Monday, June 29, 2009


I had planned on walking for at least 4 days to Finisterre but with the albergue at Corcubion closed I decided that I would just walk all the way to Finisterre today.
Yesterday had been a long walk - over 32km - and today would also be a long walk if I walked all the way to Carbo Finisterre, the lighthouse at the √©nd of the world´. - about 36km by the time I walked back down the hill from the lighthouse.
The first pilgrim got up at 5h30 and my cell phone alarm went off at 6am. Conny was getting up so we packed and walked together to one of the bars for a cup of chocolate - she a cafe on leche.
"Are you going to walk to Finisterre or Muxia?" I asked.
"I don´t know" she said. "I´ll see when I get there!"
We walked together until we came across another open cafe bar just before Hospital where the routes to Muxia and Hospital split. Conny decided to stop for a coffee, I decided to walk on, so we said goodbye and promised to email each other. As I passed the cafe bar I saw Pete, the pilgrim from Holland I'd walked with the day before. I walked ahead for quite a while and then he caught up and we walked together for a while. It started to rain so I put on my raincoat.
The route leads you onto a high platteau with wonderful views on both sides. The wind was quite strong and it was the coldest I´d felt since France. I caught up to Pete and we walked together into Cee and Corcubion at about 11am.
"I´m going to stop for a drink" I said.
"Me too" he said. But, it is fiesta in Corcubion and we walked for ages before asking someone if there was a cafe bar open anywhere.
"Only one" said a local, "it is fiesta so everything is closed".
He directed us to the only open cafe bar in Corcubion and we had a hot chocolate and a Madelena before continuing. The path took us up a rocky little trail between high, ancient stone walls. Then we were high above Corcubion and after a km we came across the albergue with all the fiesta paraphanalia set up outside. We walked on in the rain. I stopped to put my raincoat again and and Pete carried on going so I walked alone for a while but caught up to a pilgrim from Switzerland (another Peter) and he and I walked together down to the beach and along a long paved promenade that strecthes for a few kms all the way to Finisterre. When I arrived at the albergue I saw Pete and he told me that it only opened at 4pm so I put my backpack in line on the pavement and joined Pete and some other pilgrims at a bar across the road. We ordered a large plate of chips with ketchup and Mayonaise and sat eating hot chips and drinking Coke for an hour.
The albergue opened at 4pm and it was Ana and Begona who were the hospitaleras. I was shown up to the dormitory, had a shower and washed my undies.
"Hello Sylvia" I heard. It was Bernice, a RSA pilgrim from Johannesburg who walked the camino from St Jean to Santiago and had got the bus to Finisterre today. We made arrangements to see each other later and I left to walk up to the lighthouse with an Australian girl I´d met a few days ago. On the way down I bumped into Bernice again and we are hoping to meet up again tomorrow for breakfast.
I spoke to Begona about tomorrow and she said I must leave my backpack in the room and come back at 4pm. Then, on Wednesday I can go to Corcubion and start at the albergue.
When I cleared my didgi-walker this afternoon, it read 36.5kms. I don´t really feel as though I´ve walked that distance - about 68km in two days. I´m almost tempted to walk to Muxia tomorrow with a smaller backpack, but I´ll wait and see how I feel in the morning - and what the weather does.
Finisterre is a lovely little fishing village and I´m going to stop and watch the gulls fighting over fish on the beach before I go to bed!


Leaving Negreira

When I left the hotel rain was threatening but fortunately I didn´t need my raincoat for the first hour. From Negreia you pass through many forests, open land and small hamlets that seemed to tumble into each other.
At one time I was walking along a little lane when a heard of cows started coming down towards me. I went back to where there was a small cross roads. The cows continued to come down, dozens of them. I started to take a video of them and gave a running commentary. "OK" I said to the lead cow "You just go on your way, I don´t want you to come any further in my direction." She stopped and looked at me with her head down so I moved over to the other side of the lane. I was standing in her way and as soon as I moved she started walking up the lane with all the other cows following. I started walking up the lane and another flipping herd started coming down. I was too far up to go back down again so I stood aside, pressed against a stone wall with fat cows ambling past me, turning their heads to give a beady eyed stare at this stranger standing on their lane. There was a woman herding them down the lane and she shouted at them as they passed me. For the next few hundred metres I was stepping around cow dung patties all hot and steamy!
At Vilaserio I pass the vacant schoolhouse where pilgrims can sleep the night and have a shower - no electricity.
I passed 2 pilgrims along the route, then a lone female, then a couple. I had planned on stopping at Santa Marina (19.5km) but I got there at 12 o´clock and the place that reportedly had rooms was right on the highway with a busy bar next door. I didn´t know what I would have done with myself from mid-day to 8pm so I just carried on walking.
Peter, a pilgrim from Holland caught up to me and started chatting about South Africa, the Dutch history, Afrikaans etc so we walked together to Oliveiroa about 12.5km further on. We got there at about 2pm. A sign on the door said that the hospitalero would only arrive at 4pm so please choose a bed and make yourself comfortable. It is a good albergue, the sitting area and registration room is a building on the left side of the path. There is also a stable with beds upstairs and a few mattresses downstairs. Across the narrow, stone path is a stone building with a dormitory and bathroom downstairs and upstairs. Next to that is a small stone building with beds for 4 people and next to that is a stone Horrero that is lit up at night.
While I was doing my washing I met Conny, a woman from Holland (there were about 6 Hollanders staying there) and we just hit it off right away.

"Are you English?" she asked. "No, South African" I said "but I speak English.
"So what do you do in South Africa then? Are you in business?"
"No" I said "I´m just a housewife, mother, grandmother."
"How boring" she said. I just burst out laughing! "And you?" I asked her. "You are a rocket scientist?" She burst out laughing. We went to one of the bars - in another stone building right next to the Horrero, and had lunch and a drink. At 4pm the hospitalero arrived and when it was my turn to register I told him that I was a volunteer hospitalera for Corcubion and could he tell me when it would reopen. 1 Julio - he told me. There was a fiesta in the town and the stalls, bandstand etc had all been set up right outside the building that housed the albergue. I decided that I would walk to Muxia - about 28kms away - and walk to Finsiterre the day after.
At about 6pm a woman arrived in a car and a woman asked for Sylvia. This was Begona from Finisterre. "If you walk to Finisterre tomorrow you can stay for 2 days" she said. So, I changed my mind and decided to walk to Finisterre and not to Muxia after all.
It had been a long day so I went to bed at about 8:30pm. There was one snorer in the room who had the most incredible range or snorts, rumbles, chain-saw growls. I finally fell asleep and only heard him intermitantly.