16 days to go. Blimey!
Is it right to not be prepared with such little time? This is Camino #6 now so I should really be a veteran at this stage? I look at my rucksack….empty..and my gear lying on the floor. The said gear should be in the aforementioned rucksack. Also, I have a number of questions whizzing through my head. What should I do when I arrive in Santiago? Am I fit enough? Am I walking this for a particular reason? Meh..I’m a worrier..I always have been..maybe a few hours sitting in Muxia will sort that out, who knows?
The flight leaves Dublin at 1.00pm and I arrive in Santiago at 4.20pm Spanish time (Damn you Europeans..why do you steal us Irish of an hour?!) A quick bus trip will leave me at Praza de Galicia and after a slow 5 minute walk, I arrive at my base for the first night, Hospideria San Martin Pinario (google maps). San Martin Pinario is an pretty unique albergue in the centre of Santiago. It caters for tourists and pilgrims alike. Pilgrims rooms cost €23 per person including breakfast. Plus, it is right next to the cathedral. Ideal.
After I fling off my pack, I will take to the small winding streets of Santiago, while bagpipes play around me. Plaza de Obradoiro and the Cathedral is a must (google maps). If you hang around here for a while and take in the surrounding, you will meet pilgrims finish their own Caminos. There’s a great sense of joy and accomplishment when you reach Santiago. Many pilgrims will decide to return home to their respective countries the day following or soon after, while others will walk further westwards to the coast like myself. My next port of call will be Cafe Casino on Rua do Vilar (google maps), a place I have been to twice before. It serves a fab cerveza, vino or tapas. That said, there are so many different places to eat and drink in Santiago that you are spoilt for choice. Other recommendations include Café Literarios on Praza da Quintana de Vivos and A Taberna do Bispo on Rua Franco. The good thing about Hospideria San Martin Pinario is there is no curfew so there is no rush to return before the doors are closed (it has nearly happened before!!)
I will be carrying 2 scallop shells with me this year. One is for Denise Thiem. While I won’t be walking the route for her, I will have her in my mind. You can drop in shells to The Pilgrim House on Rua Nova (google maps) where Faith & Nate can take it from you and deliver it to a monument outside of Astorga. The second shell is for my uncle who recently passed away. I hope to leave it in Muxia. He had great interest in my Caminos and often asked if I had plans to walk in the near future. So in a way, these few days will be dedicated to him. Other than that, I aim to better my Spanish and enjoy the culture, although in Galicia not many people speak Castilian Spanish.
The question of being fit enough has been answered long enough. No! I laugh when I say that. (hashtag lazy!) I don’t think I have walked more than 10kms since I returned from Molinaseca in May 2015. Actually, no…I walked 26kms in March of this year. That said, I am happy with my gear, especially with my shoes and once I get going, I should be fine. I love that optimistic attitude I have 🙂
I arrive back to Santiago on the 7th and hope to see a little more of the city, and meet some friends hopefully. The great Alameda Park (google maps) deserves a visit again, while there is a Mass in English in the Cathedral at 10.30am. That’s something that I may do. On the other hand, I may just return to my favourite haunt, the Cafe Casino and read up on Camino #7.