This is the last leg, folks. It’s always an exciting, yet sad, day. I hate the end of the Camino! But I always look forward to reaching Santiago.
Before I got started, I toured a newer albergue in town, run by the same Maril family that operates the inn. It looked fairly nice to me – clean, three floors, no more than three beds per room (and singles and doubles, too). One living room even came with a massage recliner. A Maril uncle runs the adjacent bar.
One of the family members wanted to take me to see a monastery and some waterfalls that lie 5km out of town. They said it’s a very famous spot, and very beautiful. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time. But something to plan for in the future.
So back to the actual Camino. Today was supposed to be cloudy all day. Since this entire last week has been cloudy and rainy as predicted, I trusted the forecast. Big mistake. It ended up being mostly sunny, and my sunscreen was packed in my suitcase. I ended up with very sunburned hands and ears. Oh well, it was wonderful to see the sun again.
There were some muddy/wet stretches here, but nothing too bad at all. I discovered a pasteleria in Bandeiras (right on the Camino on your left as you first enter town) and stopped for a cream puff. Have I written about that before? My daughter Maura and I discovered several really good cream puffs here. I never would have pictured that as a Spanish specialty, and maybe it’s not a specialty per se, but now it’s a favorite treat of mine here. Since it was Saturday, there was also a market in town. Wish I had had time to explore it. I did see some men cooking fresh octopus on the street.
Oh, random comment. I’ve noticed a wealth of logging activity going on (trucks hauling cut trees, and stacks of trees piled up). Plus there were some lumber mills in the Castro and A Susana areas with freshly-cut boards all stacked up. Not sure what kind of wood they’re cutting (there’s a lot of eucalyptus and pine in the area), but it was interesting because I’ve never noticed that before. I’ve hiked in March before, but I was in Andalucia and Extremadura.Is lumber a big business here?
So Santiago. There still are no markings once you’re directed into town. I’d read my own guidebook entry at the start of the day and knew the basic way to go, but I wanted to see if I could do it sans help, so I didn't look at it once I got into town. I promptly ended up passing the cathedral once again and having to backtrack. I just don’t understand this. Not only aren’t there Camino signs, but there aren’t even any regular city signs directing you to the cathedral (at least from the street you come in on from the VDLP). And this is a major city attraction!
Stopped in at the new pilgrim’s office for my Compostela. It’s in the same little courtyard as before, and is now connected right with the cathedral gift shop. I believe they said I was something like pilgrim #165 for the day, which seemed pretty good since it’s the very start of the season.