Up to Spain: Camino de Santiago Trip, 2020 main page

Tuesday May 10: Arzua

Thursday May 12: Santigo de Compostella

Wednesday May 11: Lavacolla

Dedication or Stupidity?

Today we did something. I'm not sure if it was dedication or stupidity.

The tour plan was that today we would walk about 20 km (a medium/short day), then take a taxi 10 km, to the next hotel. This would put us about 10km from Santiago, so that the next day, we could have a short half-day hike, arrive by noon, and go to the noon Mass for pilgrims at the Cathedral of Saint James. The taxi pickup was scheduled for 5:00.

The problem with this is that skipping those 10km is "cheating", and you really can't say that you walked the last 100km of the Camino. I've been debating this for literally days, and I kept coming back to the answer of "wait and see".

Jumping ahead, we got to the taxi pickup point at about 3:15. I figured that if we waited for the taxi (doing essentially nothing but sitting and resting), we would probably get to the hotel around 5:15. I figured that if we continued walking, we would probably arrive around 5:30 to 5:45, so we wouldn't be that much later. That way, we could say that we actually completed the Camino.

We didn't feel too bad, so we canceled the taxi (except for bringing our suitcases to the next hotel) and walked for another 10km. That turned a medium/short 20km day into another 30kn day (more or less).

But rewinding a bit: The place that we stayed last night was by far the best that we've stayed at during this trip. I just wish that the leg leading up to it was not a long (30km) one so that we might have arrived earlier and had more time to enjoy it.

I would describe the previous place as ostentatious. It was very pretty, and it offered great service, but perhaps because the language barrier, many things didn't work: we couldn't control the temperature well, we couldn't get the reading lights to come on. I was charged a lot on the way out (I need to look into this after the trip is over). It wasn't a good experience.

Last night was the exact opposite. The staff (one of whom spoke English) were helpful and friendly. We got good service without it being snooty or snobby (I really don't need someone to pull out my chair for dinner.) Overall, the place had a great ambiance that said that this was a posh place without being ostentatious about it.

Breakfast was already laid out for us when we showed up. There was a table for two, with fruits, cheese, meat, etc. laid out. The host asked us if we wanted orange juice and coffee. Then he asked us if we wanted eggs, and if so, if we wanted them fried or scrambled.


The only thing we screwed up was that it took us a while to realize that there was one plate of each stuff for the two of us. I figured that out before I ate all of the fruit, so Sam could get her share, but Sam had already eaten all of the eggs. I asked for more eggs, somewhat sheepishly, and the host just said "of course" and some more appeared later.

After we had finished breakfast, gotten changed, and packed our stuff up, we went out to reception. There were several suitcases already there, so we just put ours in the pile. Then we grabbed our packs and went outside. We ran into our host, who asked when we wanted to get driven to town, and if "now" was OK? So we got into their van and he drove us back to where he had picked us up. Since I didn't formally check out, I almost (but not quite) forgot to give him his room key back.

This morning, I tried something different. When I was putting the sunscreen on, I also did my legs. It was cold and foggy at that time, but I figured that very soon the fog would burn off, it would warm up, and I would take off my pant legs. Then I wouldn't have to mess with sunscreen on the Camino.

It worked like a charm! I never took off my pant legs.

A Foggy Morning
Walking Along a Dirt Pathway
Walking Along a Dirt Pathway

The fog lasted rather a while, and when it burned off, there was solid overcast. It was rather cold and damp. It wasn't bad while we were walking, but around 12:30 near the halfway point, when we stopped for lunch, we were a bit cold just sitting there. This was a place that Amy had found on the internet and had recommended via a text message.

Bar O Curro: Our Lunch Stop

Unfortunately, I screwed up the order. I ordered my stuffed peppers properly, but when we tried to order a hamburger for Sam, we apparently ordered some sort of vegetarian platter. Sam was not impressed.

The toilet there was missing its seat. I don't know if it was just broken, or if this was a hint that they only wanted people to pee in it.

When we were getting ready to leave, I saw a large crowd of high school students approaching. I'm guessing that this was the same group as previously, but it could have been a different group. We hurried out just ahead of them. For a while we slowly pulled ahead of them. Then they apparently stopped for a break, and we never saw them again.

