Sunday, July 3, 2016

Santiago de Compostela - Vilaserio

Camino Muxia day 5.
Distance: 32.6km (155.8km), time spent: 9:11 (44:22).
Weather: Nice and warm.

Above Santiago de Compostela the sky are beginning to brighten, although it is early in the morning the first pilgrims of the day has already taken their last steps on the Camino and arrived at Praza do Obraidoiro. We could hear the clicking of the hiking poles against the cobblestones outside in the morning. From them, the walk may be over; to us, this day marks the start of a new route, the Camino Muxia. I have twice walked the Camino Finisterre from Cee, so this time I want to take the route that goes directly to Muxia after Hospital. Negreira was not really a place of my liking, now I have thought that we continue towards Vilaserio instead.

In the morning, sunlight streams through the streets of Santiago de Compostela behind us.

Crossing Praza do Obraidoiro in the morning is the very opposite of yesterday, at the large space it is completely empty of people and it is silent. We find some pilgrims in a small café in the streets just below the cathedral (the same street as the new pilgrim's office are located in), they eat breakfast after completing their Camino, and we eat breakfast to start our second part. When we go through the last streets of Santiago, sunlight streams down through them.

Just outside of Santiago, we can look back and watch the spires of the cathedral and churches in Santiago rising towards the sky.

I have walked the Camino Finisterre before, so I know what awaits us, at least until Hospital. I remember that the walk to Negreira was pleasant until you cross beneath the highway just before the town; from there it was not that exciting, and fortunately it is not so long of a walk before you arrive in Negreira. There have been no changes since last year that I can see, except that the hotel at Ponte Maceira (which has a wonderful sello and a good burger) is not open yet when we get there. A small tent that stood in the outskirts of Santiago now has got another tent as a neighbour.

Kjetil walking on the wonderful old bridge in Ponte Maceira.

The route is still just as pleasant; the biggest difference from last year is that we now meet more pilgrims than I did last year, especially pilgrims who walk in the opposite direction. One of those we meet walking towards Santiago, is a pilgrim with bright and blond, partly braided hair. With heavy and distinct steps, he pounds onwards, his face stern and tense, like a Viking. Kjetil salute him as he passes us, which are just answered by an abrupt and rancid 'ssssssshhh', someone clearly has a bad day. During the rest of our journey, this shush becomes the source of much amusement; I almost consider answering the same to a random pilgrim we will meet, just to see how the reaction will be. The funniest meeting on the walk.

A sort of a shy Camino waymarker-stone trying to hide behind a tree, after Ponte Maceira. Some have had enough of his boots and left them beh ind, a typical sight on a Camino.

As last year, we take a break in Augapesada; the bar looks the same since last time, the pilgrims different. I notices more often the milestones that indicates the number of kilometres left to Muxia now. This time, I actually get a stamp in my pilgrim credential from the bar in Trasmonte (Casa Pancho), which I did not get last year. It is a pity that there is not an albergue in Ponte Maceira, so beautiful the small village with the magnificent bridge is. I think I would have enjoyed sitting out here in the evening.

Church outside Negreira.

The town of Negreira is more full of life than it was the last time, maybe it is a market here on Sundays. There is a huge commotion when we sit and eat lunch, so many cars that the local police have to go out and direct, the police whistle is somewhat enervating. The large bocadillos with lomo (pig) and a large, cold cerveza con lemon however more than make up for it. I still cannot explain why I decided to stay here and not proceed further last year, but the weather is great and I will now walk over to Vilaserio in nice weather as opposite to my previous Camino here.

Time has stood still in this bar in Zas for a while.

Where I last year walked over the hill towards Vilaserio in a grey weather, there were several places with poor visibility, today I could see small farms and roads emerge at places I could not see then. The woods are also brighter, not so weighed down, more life, but not so melancholic. I have mentioned that I like to walk in melancholic settings, so even though the weather did not appear at its best last year I had a good walk then.

End of ze world zis way.

The bar in Zas was not opened last year, or I just walked blindly past it in the fog, but it is now. It is a classic example of a place where time seems to have stood still, amusing, coca-cola break. It is written in my guidebook that there should be a pilgrim-friendly bar in A Peña, I did not find it last year, now they have taken the consequences of it and drawn yellow arrows on the ground, as well as signposts that displays the way to the bar (and new albergue). We follow the arrows up, take a beer in the heat, follow the arrows down and continue on the Camino towards Vilaserio.

These tall trees that looks like overgrown vegetables (like dill) never ceases to amaze me.

We arrive in Vilaserio, the only sight of other pilgrims after Negreira was another one that we could see walking a little ahead of us. To get a bunk at the albergue there, O Rueiro, was not difficult, there are not that many others here, most finish their walk in Negreira. Vilaserio is not large, but it has everything one needs, clean, neat and with a restaurant and bar for food and drink. I make use of the opportunity to wash and dry my clothes in the washer and dryer at the albergue.

Looking out over a cultural landscape from the walk over the ridge to Vilaserio.

There is also a very basic municipal albergue in the outskirts of the small village (hamlet more or less), some of those who stay there are here for beer and food. It is hot and we relax outside the albergue, take a walk in the afternoon, where the local farmers herds the cows. Negreira is bigger, but it is nicer here.

Albergue O Rueiro in Vilaserio.

Today in the morning, I received at last some good news regarding our baggage. The airline had found our backpacks and they were now at the airport in A Coruna. The problem however, is that neither of us are there anymore, and we will not get there later in our journey either. By calling Vueling I get, after waiting for a long time, arranged that they will send them to the airport in Santiago de Compostela. Then it only remains to see if it is true, when we travel back home again.

We eat dinner inside in the restaurant, later France against Iceland is shown on the tv, it does not goes Iceland's way. Today was quite similar to my first day on the Camino Finisterre last year, fair weather and a pleasant walk, but continuing to Vilaserio was a far better choice. I am pleased that I get to walk from Negreira in nice weather, then I got to see this route in both types of weather.

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