Camino de Santiago

Last week JB and me decided to do the Camino De Santiago. We had 4 days free in the holy week, so we wanted to use them to do this. We chose to go on the French way, and to start from Sarria on Thursday. To obtain the Compostela, you must walk at least 100km (also you can do it on a horse 100km, and with a bicycle 200km), and to do this on the French way, you must start in Sarria, which is 112km from the Cathedral in Santiago. So here is our story...


First stop
We arrived to Sarria around 11, which is a liitle late to start a day. The thing is, we are walking in the holy week, and that mean there will be a lot of people walking, which again means that we might not have a place in an albergue if we arrive late. Albergue is a pilgrim's hostel, you can only stay there if you have the pilgrims credential. Municipal albergues are cheap (5€), and if you don't find a place here you might pay double the price in a private one, and if you don't have the place in a private one, you can end up without a bed.

We had some problem finding the Camino from the bus stop, but when you get there, the Camino is very well marked, with yellow arrows and Calamari shells.We stopped to Merced convent for our first stamp. As we were entering, two girls from China was exiting. We took the stamps and then we had this conversation:
-Rade, this way.
-No JB, we should go up, look at the arrow.
-But the Chineese girls went down.
-Well, the girls are wrong.
JB brought the whole kitchen

We stopped at Barbadelo for a lunch brake. This place and more road after are sorounded with farms, so you can imagine the smell in the air. Jb, got his whole kitchen out of his backpack, and we made a long brake. The Chineese girls caught up to us, and yes, they were lost for a little while. U (I swear this is her name) and Rosita (I dont remmeber her name, but her spanish name is Rosita) live and study in Madrid, and need to finish the camino in 4 days. They walked quite slow so we wished them Buen Camino and carried on. It is nice that on Camino nobody says Buenas dias (Good Morning), but instead people say Buen Camino (Have a nice walk, or Have a good way).

We planed to walk untill Gonzar, but on 20th kilometre I started to feel strong pain in my knee, so we had to stay in Portomarin. This was seriously messing with our plans to finish the Camino in 4 days. Closing to Portomarin, we came a cross a house, that had a lot of food outside. The sign said that we can take what we need, and leave a donation. We were quite surprised in this level of trust in strangers, and felt that this is a true spirit of Camino.


We got up at 5 and prepared pasta. This is strange to eat for breakfast, so we weren't surprised that everyone was looking at us. This day we had a lot of rain, so I must say that this day I did not enjoy walking so much.

My birth place :)
To get out of the rain we stopped at a bar "A paso de formiga". This bar is pretty cool, we sat by the fire in a confotable sofa and chair. It has a big map of the world, where you can write down your name on your country, so it has a lot of names of people from all over the world. I am the first from Serbia, but than again, I still havent seen any serbian guy in my seven months in Galicia, so it is not a surprise. Also I saw a old map of Austro-Hungarian empire, and surprisingly, my small birthplace was on the map. Also I learned here that in Poland there is a region called Galycia (by seeing a map of it of course).

Tough separation :)
My knee was still giving me a lot of trouble, so again we stoped early, at Palas de Rey. Also, my shoes wasn't able to stop so much rain, so my feet were wet to. JB still had energy so we decided to brake apart, and that he should continue alone. When I asked for a place to buy food, I was told that it's a hollyday so all the stores are closed, and I just had one orange in my backpack. So I took the rest of the pasta and Jb gave one soup.

I realized that I forgot the distribution cable in the previous albergue, and this thing is quite an important thing because there is not a lot of plugs in these albergues. The room in Palas de Rey albergue had 50 beds, wich is a new record for me (up untill now it was a hostel in Istanbul with 24 beds). I had enough time to rest, get dry and continue in the morning.


Got up really early again, had a quick breakfast. I went out of albergue even before anybody else came down for breakfast. This was the fifth and last time I forgot my walking stick. The previous 4 times JB reminded me 3 times and only once I remembered to go back for it. When I started to walk it was still night so I got confused a couple of times of where I should go. It's kinda hard to see that yellow arrows in the pitch dark.

