Day 27: Arzua – Santiago de Compostela

The day we’ve been working so hard for has arrived.  This day will be the one when we arrive in Santiago, receive our Compostela, and cease our daily walking.  In that, it is bittersweet. For me, the impulse to walk the Camino de Santiago was never really about seeing Santiago or earning a Compostela.  I …

Day 26: Palas del Rei – Arzua

36k The penultimate day and I literally have no recollection of that day’s walk. Towards the end there was a Chinese guy who had decided on a whim to walk the last 100k to Santiago.  His shoes were falling apart, his pack was heavy, and his spirits were high.  At least I wasn’t that unprepared. …

Day 25: Ferreiros – Palas del Rei

36 k Ironically, as the individual days become more important, they start to blend together. The newness of new new sights and relations at each bend in the road, fades into the monotony of passing kilometers.  I suspect we do this in life too: stop seeing the new and inspirational all around as we set …

Day 24: Triacestela – Ferreiros

37.8 k Since I made it up to O Cebreiro with virtually no difficulty, I was feeling optimistic about keeping to schedule and making my return flight. I’ll confess here that I systematically lied throughout my journey about the timing of my departure.  I was careful never to divulge an exact date, saying things like …

Day 23: Vega de Valcarce – Triacastela

32.9 k Warmed by a breakfast tumbler of properly aerated though bouchonee vino tinto, I set out on what I had been told and feared would be the hardest ascent of the journey.  My performance on this day would determine whether I would be able to make my return flight or indeed whether my self-propulsion …

Day 22: Ponferrada – Vega de Valcarce

37.8 kmThere was some confusion on the way out of town.  When confronting a roundabout, it’s not always clear which way is straight ahead.  The street named “Calle de Santiago” sounded promising.  There weren’t many rucksacks along the way though. Eventually encountered some French pilgrims, who informed the Calle was not the Camino, but would save …

Day 21: Rabanal del Camino – Ponferrada

34 km The albergue in Rabanal was a happening place.  Frank was there and a German couple who started walking from their home in Germany.  They walk a little every year.  This night would be their last for this year; next year, they’ll reach Santiago, a journey some five years in the making. Together, we …

Day 20: Hospital de Orbigo – Rabanal del Camino

36.4 km After the miraculous feeding of the 15 in Hospital de Orbigo, I accompanied my hospitalerio into town for some late night tapas and vino with the locals.  Such late night excursions are a rarity on the Camino, as the doors of albergues are usually locked early to encourage early departures. It’s always a …

Day 19: Leon – Hospital de Orbigo

38.4 km When the day begins with instant coffee, bread, jam, silence, and nuns, it’s nice to know that it can end with a leisurely dinner of lentils, in the garden, with a roaster from Portland’s Stumptown Coffee. Again, it’s the question of where you choose to stop and in which albergue you choose to …