Homer's Travels: Camino De Santiago - Arzúa To Monte De Gozo

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Camino De Santiago - Arzúa To Monte De Gozo

I woke up to a guy whispering loudly to his friends.  I said "Shhhhhh"  to which he replied, rather loudly "Sorry" to which I responded "Shhhhhhh" to which he responded even louder "Sorry" to which I responded "Silencio Por Favor" to which he responded "Sorry" ... even louder.  He left the room but, in this albergue, the walls didn't go all the way to the ceiling so you could hear him talking loudly down at the end of the hall and pilgrims in the other room saying "Shhhhhh".  Heh.  Some people.

The day was overcast and a little misty.  This part of the Camino was rural, forested, and kind of nice.  The mist became harder.  I decided to space out my principe cookies - two cookies per kilometer.  I would use the markers as a guide to when to eat the cookies.  A great plan until the markers stopped having distances marked on them after 12.2 kilometers.  Talking with other pilgrims, and consulting my GPS, we decided that whom ever had marked the distances realized at this point that they were off by several kilometers and simply stopped marking the distance instead of correcting their mistake.

I passed a pilgrim that I hadn't seen since Zubiri - a Buddhist nun and her companion (or attendant ... not sure). I smiled and said my Bonjour as I passed them.

I passed by the little church of Saint Irene.  It reminded me of my Grandmother Irene who passed years ago.

I reached the town of O Pedrouzo, about half way to my destination, and the mist became drizzle.  At this point I stopped at a bar and bought an Ice cream bar and put my jacket and pack cover on.  As I was doing this GV showed up.  She asked if I'd slowed down to let her catch up.  I hadn't.  I think she was walking faster near the end ... and I was unintentionally slowing down a little bit.

We walked together for the rest of the morning.  I had to push myself to keep up.  We passed the Spaniard.  We passed through a couple towns looking for a place to stop for a snack.  We finally found an open bar in the town of Vilamaior.  We had something to drink (we were within Coke distance so I had a one).  We got our stamps here and them moved on into the slowly strengthening rain.

By the time we got to Monte de Gozo (Mount Joy) we were thoroughly soaked.  (I was, my jacket not being very effective.  GV was mostly protected by her purple poncho.)  We passed the big monument of Pope John Paul II's pilgrimage and headed for the gate of the albergue. As we got closer we were met at the gate by ... the Japanese television crew.  Not happy with footage of my butt, they also needed footage of me soaking wet.

The Monte de Gozo albergue is huge, housing at least eight hundred in some thirty buildings (Here is a picture).  We checked in - I paid in soggy Euros.  The pilgrims were put in rooms of eight.  This albergue put people who reserved beds ahead of time in top bunks - Fantastic - so I got a bottom bunk.  My jacket was soaked through (it had apparently lost it's waterproof-ness years ago) as was my hat.  My camera was also damp but not too bad - my bag had kept it protected (I should have used the rain jacket that came with the camera bag ... I didn't).  By the time we did out chores and were clean and in dry clothes the rain had stopped.

We walked to a small restaurant we'd passed on the way in and had a good lunch and we checked email.  GV asked if I had a reservation in Santiago de Compostela.  I did not and she was nice enough to make one for me.

The albergue had a small store, bar/restaurant, and a laundromat.  We went to the bar as our clothes were drying.  I was a little weirded out that we would be in Santiago the next day.  I downed a coke and GV downed something a little stronger.

We spent the evening in the small kitchen area in our building talking with a brit getting ready to enter the seminary and a brother and sister from Portugal.

Day thirty-four, my longest day on the Camino, was also my wettest.  Not only was this stage the longest one but it was also the longest one day hike I have ever done.  I think I could have made it to Santiago de Compostela - it was only 3.12 miles further ahead - but I'm glad we stopped - I was very tired when I got to Monte de Gozo.  The adventure was almost over ... one more day ... or was there more?

Total Distance: 21.4 Miles (34.44 km)
Total Time: 7 hours 51 minutes
Total Elevation Up: 4,626 ft (1,410.00 m)
Total Elevation Down: 4,642 ft (1,414.88 m)

[Click on map for a larger version]


  1. It was long. It was wet. It was fun. It was good that I caught up with you to make the last 10 km go by so quicklyé The Camino does provide what you need when you need it, doesn't it?

  2. GV: It does. I'll have to post about that sometime.