Wednesday, 10 June 2015
Last night I had the famously delicious Padron Peppers at the Restaurante O' Pementeiro, sitting in the open air, under a cloudless sky, but in reality the night will be memorable less for the peppers but more for the people we shared this meal with. Don't get me wrong, the peppers were everything I anticipated and more, but, sharing a meal ( not my peppers) with four lovely people, Gil and Brenda from Canada, and Ekaterina and her daughter, Xenia, from Moscow, was the perfect, quiet and friendly night we needed to prepare ourselves for the final push towards Santiago. Coming near the end of a Camino is always a time of mixed emotions, wanting it to finish, dreading the parting from new friends and looking forward to getting back home to family and friends. So it was last night with Brenda and Mary sharing photographs of their precious grandchildren and talking about our experiences and happenings during this walk. This morning, after an early breakfast in our hotel, Mary and I, walked out of Padron and started a days walking that would take us to within touching distance of Santiago Cathedral. Like yesterday the weather was almost perfect for walking, the temperature had dropped to the twenties and we had a lovely light refreshing breeze. The first few hours walking was along idyllic, twisting, narrow country roads that passed through a series of picturesque hamlets where time has stood still. Quintana, Rueiro, Cambela, and Vilar all had a peaceful quietness and an almost timeless atmosphere as we navigated their narrow streets of stone buildings. The route then left this peaceful dream and joined the main N550 road for a short stretch but even this had its positives as we stopped for refreshments and met up with Gil and Brenda with three other women pilgrims. Suitably refreshed both physically and mentally we set off to make the two sharp climbs that were in today's schedule. Walking through and along forest paths we descended into the colourful Tinto valley before heading upwards to the Ermita de San Martino and the Cruceiro do Francos where we joined the ancient pilgrim way, Rua de Francos. Going through this old Franciscan hamlet there was an atmosphere of quiet meditation and indeed we saw a person in a trance like state as he prayed before a Franciscan icon. The rest of today's walk was uneventful and soon we had reached Milladoiro, where we had booked an apartment, and by Gods guidance, good luck or more likely the guidance of our guardian angel we quickly found the right street and are now relaxing in luxury. One of the main luxuries is a washing machine which has been working overtime since we arrived. Tomorrow morning at about 11am we will enter the square in front of Santiago Cathedral and attend the Pilgrims Mass at 12 noon.