OPedrouzo to Santiago de Compostela (pop: 96000)
May 3, 2015
8:30 AM to 12:50 PM
4 hrs 20 min for 21.5 km
We are in Santiago de Compostela! We did it! We have been in the centre for a couple of hours, long enough to wander around the exterior of the cathedral, try out our Spanish a few times before getting proper directions to Hotel San Bieito, close to everything.
We found the pilgrim office but when we saw the thirty or more people lined up, we decided getting rid of backpacks and ponchos was a better idea.
Our hotel room was not ready yet but we stored our bags. Margaret, fast change artist that she is, even changed from rain pants to her regular ones. I did not carry my pack today, but it had not arrived: so, no sandals for my aching feet.
We went for lunch at one of the closest establishments, La Fumaboteiro. We bought the pilgrim meal, which was good, although there was not as much variety as on any other Menu del Dia. We saw someone else receive a huge paella platter. That is what we should have ordered. We still left full again! Their sponge custard cake with chocolate sauce was the perfect ending.
We returned to our hotel to check in. The room was still not quite ready but my bag had arrived and our receptionist, Carlota, was charming. She checked us in and talked to us about excursions to the coast and showed us her favourite beaches on a map.
For those who wish to hear yet another weather report, yes, we were rained on for the first half of our journey but it was a warmer morning; so, we were soaked on the inside more by sweat than rain. The first half was through thick eucalyptus forest, very dark. I kept expecting to see Bilbo Baggins. The sun came out as we approached the cathedral.
We arrived at a small village, called Porto de Santiago, close to the ten kilometre marker from Santiago to the sound of a huge shotgun blast. Margaret leaped into the air. This was followed by at least twenty five more thunder claps and a flash in the sky. We figured these fireworks were for us. Why else would there be fireworks in the morning? We had been disappointed at the one hundred kilometre mark that angels and marching bands did not greet us.
At the same location was a tiny church where people were at mass. The overflow crowd was standing outside the entrance holding umbrellas. Around the edge of the churchyard several vendors had set up shop. We bought plain and chocolate churros and continued on our way. We stopped for coffee and a sock change past the airport. Those jets sure are big when you are walking past the end of the runway.
Now we are in our hotel room: our home for three nights! Unbelievable: three nights in the same room! We have a fridge stocked with juice and snacks and a lounge and kitchen downstairs where we can help ourselves to hot and cold drinks and ham, cheese, yogurt, cereal, toast, flan and fruit. All is good!