Negreira to Olveira

Okay, so I survived the night at the first hostel outside of Negreira and because we walked so far the previous day, we only had about 15 miles left to walk on day 2! Never thought I’d be so excited to walk only 15 miles. The sun doesn’t rise until after 8 am here and I think we were on the road by 9 or 9:30 that day. It was pretty cold and there was still frost on the grass.

We were so lucky that the weather was beautiful again.

I really loved walking through all the small towns in this part of Spain. People always greeted us and said, “Buen Camino!” which was nice to hear. There were other pilgrims walking along the way too and it was interesting to see where they were from (Germany, Brazil, Australia, the UK, South Korea, Holland, etc.).

A couple of hours into our walk that day, we stopped for breakfast. When we were sitting, I noticed that the inside of my ankles were burning…a lot. I looked at them and they were kind of red and puffy and parts of my feet were too. I’d been wearing Smartwool socks for the first time ever (rookie mistake) and my feet did not like them. I changed into some cotton socks which felt better and we continued walking.

My feet/ankles continued to hurt, but it wasn’t unbearable. I think we had a pretty good pace that day and as usual, the views were incredible!

We arrived in Olveira at around 3:30 or 4 pm. We had a bit of difficulty finding the hostel J booked for the night and ended up in a graveyard! LOL, except for the fact that as it turned out, the hostel wasn’t much better than the graveyard and my feet were killing me by then. J was not impressed with our accommodations and decided that it was time to make an executive decision. As I sat with my feet elevated thinking about all the poor decisions I’ve made in my life, J called a taxi to take us to Muxia, a town that he’d been to before, but that we weren’t going to have time to visit if we kept walking to Finisterre. On our way to Muxia, he booked a hotel for the night and canceled the reservation at the hostel (and even got a refund!). He’s pretty awesome.

We made it to the hotel and showered (in our very own, private bathroom!), and walked down to see the sunset at 6 pm.

It was definitely worth the walk. It was also cool to see this marker:

Although my Camino experience was over, I walked 35 miles in two days, slept in a hostel with a shared bathroom(!), walked through parts of Spain I never would have seen otherwise and learned a lot (mostly not to wear socks I’ve never worn before). The next day, we went to Finisterre by taxi, stayed in a hotel at the “end of the world,” and got some cream for my feet at the pharmacy. And the real vacation began…

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Santiago to Negreira

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!

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Santiago de Compostela

Hola! I met J in Santiago de Compostela on Sunday night. He had been walking the Camino de Santiago for about 35 days at that point. He started in St. Jean Pied de Port in France, walked about 800 km (500 miles) and arrived in Santiago on Sunday afternoon. It was almost dark when I got there, but still beautiful:

We did a little exploring and found a chocolate shop. It smelled absolutely incredible!

We even stopped by the next day just to smell it again.

Exploring the city on Monday was great! The weather was cold, but it was so sunny! I love cold, sunny weather. And the city is just beautiful.

That’s the Cathedral de Santiago where the many of the Camino de Santiago routes terminate. J has been wanting me to walk with him for a long time (he’s walked various routes of the Camino a few times), but I haven’t wanted to use 30 days of vacation time to walk across Spain. We decided that I’d join him on a three/four day walk from Santiago to Finisterre. It’s about a 52 mile walk and I was pretty excited to start walking on Tuesday morning:

We had a 13.2 mile walk planned that day, from Santiago to Negreira. It was actually a 19 mile walk, with the last 6 miles being uphill. Such a fun surprise…

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