Friday, July 13, 2018

Primitivo - Day 14: O Pedrouzo to Santiago (20.1km on 7/13/18)

I left the albergue by 6:30am and was feeling energetic so set a nice pace.  Stopped once for a very quick cafe cortado and walked the rest of the way only stopping to stamp my pilgrim “passport” twice.  Arrived the square in front of the cathedral before 11am and was glad to be done since the sun was becoming quite warm. I felt like I was finally in “camino fitness” mode and with no foot problems or unusual aches.  Too bad it has to be over but I am looking forward to being home. The walk has been 320km (200 miles) done in 14 days and averaging 14 miles per day. A pretty satisfying walk for this 68 year old! I’m staying tonight the “Roots and Boots” albergue.  Not too far from the cathedral and in a neat older building. I’m on the 3rd floor and have a view of the cathedral from my dormitory. Away from the street there’s a garden area with a covered dining area so it’s quite nice. Tomorrow I’ll change to the “Last Stamp Albergue” and then fly home Santiago - Madrid - London - Seattle.

After arriving I did the usual routine then picked up my pilgrim’s compostela and met fellow hospitalero for beer and then later for dinner.

Lots of pilgrims on the morning path

The square in front of the Santiago Cathedral.  Completed in 1211 and the destination of all the Caminos de Santiago.

Nice Austrian family - parents and 3 teens that I met last night.  They walked the same route.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Primitivo - Day 13: Arzua to O Pedrouzo (20km on 7/12/18)

Day 13 (12-July-2018):  Arzua to O Pedrouzo (20km):  I left the albergue before 7am even though it’s not going to be a long day.  The route was very busy with pilgrims but not so much as I was expecting. I stopped for cafe con leche and tortilla and then continued on.  The weather was mostly cloudy for the first few hours then sunny and muggy but not too hot. I stopped at a restaurant that we’ve visited on 4 different caminos and had a beer and a sandwich, reserving half for later because it was so big.  Continued on and reached O Pedrouzo just before noon. I went to an albergue that we stayed at in 2016 but there was a tour bus parked out front so decided it might be crowded and noisy. The crowding can be expected in any albergue but it you have a large group of people who know each other the dormitories can be very noisy.  In addition, the bus probably means that people put suitcases in the bus and carried only a day pack. When they bring luggage into a dormitory it’s also difficult. The “Rem” albergue is not too big and fairly modern - nothing special but it will serve its purpose. O Pedrouzo has lots of accomodations since it’s 20km from Santiago and there are not very many options to stay between here and Santiago.

Chipirones a la Plancha and Chips for dinner last night.

It's distressing to see the graffiti on the markers

Lots of perigronos on the route this morning

 A restaurant/bar where I've now stopped on 
4 caminos.  Interesting decor in the 
courtyard with old kitchen and farm tools.

 Morning path with walkers

Tortilla and cafe con leche at a cafe
alongside the camino route

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Primitivo - Day 12: Melide to Arzua (14.7km on 7/11/18)

I slept in this morning -- until 6:30am and almost everyone else had already left.  Made myself a nice breakfast in the albergue’s kitchen using the stuff they set out for the pilgrims.  I need/want to break up the remaining 52km into 4 segments so spent a fair bit of time working that out.  Today’s plan is to walk the 15km to Arzua and hopefully stay where we did in 2014. In Melide, the Camino Primitivo joins the Camino Frances. “The French Way” as that’s the route most commonly used by the French in the middle ages.  The way today was fairly crowded with pilgrims but not too bad since I started a bit late. Mid-morning I even double-checked my route since no pilgrims were in sight - something unusual this close to Santiago. There were lots of bars and some new albergues along the route and I had cafe cortado (shot of espresso with a touch of steamed milk).  I reached Arzua at noon and found the albergue where we stayed in 2013. It was just opening and I had no trouble getting a lower bunk near a window. After the usual housekeeping, I went to a restaurant recommended by the hospitalero for a menu del dia.

A neat old bridge that I saw yesterday

Statue of St. James dressed as a pilgrim 
at the church in Melide

The Galician Horreo (granary) is rectangular 
and smaller than the Asturian Horreo

Galician Countryside

I'm staying at Albergue da Fonte
where we stayed in 2014

Primitivo - Day 11: San Roman de Retorta to Melide (28.1km on 7/10/18)

Well, the "dog ate my homework" again.  By that, I mean that the android blogger program deleted the post when I saved it.  Not sure what's going on but there's nothing that can be done other than to save the post and then publish.  Most times, that works fine but sometimes the published version is missing most or all of the content.  I can easily get the verbage back from my diary but pictures are gone.  Ah, well!

Well, I could grab a few photos but they are in reverse order so the day's walk would read bottom to top.

