A road less travelled, I heard, and yes I have been quite alone. So far I have seen a group of 10 in the distance and I’ve spoken to 4 others.
So it started in Santiago where my handsome taxi driver took me out for lunch and then to the bus station and even got me the ticket to Ferrol! (the starting point for this Camino) He also made sure I knew which bus to catch and where to wait. Where did he come from and how I happen to be so lucky, I have no idea. (I have all his details for any of you wishing to have an experience like mine.) I want to take him home with me!!
Anyway, I have three guidebooks for this walk. I sat down in my hotel to peruse them, knowing that I can get lost just going to the supermarket. I went for a walk to find the starting point, and walked a kilometre or so in the wrong direction, turned back and found I had gone in a circle and was metres from my hotel! Time for a drink and to reconsider my map reading skills, I found a bar and swilled down a vino blanco and ate tapas until my waistband was too tight. A drink or two later and I really didn’t care any more anyway. How do restaurants make money when they feed you all this food for free. Just keep ordering drinks and you get fed till your eyes bulge!
I gave up and decided to work it all out in the morning, but, of course that didn’t help either. (My kids are rolling their eyes at me as they read this).
With no other backpacks in sight, I just wandered towards the water and found a church to get my first stamp. A few yellow arrows in the town would really be helpful at this point! Because I didn’t stay in the albergue, I had no idea where to go, but the aforementioned 10 loud Spanish people sauntered by and I surreptitiously followed as their shadow and was soon on my way.
It has been my observation that arrows are few and far between sometimes on this route, especially in and out of the towns. Once on the path I was fine, and as it wound around the edge of the water I began to relax into a rhythm.
This Camino is like no other I have done. The lack of pilgrim traffic, and the beautiful scenery had me spellbound. The scent of honeysuckle had me sneezing the whole way, causing me to make a decision between blowing my nose in my scarf or doing a ‘bush hankie’! I chose the latter and laughed at how classy I can be sometimes!!
I woke up dehydrated this morning and drank a couple of bottles of water, had juice and coffee with my delicious breakfast of toast and strawberries, so of course it caused a problem along the way. When you have to go, you have to go, so rejecting the thought of using the SheWee in the bottom of my bag, I went in search of a place to pee. I never noticed before that there are so many blackberry bushes in Spain! I battled my way through to find a clearing but there was none! Needless to say I have a few scars and scratches in places you don’t want to know about, but I had to do it! Of course, my toilet paper was neatly tucked away in a zip lock bag in my pack too…..over there!!! Grrr. Yep I’m all class!
The path goes through some beautiful forests, past goats and cows lazing in the fields, and there are many sleepy hamlets. There are some challenging hills to climb and some extremely steep descents. I had a few locals laughing at me this afternoon as I employed what Colleen and I have called ‘the pilgrim shuffle’. Bend the knees a bit and take really tiny steps, almost running. It is no faster than walking but it is easy on the knees!!!
I am now about half way and Ive struck a problem. There is so few places to stay that I am having trouble getting accommodation for the next two nights. Another Camino links into this one and even though there are not many pilgrims around, there are so few beds. I was going to say that this Camino is fantastic, and it is, but this is a huge problem and something needs to be done!
I have had sunshine every day that I have been in Portugal and Spain, but it rains a lot here and I believe there is rain predicted for the next week non-stop.
This will present its challenges no doubt but I look forward to not being in the heat. Today was really humid up in the forest and I was literally wringing my hair out and absolutely dripping. Almost took a photo but didn’t want to destroy the image you have of me. Although, now that you know how I deal with sneezing fits, you may be questioning that.
So, in short, I’m loving this Camino but disappointed that accommodation is so scarce. Had I known, I would have booked it all before I left as that would be the obvious, but of course, it’s not the way I do things. This blog is too long. I’ll end here by saying that the Ingles Camino is fantastic !!! I’m loving it and may even do it again sometime.