Large Crowd of High School Students Approaching
High School Group Right Behind Us
Flowering Bush on the Side of the Path

At one point, we came across two American women. One had started in Sarria like us, but the other had started at the very start, in France. We asked her how long she has been walking, and it sounded like 28 of the last 31 days (she took a few days off in the middle). Sam and i agreed that doing that would be much too much for us.

Mid-afternoon, the sun finally came out (in and out of clouds), so I took off my sweatshirt, put on my sunglasses, and my rain hat (as a sun hat). Sam thought I looked incredibly dorky, but as an older engineer, I gave up trying to look stylish years ago.

At one point, we stopped to get Sam an ice-cream. The cost was 1.50. I gave the waitress a five and a 50, completely spaced that I needed change, and went to use the bathroom. There, I realized that I had overpaid for it, and when I came out and bought myself an ice-cream, I half expected her to give my change then, but she didn't. I said nothing, but I found out later that she had come out while I was at the toilet and given Sam the change.

Pooh About to Enjoy an Ice-cream

We continued on our way, got to the taxi pickup place around 3:15, and as I described above, decided to continue.

The Camino jogs right to go around the airport. It goes right past the end of the runway, but nothing happened while we were there. I think Sam might have been disappointed, but about 10-15 minutes later, we heard a loud noise, and through the trees, we saw a plane taking off. As we continued on our way, we saw (and heard) two more planes take off. Sam was into the markings and said that the first two were RyanAir, and the third one was AerLingus.

Some Sort of Shrine that Looked More Like a Pile of Trash

By this point, we were getting sore and tired, but there was nothing to do but soldier on. The hotel was about a half mile off of the Camino, but we found it with no problem. The host didn't speak any English, but we managed to communicate better than that previous place.

Our Hotel: Pazo Xan Xordo
Hotel Courtyard

I was rather sore. When I stopped moving for any time, I stiffened up. Then when I started moving again, I looked like Frankenstein's monster shambling along--either that or a penguin waddling.

A car pulled in just before we got there, so we had to wait for them to be checked in before we could get checked in.

This is a nice but not outstanding place. It isn't nearly as good as the previous one, but better than the one before that.

Hotel Chapel
Inside of Hotel Chapel

We were happy to see that our luggage was waiting for us when we got there.

I have been having a bit of a cough in the evenings. I think it is due to too much mouth breathing during the day, and drying out/irritating my throat. Hopefully that will end tomorrow.

Dinner was fine, but not remarkable. Sam again declined dessert.

We finished around 8:00, and back in the room I've been typing this ever since. I was originally chilled, but now I feel a bit warm. I hope it is just being worn out and tired, and isn't a sign of having picked up Covid.

In some ways, this trip has not matched my expectations. In a sort of generic fuzzy way, I pictured "Camino in Style" as being walking for a bit, stopping and resting and having a latte, going a bit further, having lunch, then stopping for a glass of wine, and then getting to your posh hotel in the middle of the afternoon to relax.

I think this image came from a movie, The Way, which I saw a number of years ago, and which probably planted the seed for this trip.

Instead, the days are pretty full of walking. I wouldn't want to stop and have a latte or a glass of wine, for fear that it would make us even later at the next hotel. Then, when we get to the hotel, it is late enough that we barely have time to get cleaned up, have dinner, write up the day's events, hit the sack, and start over the next day.

Tomorrow is going to be a short half-day. That was the point of going the extra 10km today. We only have to do another 10km in the morning (2 1/2 hours?), show up in Santiago by noon, go to the noon Pilgrim Mass, and then we are done (other than finding our lodging and checking in).

The first day, I didn't use Moleskin. My Achilles’ tendons looked sore, so for the next two days, I did use Moleskin. Then they looked horrible. I think the Moleskin made things worse. Today I didn't use Moleskin, and I think my heels are happier.

Very Unhappy Looking Feet

Up to Spain: Camino de Santiago Trip, 2020 main page

Tuesday May 10: Arzua

Thursday May 12: Santigo de Compostella