Because of the hunger and more pain in the knee, I went into a firs bar for rest and food. After taking of all the stuff, i realized that this bar has no heating, and that only food thay have is small 3€ overprised empanada. I ate fast, changed wet socks, put my feet into plastic bags and continued.

I ran into the chineese girls again. Thay walk so slow that thay finish every day at 8 in the night. Also, they forgot to take the stamps, so they would not be able to obtain Compostela certificate.

In Arzua albergue I met people who are already walking for a month and are doing the whole French and north way. Also I met german girls and this is a part of the conversation:
-So, you will be finishing the Camino in 2 days
-Hm, we think we will do it in 3 days.
-You need 3 days for 38km?
-Well, for example today we walked only 12km...

Jb texts me that he is sleeping in O Pino, so he is now 18km in fromt of me.

Day 4

Decided to get up early and finish the Camino today, 38km will be tough but my bed in Santiago is waiting for me, so even if I am dead after this I will not need to walk anymore. Got up really early, but I forgot that this night time is changed because of the daylight savings time. my phone changes this automaticly, so as a result I got up too early and it was too dark to walk. So i got back to bad for some more sleep.

The weather was great, my knee pain has disappeared. Extremely motivated I walked half of my way, 18km in three hours. Made a brake for lunch, and realized that i didn't close my watter bottle good, so it all spilled in my bag.

SMS from JB: Having lunch 8km from Santiago. Me: Dude, I am 12km from Santiago Cathedral, will you wait for me? JB: I will wait for you at San Marco (5km from Santiago). When I tried to text him back my phone just died! Screen black, no response what so ever. So I have 7km left to San Marco up hill (at least one hour and a half), without being sure that Jb will wait, because we cannot comunicate anymore. So I continue to walk fast without stopping, wich was kinda hard since I didn't make a stop for a while before and had no water. I walked into one backyard of a bar to get a stamp, when I saw a pitbull barking and running towards me. Luckily his owner called him back.

At San Marco, at top of the Monte Gozo, Jb was waiting as promessed. Apparently he had problems with blisters, so he was walking slow the last day. Mone Gozo (mount of joy) is called like that because it is the fist place of the Camino from where you can see the Cathedral. Well, now you can only see one tower from a specific place, because the view is blosked by all the trees, bit in the old days it was different. We made a short brake, caught up on the events of the previous days, continued and finished the Camino together as planed. While walking through our street, we yelled at Paul to get on the window, and picked up Adam to go with us to the Plaza Obradoiro. After traditionly visiting point of end of the Camino, we went to the pilgrim's office to get our Compostelas, and finaly to our apartmants for shower, rest and sleep.


What moste people don't know is that after you finish the Camino, you can eat three days, breakfast, lunch and dinner for free! You can do this in Hostal De Los Reyes Catolicos. They let 10 pilgrims each day for each meal. You just have to show up on their door every day at 9, 12, and 19 with your Compostela, and you get a pretty good meal.


GOOD SHOES - Probably the most important thing. They should be comfortable, and should stop the rain, Also, don't walk in new shoes, they should be warn in.
PONCHO/RAIN COAT - In Galicia, you can always expect rain, and the Camino can't be very fun if you are wet all the time.
BUNCH OF SOCKS - keeping your feet dry is important, change socks several times a day if necessary.
FIRST AID KIT - Plasters, band-aid, needle, or anything that can help treat blisters.
DISINFECTION LIQUID -  You will not always have the oportunity to properly wash your hands.
SLIPERS - For the showers in the Albergues. Sometimes they are in a different building than your bedroom.
DISTRIBUTION CORD - There are a lot of people and not so many plugs in the albergues, this comes quite handy.
SWISS ARMY KNIFE - Idealy, or anythig to use for eating. Albergues have kitchens but no plates, or anything else, one pot maybe...
And more things that I cannot remmeber right now...


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