“Coffee stops make the world a happier place”
We set off from Padron this morning at 7.30 am – by far our earliest start – the plan being to get some miles in before the route became too busy. An excellent decision, in my book, as we made very decent progress over the first couple of hours, stopped for coffee then battered onwards towards Santiago.
We’d been warned that today would contain some demandingly steep sections, and that the rain would dampen our spirits and our clothes pretty much for the entire morning. In the event, the rain came to nothing and the predicted hills were really no big deal. Unfortunately Carolyn would, I suspect, disagree completely with the latter claim.
Following our 9.30 am coffee stop, we pushed on. And kept pushing. Up hills. Down hills. Occasionally admiring the scenery, but maintaining a pretty steady pace. To be fair, we did note that we seemed to be passing rather a lot of the old lavanderos, which, many years ago were used by locals to wash the family’s clothes. These are large sunken concrete bath – like structures. They have several raised angled slabs fitted around the bath to sit the garment on while the soap and elbow grease is/was applied. As we’ve travelled through Galicia we’ve come across a considerable number of these, sitting there filled with, I have to say, pretty dirty looking rainwater. I cannot imagine anyone attempting to clean clothes in one of these nowadays. Apparently they were supplied by the government back in the day.
Anyway, by the time we were within 6k of Santiago, there didn’t seem any point in having a second stop. I thought this was impressive, disciplined walking. Carolyn may have mentioned once or twice that she didn’t fully concur with this view.
Despite a few under the breath comments as we powered along (perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration), we arrived in the magnificent Praza Do Obradoiro at just after 1.00 pm and joined the throngs milling around admiring the cathedral’s stunning façade. The plaza/praza was, as expected, buzzing with voices excitedly chatting in languages from all over the world. The sun was shining, everyone was taking photos and it was great to know we’d finished, albeit a little sad as well.
Within about 40 minutes we’d got our passport credentials and headed off to the square where last year we’d enjoyed such a fantastic afternoon with all our friends who’d accompanied us on the latter stages of the trip. A couple of beers later the feet were burning a little less and all was well in the world!
The cathedral is currently undergoing huge renovation work, both inside and out. We were able to gain entry, but inside there is scaffolding everywhere and there’s very little to see. It goes without saying that mass is for the foreseeable future being held elsewhere, in some of the other impressive churches in Santiago. It’s not the same, though. I know if this had been the situation last year after walking all that way we’d have been gutted to miss out on seeing the thurible swinging over our heads at the pilgrims’ mass.
We were still able to light a candle in the cathedral for Lisa, and also one for Angus, the son of our Australian friends Andrew and Lizzie. That meant a lot to us. Carolyn wanted to light a third candle for all our family, friends and supporters of the charity who have lost loved ones, which she duly did.
Lunch was had in a fantastic Italian restaurant where we chatted with a mother and daughter from Florida, who were very nice. The remainder of the afternoon and this evening have been spent re-acquainting ourselves with the cafes and bars we visited last year. Unfortunately we depart Santiago at 10.00 am tomorrow on the bus to Porto, so compared to last year this really is a flying visit. It’s still a special place for us, nonetheless, and always will be.
Porto tomorrow! We’ll have the afternoon and most of Tuesday to explore the city (rather than try desperately to work out how to exit it) before we catch a flight back to Edinburgh in the evening. The baby Camino has ended! Where to next, I wonder?
Today’s album track is “Rule the World” by Take That. We’d always meant to include this song at the end of one of Lisa’s masses, but it never quite happened. We like it because it’s upbeat and positive, and, of course reminds us of Lisa xxxx