Were truly awful. The weather did not help although I never got caught in a downpour still had to don the wet weather gear a few times. Easy excepting the new red hobbit cape gets caught around my pack so much wrangling to get it down over the pack. Have to get into it then turn it right around , quite claustrophobic. Easiest is when there is a willing person or unsuspecting person around who will pull it down for me.
The walk from Bandeira to Silleda over 22 ks eventually was apart from the first 6 ks done on the road. I decided that if I was going to fall over it was best done where I could be seen. There were no other walkers until late in the day when two cyclists passed me. N 525 is a busy road but has wide shoulders so not too dangerous. Every bar I stopped for a tea, still off coffee and basically off food. Last sort of food I had plus some ghastly commetcial chicken noodle soup 9e thank you very much! Yes!!!!!
Finally made it in the last shower of the day into Oterio where I had stayed before. Quite posh but the heating was on!!! Mr Posh said the rain has been awful and he shuddered to think what the price of fruit and veggies was going to be. Mr Posh also has big baths and vegetable soup!!!
Next morning, last day, woke to rain but by the time I left it was fine. Mr P insisted I did not walk the dangerous road, K and I did and made it to Santiago far faster and shorter than my last epic. My phone showed 26 k even if it is iff 10% not the 16 Mr P said!!! I did miss an arrow, first one, which took me up a horrendous hill only to met by a gateman at the top and told in Spanish to bugger off well that is what it sounded like…not nearly as long to get down accursed hill. Later when I finally arrived in Santiago met two older Aussie ladies who had just completed the Camino Frances who said, like me, that the Spanish see flat where we see seriously rolling hills.
The Spanish would not even see this seriously uppy bit….
Many many tea stops later and the last one being a coke stop, the ultimate desperate drink I arrived on the outskirts of Santiago with still about 10 ks to go. Had to have a widdle stop, all that tea, found some long grass, beat it for ticks and snakes and emerged unbeknownst to me with a longish piece of barley grass attached to an earring, very mode.
On and on and on, by now I am having to stop about every 20 steps on any incline, pause and start again, slow hard work. Finally the Cathedral spires are in sight but there is a long hard climb to get into the walled part of Santiago. The spires are in there somewhere, pictures come out not that well in this system- David!!!!
Met the Aussie ladies , chatted, dived into a bar for a loo, all that damn tea , and could not find the cathedral!!!! Could not believe it, the time I have spent here over the years and I kept going one street too many!!! A Canadian couple who gave me directions twice finally walked me there, came in the side opposite the Parador so had gone too far.!Hordes of people there, this place is now on the cruise boat run from Bilboa so heaps of elderly denizens…
Nice man took two nice pictures of me. Whoops try the other one!!! Whoops!! Then time to find my hotel. Had booked it months ago, cost more than Mr Posh but looked nice on Booking.com(ha!) Imagine my horror when I found this studenty looking bar with the name Oxford Suites in tiny letters by the door. Instinctive reaction was ‘MISTAKE’ not on your nellie. Went in, amateur night on reception actually behind the bar, barman a surly little Spaniard and a poor downtrodden slattern who they both yelled at.
Showed to my room, minute right up above the bar which was very very nosiy, view of a wall and I was most upset!!! My view Upshot was I decided I could pay for one night but not stay. Walked out down the hill to where Karen and I stayed- I was planning on lunching there anyway, one of the NH chain, asked what price they would accommodate me for, ended up only 30e a night more than the hostel, got a taxi(it was uphill back) asked taxi to wait for me and then had a stupendous stoush with surly barman, I thought I was quite reasonable, pay for an unused night which they could easily sell again, and refund the other two. Went on and on, I went up and got my gear stalked back down threw the key on the counter stalked out and got in the taxi and roared off to my luvvy big bed and room service and cable telly and a BATH.
Contacted booking.com who dealt with it, refunds were above nasty barmans pay grade, so getting a refund. Had very tidily hung my down jacket up in miniscule wardrobe so there were a few heated calls before that was sorted. Hotel receptionist eventually dealt with that and I organised a taxi to go and collect it. Taxis are not that expensive, think they are regulated.
So all that goodwill one is supposed to feel on arriving in Santiago went out the window because of one bad booking(have made a few this time). After a day snoozing in my big bed I am now almost human again, not sure about food but feel heaps better, was not far from truly awful to heaps better.
Have cancelled the Primitivo, 500 ks is enough for a swansong , the thought of staggering up more hilly roads just does not do it and the rain is predicted fir at least another week.
Have booked accommodation in Lisbon for a week, (will pray at the mass this am for a good room- pity about the starving millions) then may spend a few days travelling back to Santiago for my flight to Paris on the 1/7
Now just have to change my train booking from Oviedo to Lisbon, staying here till Sat. Lisbon is five hours by train and the forecast is 28!and Sun!!!!
Thanks for all the emails it does help!!!!