the backdrop was very co-operative.

Photo Op on the way and the backdrop was very co-operative.

958_1 Bridge into Portomarin

New bridge over old Dam into Portomarin

962_1 Portomarin

Part of the old bridge reconstructed

970_1 End of Day One in Portomarin

We arrived in Portomarin

972_1 Portomarin

Church of San Nicolas. This church was re-constructed after the original was threatened by flood of the new dam water. It was then removed stone by stone and re-constructed in the main square.

974_1 Portomarin

Mary at the Pilgrims statue in Portomarin

Previously I mentioned that one of my Camino friends reckoned that we were all given ?km legs some 20, 30, 35.. Well Mary made one discovery today “she has a two hour bladder”. We had no major incidents in the way, thank God.

Portomarin

The interior of the Church of San Nicolas in Portomarin

All went went well day. Day one for Mary and Day 28 for myself walking finished and one day closer to Santiago.

Day 27 Sarria 0km

Last night we had a family dinner in an Italian restaurant. It was multi bene. The meal was ten euro and the extra wine was a one euro per glass. Got pressie from my Camino family and Mary was warmly welcomed into the family. Good night and hopefully the rest if the Camino will be as good.
Today is the first rest day and after Mary’s travel of yesterday it is hers also. Mary’s luggage arrangements have now been made and for €15 her bag will be dropped at each place where we will be staying for the next few days.

Different scenes in Sarria

Different scenes in Sarria

940_1 Sarria Cemetry San Roque

A Typical Cemetary in This part of Spain.

Today after looking around Sarria I went to the barber and had all the hairs in head area dry or wet shaved. Forty five minutes later all done and parted with the princely sum of €9.50. Never had such treatment before. Now looking respectful again.
Now it’s nearly time to get organised for tomorrow. Lunch over and walking back to hotel. Here comes down the street Anne and Chisato. Looks like a hug and a beer are calling.

Ann, Chisato and us haring a meal in Sarria.

Ann, Chisato and us sharing a meal in Sarria.

Day 28 tomorrow and Mary’s first walking day.

Day 26 Triacastela to Sarria around 20km

Started today’s journey with breakfast in a local restaurant at around six thirty. I had the toast and tomatoes and coffee. All finished and the four of us headed off into the dark. It was going to be a strange day as it would be our last walk together.
We walked in the dark and regularly Larrs would say “cow spill” I had to tell that we called it closer to “cow splatter”.

Horse trough with the Scallop shell as a background

Horse trough with the Scallop shell as a background

We laughed at that. We also tried to put us into roles in the wizard of oz and the hobbit. I always seen to come out as the human.
The highest point today just under three thousand feet. 924_1 Slowly does it down the path

What goes up must some down!!!

What goes up must some down!!!

Again some spectacular scenery along. I’ve said it before one picture vies with the next for rankings.

Galician scenery

Galician scenery

Mac was out for the last five kilometres. It was that kind of rain not a lot but enough to wet you. Galicia is very like Ireland in many ways from what I’ve seen. There are a lot small fields and they are big into dairy farming. Lots of cows and sheep all along the way.

Our Last footbridge to be crossed.

Our Last footbridge to be crossed.

Here in Sarria now and checked into hotel. Mary is waiting to board plane in Dublin she should be here in a few hours. Camino family members want to meet her to have something to eat later.

Mary and our Camino Family meal in Sarria

Mary and our Camino Family meal in Sarria

Day 26 walk over and all is good.

Day 25 O’Cebreiro to Triacastela 23km

Went to Mass at seven last night. They appeared to be Franciscans. I thought that the church was so simple it was very nice. We had dinner before Mass and two of the group had Pulpo (to the uninitiated Octopus). I must be like the kids as I still must eat with my eyes!!!!
The walk started about six thirty and it was foggy and even difficult to see ten feet in front of you. We had two climbs today not great –

Early morning in Triacastela

Early morning in Triacastela

900_1 Watch out for Pilgrims - O’Cebreiro to Triacastela

Constant reminder to traffic – not foot traffic

912_1 800 Year old sweet chestnut tree

Sweet Chestnut Tree dated approximately 800 years according to the sign

916_1Triacastela

Church in Triacastela – Galician for church is Igrexa

the tallest Alto de Poio at about 4,000ft. Then a winding descent over about twelve km. Nothing I did in preparation could have prepared me the downhills. I am not a walker really and despite the fact that since the end of August I’ve covered a few miles I still say that I’m not a walker. Slowly with many baby steps I got down. The fog lifted and once again the views were stupendous.
In accommodation now and just having a rest before we tackle the job of getting food and liquid refreshment. Tomorrow see the journey to Sarria. Day 25 walk over and it’s hard to imagine that it’s under a 100 miles to Santiago.

Day 24 Villafranca del Bierzo to O’Cebreiro about 33km

After the events of the previous night last night went like a dream. Home cooked pasta carbonara with tomato salad and melon to finish. All was good.
We started today with a five thirty call for the family. Pack and breakfast for €2 at six. Out the door by six twenty and we were off. There were three options for this days walk. The one we took was a lot by road and path. All three routes met up at a point to climb the hill. Prior to climbing the hill we had a number of stops for coffee etc.

A Coffee Stop early in the morning

A Coffee Stop early in the morning

865_1 Add for Horses to O'Cebreiro

Do you need Horses?

872_1 Steeper and steeper  to O’Cebreiro

Onward and upward

874_1 General Scenery

Amazing Scenery

876_1 Onwards and upwards to O’Cebreiro

Still going up

880_1 Galicia Border

Entry into Galicia

884_1 Those horses that were rented are now down for a second Trip

Horses and owner return for second trip

891_1  Camino Family Meal in O’Cebreiro

Enlarged Camino family meal

897_1 Sunset in O’Cebreiro

Sunset in O’Cebrerio

The climbing of the hill for me was difficult. In distance about ten of the thirty km but in elevation it was about six hundred metres and the ground was poor. Rock outcrops and scree and shale were the border of the day. On the way there was a place where you could hire horses to bring you up. We saw them coming back down. I can’t imagine how the animals would do the trip not to mind up and then down again. God bless the animals.
The scenery as we approached the top was again up for excellence award. It was amazing. Each bend on the road brought vistas and the grading of such views need a new scale.
Day twenty four walk completed and we are now in Galicia. They say this is Pulpo country. I’m not sure about it. Two days left to Sarria and a few more to Santiago.