Saturday, November 05, 2011

Camino De Santiago - Fisterra To Santiago De Compostela ... By Bus

I slept in a bit since the bus didn't leave until 8:20 AM.  I walked down to the bus stop that already had a crowd of pilgrims gathering.  I took a couple pictures of the early morning sun over the ocean and the fishing boats heading out for their next catch.  I talked with one of the pilgrims I'd talked to on the way to Olveiroa.  He said it felt weird to be waiting for a bus after walking so long.  It did feel a little strange.

The bus arrived and everyone piled in.  The bus was full - standing room only - filled mostly by pilgrims.  The ride back was more scenic than the walk to Fisterra.  The bus route followed the coast a lot longer before turning east to Santiago.  The bus ride was about three hours long and dumped me off at the bus station in Santiago de Compostela.  I walked to Seminario Menor, checked in, put my bag in a locker, and headed for the train station.

I'd seen the train station on the way in on the bus.  I followed my GPS map to the station keeping track of how long it took me to get there.  It wasn't that far - twenty minutes or so.  I bought my ticket to Madrid and then went in search for another geocache.

The geocache, San Lourenzo, was the same one I'd tried to find in the dark on my way to Fisterra.  It was much easier to find during the day.  I placed my remaining two travel bugs, Dirty Red Plastic Monkey and the revived The Walking Sister (that had officially been lost last year), in the cache.

At this point I officially marked my Camino over so I now allowed myself to eat fast food.  I'd seen a Burger King earlier when I road on the tram.  I had  a rough idea where it was but it still took me a while to find it.  I sat down and discovered that Burger King in Santiago de Compostela tastes exactly the same as Burger King in Omaha.  It tasted like a little bit of home.  This was, of course, topped off with some ice cream.

Filled up, I walked to the cybercafe a couple doors down from the Burger King and completed my travel arrangements.  I made hotel reservations in Madrid.  The hotel was near a metro station and had a free airport shuttle.  Just as I finished HT showed up.  We said our hellos and we arranged to meet for dinner that evening.

I spent the rest of the afternoon souvenir shopping - a couple t-shirts, some magnets, and a bag for the wife which would also serve as my carry-on on my way home.  In my wandering I ran in MA and his wife.  I hadn't expected to run into anyone I'd met on the Camino (except HT).  We agreed to meet for Dinner - I was going to introduce them to HT if they didn't already know him.

I went back to the albergue, picked up my bag and moved into my room.  I did my chores including a load of laundry.  Then back out to meet up for dinner.

I went to the cathedral which seems to be the place to meet up and waited.  MA and wife never showed but HT arrived and we went to the Galleon (the fourth time for me in seven days).  We had a good meal over conversation.

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I got up Saturday morning and realized that I needed to do more laundry if I wanted to fly home in clean clothes so I went down to the basement and washed a tiny load.  While the machines were running I talked to a couple guys who were staying at the albergue but were not pilgrims.  It sounded like they'd been traveling a long time.

I packed my backpack, stuffed it in a locker, and headed back to the cathedral area.  On the way I stopped and bought some more of the chocolate cake I'd had a week earlier.  It was HT's birthday today and he needed some cake.

I got to the cathedral and waited around to see if he would show.  I walked to the cybercafe and looked there.  I think I walked from the cathedral to the cybercafe four times without seeing HT.  Finally I realized it was possible that I wouldn't even see him today.  We really hadn't set up a time to get together ... so I ate my piece of cake.  Yeah, I know.  I should have waited longer but I was hungry.

Finally on my fifth or sixth circuit between the cathedral and cybercafe I ran into HT.  I wished him a happy birthday gave him his piece of cake.  We headed back toward the cathedral area.  Along the way he bought a Torta de Santiago.  His plan was to cut it up into bite sized pieces and give them out to pilgrims as they arrived to the cathedral.

I spent the next hour or so wandering around the cathedral square waiting for HT to give away all his torta which, turns out, is not an easy thing to do.  Few of the pilgrims would take food from a complete stranger.  I think he ended up eating quite a bit of it himself.  As he wandered around I found a shady spot on the steps of the cathedral next to some women from Ohio that HT had mentioned.  They had invited him to lunch.  I chatted with them a bit and sort of invited myself to lunch with them.  They mentioned a nice couple from Canada that sounded a lot like AL and JT, who I met back  in Fromista.  No more than a  minute later, AL and JT show up.  Another strange reunion.

HT finally gave away the last of his torta and we went to a nearby restaurant.  We had good conversation.   One of the women lived in Spain and knew a lot about the business side of the albergue business having worked setting one up.  This interested HT a lot as he'd said he wanted to set up his own albergue.  HT surprised me by saying he was going to join the seminary - I hadn't known this.

I mentioned it was HT's birthday so we asked the waiter for a candle.   Unfortunately they didn't have cake and the ice cream they served was a bar, not a bowl, so we had nothing to put the candle in.  I fixed it by grabbing a piece of bread and sticking the candle in it so we could sing happy birthday and have a decent blowing out of the candle.

The women left to catch their train.  HT went off to Skype with his family.  I spent the afternoon wandering around an increasingly hot Santiago de Compostela.  It was sweltering.  Probably over 90°F (32°C).  There turns out to be little shade in that city that isn't occupied by bar/restaurant tables.  You want the shade?  You have to buy something.

I did run into another street show.  A parade of musicians and children that ended in a theater.  I think I was probably part of the theater show.  They were a nice distraction.  I ended up on some hot stairs of the cathedral.  They were in the shade but had obviously absorbed a lot of heat earlier in the day.  But it was shade.

Later that day I met up with HT again and treated him with dinner at his favorite restaurant, a Doner Kebap specializing in Kurdish food.  This was followed by watermelon (yes, you can cut watermelon using dental floss) and my second ice cream of the day.

8:00 PM arrived and we said our goodbyes.  HT went to the bus station.  I went to Seminario Menor, picked up my pack, and headed to the train station.

Days forty-one and forty-two were like a period at the end of my Camino.  This night I would take an overnight train to Madrid, officially leaving the Camino.  Not sure how I felt about that.

2 comments:

  1. This is a nice end to the journey. You celebrated your friend's birthday with him!

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  2. Miss McC: It was a nice ending to a wonderful adventure.

    ReplyDelete