Distance walked today: 22 kilometres
Total travelled so far: 824.1 kilometres
It was still the crack of dawn when I woke up, since Jo Anne and Moya needed to catch a 6 a.m. taxi to the airport. A quick peek out the window told me that it wasn’t raining. Alright then…the decision was made.
I said farewell to my friends and was very proud of myself that I didn’t cry. I had a quick shower, took a final (longing) look at the thick towels in the hotel bathroom, put on my backpack and started walking once more.
As I left the city centre, I felt – for the first time during my entire trip – a bit unsafe walking by myself. Some people were still partying from the night before and they were yelling and appeared to be looking for a fight. I moved as quickly as I could through the streets and gave a little sigh of relief when I reached the outskirts of Santiago.
I was a bit nervous that I wouldn’t be able to find the route without a guidebook, but it was marked extremely well in most places. I did lose my way at one point, but a Spanish woman directed me back on the path and after that I had no trouble.
This part of Galicia was quite different from what I had seen so far. For one thing, it was affluent. There were some beautiful homes; more like estates really. For another, the vegetation was more lush. The vegetable gardens looked so healthy and I came across flowers I hadn’t seen elsewhere: wild foxglove and yellow irises among them. The ivy had gone crazy, virtually overtaking everything it touched.
I walked mostly through woodland, by-passing villages. I had to go quite a ways (about 10 kilometres) before coming to a town that had a bar open for breakfast. Even then I could only get toast, juice and tea. No Spanish omelette for me that morning. I did have a plain omelette with tomatoes for lunch. I still couldn’t stomach any white bread, having overdosed on it during the earlier weeks of my Camino.
I was hoping to run into Chris, Matteo or the Canadian couple who I’d heard so much about but hadn’t yet met. However I saw few people on the trail, none of whom I knew. It wasn’t until I arrived in Negreira and was doing some grocery shopping that I saw Chris and was introduced to Matteo. It turns out they were staying at the other albergue in town, which is why I hadn’t bumped into them earlier. I learned that the Canadians weren’t walking to Finisterre because the woman had an injury.
Back at my albergue, I felt a jumble of emotions: homesickness, loneliness for my absent Camino buddies, gratitude for the beauty of this section of the trail and for the opportunity to walk the entire day with only my thoughts for company. So often my busy non-Camino life is about ‘doing’ instead of ‘being’. I told myself for the umpteenth time that I need to change that once I return home. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened yet. Since I’ve been back in Whitehorse work is busier than it’s ever been and I have not been able to find the balance I need. I’m determined to do better though. Stay tuned for updates in the days ahead.