Left Albergue 6:40am and arrived Melide at 2pm, checking in to Albergue O Candil.  Along the way stopped twice for snacks and made steady time. Much of the path was one lane paved roads with some gravel lanes and a few shaded paths.  After 18km crossed the last “big hill” at 700m and then downhill the rest of the way to Melide. The sun burned through the morning mist by ~9am and was warm for walking.  Fortunately the last 10km included quite a bit of shaded areas. Arrived Melide feeling quite hot and tired! Too bad there was no midway places to spend the night as I’ve plenty of days before I want/need to reach Santiago and it would have been nice to keep in the 15-20km per day range.  After the usual shower/laundry routine I wandered the village a bit but the heat and tired feet made that less enjoyable than usual. Melide is very well known for octopus (pulpo gallego) so hope to have that or perhaps some chipirones but will need to wait until things open for dinner.

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Sunday, July 8, 2018

Primitivo - Day 10: Lugo to San Roman de Retorta (19.8km on 7/9/18)

We left hostel before 7am, went through the old city wall at a gate not far from the cathedral and found a bar for cafe.  Getting out of the city was easy and we walked on quiet asphalt roads or nearby trails for most of the morning. The fog burned away quickly and today was sunny and warmer than yesterday.  We found a bar after 10km and had toast and cafe. After leaving the bar, Neil and I parted ways. He walks a bit faster than I do and needs to be in Santiago sooner so was planning on going further today anyway so I suggested we part then.  It’ll be a bit different on the path without his company but we will meet for dinner on the 14th so that will be fun. We worked together as hospitaleros in Grado for 15 days then walked the camino for 10 days. I continued on mostly asphalt one and two lane roads (harder on the feet today!) but there was a bit of shaded forest paths for more relaxed walking.  After 19.8km I came to Albergue O’ Candido in San Roman de Retorta and it’s situated nicely near the camino. Stopping just before noon was a luxury! After shower and laundry (hung on a nice sunny clothesline behind the albergue) I had a partial menu del dia consisting of ensalata mixta, bread and most of a bottle of red wine and enjoyed watching pilgrims walk by.  It’s now 7:30pm and the albergue is mostly but not completely full.

Tapas bars in front of Hostel

Crossing the river as we left Lugo

Walking on gravel path next to road - better than asphal but not much

After mid-morning stop for coffee.  Neil and I said goodby -  we'll meet for dinner in Santiago.  


A bit of forested path was a great change from the sunny asphalt!

A nice albergue in a beautiful setting.  I ate my meals under the umbrellas

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Primitivo - Day 9: A Codava to Lugo (30.5km on 7/8/18)

Left albergue at 7am and anticipating a long day of ~30km.  First ~3km was uphill then mostly downhill and undulating. Some on asphalt but more was on gravel and dirt forest tracks.  The morning fog lifted fairly soon and it was sunny. Fortunately much of the way was in the woods or shaded. Still there was much more sun than we wanted.  We stopped for cafe and tortilla along the way in Castroverde but that was the only bar today. The other stop was in a village that had a shaded area with vending machines and not too bad considering.  We made fairly good time and arrived Lugo after 30.5km and 7.5 hours walking. Checked in to Hostal Cross not far from Plaza Mayor and in the old city. There’s a 2km diameter city wall dating back to the third century and the city is over 2000 years old and founded by the Romans.  The hostel is cramped and hot so a change from our usual rural albergues. We had a partial menu del dia and a few beers with snacks. Our street has several tapas bars so that’s interesting.

Lugo is 100km from Santiago so pilgrims can start here and get their compostela certificate in Santiago. Thus, the way will be much more crowded from here.

Stone near the city marking distance from Santiago.  The kilometers are getting smaller and smaller

Typically early path - uphill for the first bit

Nice view of the countryside in the morning.

Pleasant path


Berza (Collard greens) in a garden

Roadside walking - not so fun

Cathedral in Lugo

Bar scene in front of our hostel

Friday, July 6, 2018

Primitivo - Day 8: A Fonsagrada to A Cadavo (25km on 7/7/18)

We left the albergue in A Fonsagrada at 7am and walked in comfortable conditions, cool and foggy at first and the with low clouds until mid-day.  The path was often of compressed gravel, sometimes on grass or dirt and in forests, not too much along the highway. There were several climbs that topped out above 1000m. We stopped once for coffee and another time for coffee and tortilla, arriving in A Cadavo (Galician) or O Cadavo (Spanish).  We stayed in Albergue San Mateo, a private family owned albergue next door to their bar. We cleaned up and had a nice menu del dia lunch in the restaurant attached to the bar. Especially delicious was a berza (collards), portato and ham dish but the entree of tender beef and potatoes was also tasty.  Of course, accompanied by a bottle of wine. The owners of the bar/albergue are very nice.

Morning path in the forest

Fog as the sun comes over the hilltop
Village with fogg

More forest trails

View of the countryside from our highest elevation for the day 1000m (3300')