Negreira

Wednesday, May 28

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Larissa left very early this morning. She began packing before 6, and finished like a whirlwind in about 15 minutes. Miguel and I got out of our beds to say farewell. It was very quick — I’m the sentimental type and I like a goodbye to be a big event, preferably one with a lot of crema de orujo involved. But it was what it was; a quick hug, pecks on the cheeks, and as she left I said one last “Buen Camino.” That got a chuckle out of her, which has always been a bit of a challenge with the language barrier. Humor is hard to translate. Chalk one up.

I went back to sleep for an hour. Then I woke and packed my bag, laced my boots, and bid Miguel farewell. A bro-hug, invitations to visit the States and Brazil, “Buen Camino,” out the door.

And immediately outside the pensión I saw Sven walking by. I joined him for a bit and we walked out of Santiago. When I stopped to take my jacket off and take some photos, we lost each other. I’m sure I’ll see him again though. Three days to Finisterre for him too.

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Sven...

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...is very tall.

The way after Santiago felt bizarrely subtropical. Humid air, wet plants, ferns — I wondered if I’d soon by attacked by a velociraptor. The jungle gave way to suburbs which gave way to jungle and so on, and although there was a small bunch of pilgrims close behind me I walked mostly alone, which seems to me a good tradition after bidding a camino family goodbye.

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Surprisingly I ran into Susana on the way, on her way back from Muxía. She’d arrived in Santiago on foot and then rented a car. We spoke a bit, hugged, and said farewell. I suppose I’ll never see her again.

It’s such a strangely difficult thought to ponder. We see people all the time who we never see again. But here it’s different.

The way was steep for a while, but it flattened out and before I knew it I was in Negreira around midday. Not bad for 21km in hilly Galicia. I thought of continuing, but the next albergues are another 12 or 13km away according to the booklet I got in Santiago, and again steeply uphill. Fisterra in three days will be hard, no matter how I slice the etapas. So I decided to enjoy the early arrival. I was the first in my albergue, but others have followed. A number of Germans I haven’t seen before. A woman from Austria. And also a British gentleman who I’ve seen many times along the Camino. We started on the same day in Saint Jean Pied de Port.

And yet we’d never really introduced ourselves. His name is Bernie. He keeps a journal the traditional way; a small leather bound book with blank pages, and a pen. There’s a lot to be said for that. With him now is a new face, his daughter Debbie who flew into Santiago to join him for this last leg of the trip.

It’s very quiet here. This isn’t the Camino Francés. The tourists are gone and so are most of the pilgrims. I’ll leave soon to get some dinner.

Tomorrow is a 34km day and the hills won’t be kind.

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-Daniel

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