After hearing J talk about the Camino for a couple of years, I was pretty excited for my first day:
Leading up to this, I’d starting walking with a 20 pound weight vest for about an hour a day. My backpack weighed less than the weight vest and it fit better so it was like walking with nothing, which was awesome. We started walking at about 9:30 am and the weather couldn’t have been better.
Along the routes of the Camino, there are markers like these to follow:
That marker says that Finisterre is about 89 km from the marker and Muxia is 86 km from the marker. The routes are very well marked, for the most part, and it’s pretty easy to spot the shells as you walk along. J also follows Google maps or the Buen Camino app on his phone, which show alternative routes.
Sometimes there will only be a shell and an arrow, without the distance indicated. On our way to Finisterre, our plan was to walk to Negreira in one day and spend the night. It’s about 13.2 miles and it’s a pretty common stopping point for most people. I was happy about starting with a 13.2 mile walk because I thought that would ease me into this walking thing. And it was beautiful!
We stopped a couple of times along the way, once for breakfast and once for a late lunch/early dinner. We also carried protein bars, fruit and water to have along the way. And we made it to Negreira in the late afternoon. Not bad. This is the tunnel at the end Negreira, after we walked through the city.
At this point we thought we were close to the hostel we had booked for the night. Well, we weren’t. J had been telling me that we were going to have to walk a bit beyond Negreira because the hostel was located outside the town, but we weren’t really sure how far it was away. This was the last picture I took that day:
That is Negreira in the background. We ended up having to walk an additional 6 miles to get to the hostel. Did I mention that it was uphill? And getting dark? And freezing cold? And most of it was in the woods? Well, it was.
I stopped talking altogether because I knew I would say some really horrible things if I said anything. I just went really slowly and didn’t stop. We finally got to the hostel after about two more hours of walking. I was freezing cold, the hostel was so f*cking cold, we had to share a bathroom with everyone else (aah!!), and in our room we had two tiny twin beds and a space heater. Most pilgrims (peeps walking the Camino) stay in hostels/albergues each night. They are super inexpensive, provide a bed, bathroom, shower, some include dinner and there is usually a washer/dryer available.
I sat in front of the space heater with a sarong draped across it and me to create a balloon of heat
and a fire hazard. J did the laundry and brought me back a huge loaf of bread (I think as an apology for the state of our accommodations). I’ve never been a “roughing it” kind of girl and this is when I realized that maybe the Camino isn’t for me. J tells me that this hostel was a bad example of the hostels typically found on the Camino, though. One of my favorite parts of staying at this particular place was hearing J wake up in the middle of the night and say, “this place sucks.” LOL! He has stayed at a million hostels so I felt better knowing that it wasn’t just me.
While I love the walking part of the Camino, I’m not a big fan of living out of a bag (this is why I hate camping), packing and unpacking every f*cking day, and not knowing where I’m going to stay and what those accommodations will be like. But, all-in-all, I survived the night and was so happy to GTFO the next morning. I completed 24 hours on the Camino!