Camino del Norte Day 34: We made it! Now what?

Working on my victory stroll

November 3, 2015

Pedrouzo to Santiago, 11 miles

Today we arrived in Santiago de Compostela.  We had envisioned this day ever since starting the trail on October 1.  Actually, our visions of finishing the Camino started back to 2010, except the images were of Martin Sheen and his three newfound friends triumphantly walking into the Cathedral de Santiago at the end of the movie The Way.  For years, Dale and I had been drawn to the idea of a long-distance walk and had contemplated doing the Appalachian Trail or something similar, but that takes months to complete.  So when we saw The Way in the theater, it resonated deeply with us.  It was a hike that could be completed in about month and that entailed walking across Spain, experiencing life-changing personal growth, drinking lots of wine, and becoming best buddies with Joost from Amsterdam.  Perfect.

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Camino del Norte Day 33: One day away

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November 2, 2015

Boimorte to Pedrouzo, 15 miles

Searching for motivation

We were so close to Santiago.  We’d be there tomorrow.  And yet all the efficiency and motivation that we’d been demonstrating the last few days dissipated today.  It was hard to get going this morning for both of us.  The walk was almost entirely on pavement, and it was through nothing but fields and half-shorn forests (or at least that’s the way I remember it now).  We were leaving rural Galicia behind as we moved closer to Santiago, and it seemed lonely and depressing without the little villages and inviting cafes that we often came upon along the trail.

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Camino del Norte Day 32: Almost there

November 1, 2015

A Roxica to Boimorto: 15 miles

The last few days of our hike have been, if not easier, then smoother.  There are still challenging hills, still hurting body parts, and if anything, our bodies are starting to tire out.  My feet have swollen up like balloons, so much so that it was hard to get my shoes on this morning, and Dale in general just feels tired and achy.

But the doubts have gotten easier to manage, we’ve gotten stronger mentally, and we are learning to apply the lessons of the Camino more consistently.  And Detlef is a great distraction.

We are so close.  We’ll be in Santiago in three days, so hopefully we can hang tough for that long!

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Camino del Norte Day 31

October 31, 2015
Baamonde to A Roxica, 15 miles

Today was beautiful.  The temperature was pleasantly cool and there was no rain.  First we walked through rural countryside, the roads and paths covered in leaves, and it made me think that this must be what New England looks like in the fall.

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Camino del Norte Day 30

An interesting water fountain outside of Vilalba

October 30, 2015

Vilalba to Baamonde, 12 miles

Hannah needed to return to Germany earlier than planned, so today she decided she would take the bus and skip ahead a stage.  We knew that we would be unlikely to see her again, so we stopped by the Parador Vilalba on our way out of town to say auf weidersehen.  We found her enjoying a full breakfast in the dining room and wished her a buen Camino.

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Camino del Norte Day 29: Opening our hearts


October 29, 2015

Gontán to Vilalba, 12 miles

Today was one of our easiest days in a while, and it flowed by seamlessly.  We got off to a late start, all of us (Dale, Hannah, Detlef, and myself) sleeping in until around 8:00.  We packed up and decided to have a coffee with Hannah before hitting the trail.  To be more precise, our drink of choice was cafe con leche, espresso with steamed milk.  It is incredibly delicious and also very potent, and it’s become an addiction and a daily ritual that I will surely miss when we leave Spain.  And like many restaurant items in España, it’s also very cheap, costing anywhere from 1.20 to 1.50 euros.  Take that, Starbucks!

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Camino del Norte Day 28: Time warp in lovely Galicia

Hannah, Dale, me, and Detlef
October 28, 2015
Lourenzá to Gontán, 14.5 miles

This was our hilliest, most challenging day since the mountains of the Basque Country, with 740 meters (~2400 feet) elevation gain.  Fortunately, we are much more conditioned now, almost one month later, and while the hills weren’t easy, they weren’t cruel either.

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Camino del Norte Day 27: “It’s Galicia”

October 27, 2015

Ribadao to Lourenzá, 16.5 miles

Throughout the hike, even as we moved closer to Santiago, the end still seemed very far away.  Now that we’ve entered Galicia, however, our walk feels less like a random hike through rural Spain and more like an actual quest.  It’s all coming together.

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Camino del Norte Day 26: An important milestone and an awesome bridge

October 26, 2015

La Caridad to Ribadeo, 16 miles

Today’s destination, Ribadeo, isn’t just any old city on the Camino del Norte.  It’s the point where we leave Asturias and enter Galicia, the region of Spain that’s home to Santiago de Compostela. Every pilgrim, no matter which of the many Caminos they are walking and no matter where they started, ends up walking through Galicia, and by crossing into it, we would start the final leg of our journey.

And then there’s the bridge….

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