Day 29 – Palas de Rei to Arzua – 27 kilometers, 16 miles
Day 30 – Arzua to O Pino – 21 kilometers, 13 miles
One day is left.
With a 22 kilometer stroll tomorrow we will reach the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral and our walking will be done. Done.
Actually, we visited an American institution in Santiago tonight.
Arriving in O Pino this afternoon, we learned that only one restaurant was open. So off we went to dine in normal Camino style. Menu Del Dia, was as unexciting as usual, although there were more flies than normal. We found pork chops and lamb chops on the menu, and enjoyed them. They were pretty good.
But this was 2:30 in the afternoon, and the thought of going back for dinner didn’t excite either of us. There really weren’t any other items on the limited menu that we wanted to try.
And whether it was the novelty of the idea or simply the desire for home cooking, at 8 pm we asked our innkeeper to call us a taxi–we needed some American food.
And what could be more American than……………McDonalds?
So off we went. We made an early entrance into a suburb of Santiago (we didn’t see the Cathedral) and hopped out of the cab at Mickey D’s.
The taxi ride was 30 Euros.
The driver gave us her card, and after Big Macs, fries, Cokes and caramel sundaes, we were ringing her.
And we were soon whisked back to our little hotel in O Pino–another 30 Euros.
So, when we were done, our need for a bit of America cost 80 Euros–a little steeper than a trip to the Golden Arches at home.
But we have another memory.
And that is what the Camino is about.
We put in just short of 30 kilometers over the past two days. Walking mostly through landscapes that looked a lot like northern Michigan. Wooded lanes and tall trees. One difference was the beautiful fragrance of eucalyptus trees. They smelled great and were great additions to the grind.
And a unique part of our walk for the past few days is the countdown of kilometers to Santiago thanks to concrete markers along the route.
Today we passed kilometer marker 20.0.
Now that’s a big deal.
We also made new friends in the past two days.
We have made several groups of new friends–many from Ireland and Australia.
And we saw a number of old ones.
There was Elizabeth from Germany, who did the 800 kilometers with no money–she’s probably nineteen or twenty.
Then there is Naomi from Australia, who is walking alone, and we have met her nearly every day. She began near O Cebreiro.
We saw and talked to Veronica from Germany, who was one of our horse mates.
We sat with John of Greenville twice along the route. He’s a great and deep guy.
And we met three new groups of friends.
The first are Robert, his sister Catherine, her friend Donna, and Donna’s 11-year-old son, Lucas.
We met them last night at our beautiful hotel outside Arzua. They are at our less beautiful (read-fleabag) hotel tonight.
Robert lives in Ireland, the others live in Australia.
And though he doesn’t know it, Lucas, the 11-year-old, is a great and inspiring symbol of what is possible on the Camino.
Lucas would rather be playing with his friends, no doubt. But he’s traveled half-way around the world to walk for a week, up and down hills. And like all of us, he doesn’t love every minute, but he’s doing it. With is mom.
We love his traveling mates, too. Like many of those we are meeting on this walk, they are so caring and supportive, it is amazing.
We’ve also met a second group of Irish today. This group is made up of four women and one of their husbands. They, like us, plan to be in Santiago tomorrow, but they will have a special reunion in the square. One of the women’s husband and others will be ending a 3400 kilometer bike ride to Santiago that began in Ireland, and traveled through France, over the Pyrenes and tomorrow into Santiago.
Finally, last night, we had some time to talk to some Camino pro’s.
Vanessa Illanes of Andaspain Walking Adventures and Michael of Wise Pilgrim and the Wise Pilgrim apps have been more help to Pilgrims than most anyone.
Vanessa and Michael appeared to be working together in guiding or supporting a group of Pilgrims on the Camino this week when we met them after dinner last night outside the restaurant at our hotel.
They shared some exciting plans they have for the future and we were impressed with their ideas and their passion for the Camino.
These young people are doing stuff!!
We had recognized Vanessa earlier on our walk at a bar break from the Andaspain website. We happen to both have Michael’s app on our iPhones.
Our Camino Ends
We expect to enter Santiago after 1 pm tomorrow. Too late for Pilgrim’s Mass–we’ll be there Tuesday. We expect to see many of our new friends in the church square tomorrow, but if not, Tuesday or Wednesday.
In talking with our friends tonight, we all shared what our experiences have meant.
Hey, we are all softies, so we have all be touched by the people, the challenges and the daily victories of the Camino.