Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Day 12 A Rua to Santiago de Compostela--All Good Things Must Come to an End

Oh Beer Thirty at Journey's End

By Pablo Neruda

"And that's why I have to go back
to so many places in the future,
there to find myself
and constantly examine myself
with no witness but the moon
and then whistle with joy.
ambling over rocks and clods of earth,
with no task but to live,
with no family but the road."

After 8 days of hiking, I have to admit I look forward to finishing the Way, but also will miss so much of it: the daily challenge, the "buen camino" greeting of both fellow pilgrims and the locals, the scenery, the time with my husband. Today is his first official day of retirement. 

We left Rua in a cool morning with overcast skies that stayed that way and gave us good temperatures. We made a couple of stops along the way, but basically wound through eucalyptus forests again for the first 2/3rds of the 15 miles, and then along secondary roads and eventually through the city streets of San Lazaro to Santiago de Compostela. We thought we would never see the cathedral, even though the guidebook kept announcing we would see the spires from miles away. We actually started to wonder if the cathedral was a joke...but then about 10 yds away, we saw it!

Yes, it's a bad hair day for those of us who have it, but we made it!

A church along the Way

We saw many houses with beautiful flower and/or kitchen gardens, even greenhouses.
 One other oddity I notice along this path is that there are literally apples everywhere. And they are all lying on the ground rotting. Not sure why no one wants to eat the apples?
Can you take too many pictures of eucalyptus forests? If so, guilty! Never tired of them or the lovely aroma.

It was a wonderful day for wildflowers.

This is the fence outside the airport. Everyone discards things they don't need. Not a tradition I am fond of. However, I did think I saw a local taking off everything you could sell on eBay.
About 14 miles after starting, we sauntered into Santiago, checked into our lovely room at the Parador (running since 1547).
One bed/separate pillows. WOO HOO!

The potty. Very hoity!

 Then  we went to get our Compostela, the document that says we made it and are official pilgrims. This special distinction gets us....well, just a piece of paper written in Latin (maybe. I can't read Latin. ) But we did wait in line for it for an hour so it must be important. (I mean we only waited 15 minutes for a marriage license and 30 minutes for a mortgage of sphincter altering amounts!)
Standing in line for the Compostela
We then went back to our room and did something really, really dirty--OUR LAUNDRY. Oh yeah. The parador may be declared a superfund site. We had a lovely dinner to celebrate at Pedro Roca. I would tell you what we have but that would border on bragging. Needless to say it was delicious. 
The kitchen at Pedro Roca

Shrimp and avocado salad

Iberian pork with cauliflower and figs.

A man communes with his berries and chantilly...interpret as you desire :)

We then had our daily meditation on J.M.W Turner, a famous British artist who got an early start and made quite the name for himself. There is a wing dedicated to him at the Tate Museum in London. Paul commented that he contributed much to the art world by following his own path. I liked it that his most famous painting is about slavery and the injustice of it all.

So today was a real joy. I might be a bit tired, but it as worth the price. I never shy away from  a life on the road.

Paul's Ponderings:  What a great day out and about in Galicia......we finished the El Camino, got our compostelas, had a fabulous dinner, and ended up at a hotel that was first built in 1509 on the structure.   Now the R&R part of the trip begins!    The hike over from A Rua was pretty straightforward and we ended up in Santiago by mid-afternoon.   

And the food at Pedro Roca.....what a memorable meal.   We sat by the kitchen and were able to keep a passive eye on the food preparation and we spoke to him briefly after the meal.   The Galician red wine was outstanding and the food was prepared in a really local fashion.  At many restaurants we always sense butter in use, with the shadow of French cooking looming large....here it was prepared in a manner that let the true local taste of the food shine through with minimal ingredients added...the vegetables, fruits, and meats were just outstanding.   Highly recommended.   

Looks like good weather here for tomorrow to explore the sights....

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