I have been to the mountain top…

Day 29 I think

Start of week 5

KM to Santiago : fewer than 40

Ok I haven’t actually been to the mountain top.

But tomorrow I will. Monte Gozo. You can see Santiago Cathedral from there. And on Thursday we arrive

Good news today. Sandra (who I stupidly called Barbara on a recent photo) and Vinny – the most uplifting couple I have ever met – have finished the Camino.

I think they did something like 40 km today but are now in a bar in Santiago Which is nice.

Not much to say today. Woke up with hangover. Alan had left door of twin room open. Cleaning lady walks in. Sees me naked on bed. Laughs. (which I thought unnecessary) and walks out

Started and finished with hangover. Walked alone.

Starting to bond with plastic pilgrims. Mellowing a little.

Oh and one thought in My head

I don’t think I’ve ever really finished anything I’ve ever started

But I’m bloody well finishing this


Taxi for walkers….

Day 27 I think
Monday July 30

Ferreiros to Palais de Rei

Miles left to Santiago at end of day:42

I imagine on the Camino pain scale that snapping your ankle or knee ligaments within sight of Santiago must rate pretty highly

But its probably closely followed by sitting bolt upright in the bottom bunk bed while having an alcohol -befuddled dream and smacking your head on the (hard) wooden slats above.

Which is what I did

The dorm was rent with the kind of language that should not be heard on the sacred way of St James

And I now have an amusing Harry Potter/esque cut in my bald head. To add to the bed bug spots. What an attractive sight I make

Look, I know we should be mature about this.

I know the Camino is all about tolerance, acceptance , and understanding

But since we hit Sarria yesterday it’s all been a bit too much.

You see, Sarria is just 100 km from Santiago, the minimum distance required to get a Compestela, a religious certificate that proves you have walked the sacred way of St James.

And if you are a Spanish student it also looks good on your CV

So after the mishap of trainee priest Barry missing the Albergue last night(get a map Baz) and spending a night as the ONLY pilgrim in an isolated hostel , we were reunited today

but it’s now a bit like a pilgrim highway. As someone who has walked close to 500 miles it annoys me that these “plastic pilgrims” can get a Compostela after only 100 poxy km

You can tell that things have changed
by the number of taxis plying their trade along the Camino , either picking up exhausted day trip pilgrims or taking their backpacks to the next stop

And they block the track. It takes a real effort of will to say:” look mate, get outta my way. Ive been doing this since St Jean Pied de Port

“Johnny come latelies ,” as Dan has called them

Or Juan come lately as Alan points out

Having said that …..at least they are here. It’s really rather good to see whole families walking together and old couples holding hands

They smell better than us as well. And it means that at long last I am going faster than others. Five year olds mostly.

Passed a few “returnees” today

These are the psychos who have already walked to Santiago …and are heading BACK the other way

I met a guy the other day who had walked from Switzerland and was heading back

You can normally identify these guys by the hollow , haunted look in their eyes. And the fact they are going in the opposite direction

God knows what problems they are enduring in their lives. But most of them don’t even acknowledge a Buen Camino

Their eyes are on the prize. Whatever that is

Nearly there


I’ll tell you what I want

Day 26.
Triacastella to Ferreiros 33 km

Something odd has happened to the Fellowship of the Ring as I like to call our group of disparate travellers

I don’t know if it’s the growing belief that we are going to make it to Santiago.

Or the fact that today we passed a marker which told us there is less than 100 km to go

But we were in schoolboy/girl end-of-term mode today

Jokes. And lots of singing

In fact for general silliness we rivalled a group of teenage Spanish girls often heard singing Spice Girls songs and whom we wittily named “The Spice Girls”

At one point Sinead raced to the top of the hill. Hid behind a wall and jumped out at us .. making me choke on my camel back tube

How childish. But funny.

Stop press. Just been taking to a posh English woman who tells me that parts of Lord of the Rings were inspired by Tolkien’s visit to this part of Spain.

Therefore my Fellowship of the Ring reference is justified

Mind you, she also told me she talks to her troublesome knee to keep going

Tonight we stay in the most flyblown (literally) village we have been in yet

It is muck spreading season. And boy can you tell

Danish Aaron and the Americans have being playing a guess the next vehicle Game

Dan said tractor and won

Then Kurt said tractor. And won

Then Aaron guessed tractor pulling trailer of crap. Just for variety. And won

The aulberge here is small cramped and the single beds are jammed together. Tonight I’ll be effectively sleeping with a stranger.

Should be fun