Camino Portugues Spain Spiritual Variant

Day 26: Vilanova de Arousa to Santiago de Compostela

Today I would reach the goal for the first part of my walk, Santiago de Compostela. Of course things didn’t go exactly as planned. As I wrote yesterday, the boat I was due to take at 7.30am from Vilanova de Arousa was cancelled. The next boat. at 10am, was then further delayed by 30 mins, so instead of starting to walk from Pontecesures at 9.00, I started at 12.15.

Fifty or so walkers and cyclists were on the boat as we departed from Vilanova de Arousa. During the 90 minute trip we passed a large number of platforms where muscles are grown, and the boats that harvest them: we also passed the 12 crosses showing the way to Santiago. The route is believed to be the route that the boat carrying St. James’ body and his disciples followed in AD44. It was a pleasant trip, with coffee and cake included in the ticket, and plenty of time to talk to some of the other passengers, including the Spanish father and his son. Non of the ones I spoke to were walking to Santiago today.

The captain of the boat was very dramatic. As we left the port, he played a Spanish song called “Santiago Here We Come”, when we sailed over a part where the water was only 1m deep where we sailed very slowly, he played the theme tune from the Titanic, and as we arrived at the port it was Final Countdown – which stuck in my head all day.

Off the boat, I had a 29km hike to Santiago, and followed a couple of Germans out of town and into Padron. They had a good pace and I was quietly hoping that they would be walking to Santiago, as we would be there quickly, if I could keep up. In Padron they turned towards the Albergue and I was pretty much alone for the afternoon walk to Santiago.

The stage crisscrossed the main road between Padron and Santiago. If I’d followed the main road it would have been 18kms, but following tracks and roads on either side of the main road, I walked 29km. The stage itself was not particularly interesting. It rained three or four short, but fairly heavy, showers on the way, and was cloudy, but fine walking weather.

I took a break in A’Picarana, after about 12kms, for a sandwich, coffee and cola. I also took a picture of the first marker showing that I had less than 10km to go.

My hotel, was 1km before the Cathedral, so I dropped off my stuff, before walking the last kilometer. After the boat, I only met 7 other walkers, two of them Germans who had left Padron 4 hours before I had, but one of them had a bad back. I was happy to see them on the square later.

I hung around the square watching people come and go, some limping during to injuries picked up on the way. All happy at completing, taking pictures in front of the Cathedral. I walked around the packed Cathedral, but didn’t see the jewel encrusted statue of St. James behind the high alter, nor his tomb, under the crypt, which seeing are evidently pilgrim traditions – the queues were too long. Perhaps tomorrow.

I ate, called home and went back to the hotel, tired and slept with earplugs – people walking home after celebrating the end of their trip, were very noisy.

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