Fisterra – Santiago…and eventually Home.
The vicious storm that was on the forecast finally came in. It rained and blew so hard that the power went out several times last night, for extended periods of time. Having a roof over your head each night, and not having to carry several days worth of food (if any), were some of the many “perks” of this “hiking” trip. Regular laundry and fresh water were others. I would say fewer daily miles, but the tread and terran were different so that aspect for me kind of balanced out. This morning we took the bus back to Santiago, and from there we make arrangements to head to Porto Portugal for our next leg of this european adventure. When we get to the bus stop, we are amazed at the number of people already at the “station”…and “waiting” in the cafe across the street having breakfast. There is no formal cue for who is “first” in line to board and more and more people are arriving as the bus’s arrival time nears. We inquire if there is even an “informal” line or methodology, and there is not. Knowing how humans can be, we are envisioning a disaster, and an episode of ‘humans behaving badly’, once the bus arrives. The Americans “in waiting” discuss that “this” would never fly in the U.S. We would have a cue set up and form an orderly line as in first come first serve, and would collectively block the “line-cutters”. An official would also be there to ensure an orderly boarding. But this is Spain, and here the assertive/agressive mouse gets the cheese. Those who don’t, just “roll” with it, don’t get upset, and seize the next opportunity. The concept and/or act of worry and stress seems non-existent here. The bus arrives and a mad dash occurs to load the gear and get a seat on the bus. There is some crowding, but for the most part it is as orderly as it gets with 100 people vying for 64 seats. We did not know this, but you could have bought your tickets the day before (rather than upon boarding), but having a pre-paid ticket does not guarentee a seat on the bus you paid for. It just means that eventually that day you will be able to take the (a) bus to your intended destination. With that said, another bus pulls up across the street, to load the “stragglers”. That bus is not direct to Santiago, but will eventually get you there, as it is a “city” bus, and costs the same as the direct bus. You learn something new everyday. What took us 3 days to walk took us less than 3 hours to travel via bus. When we get into Santiago, we consider hopping the next bus to Porto, but we are hoping to check in with the travel office adjacent to the Pilgrim office for some better information on where to go and what to do…besides drink Port Wine and gorge on pastéis de Nata (Custard tarts), once we are there. As luck would have it, the office is closed, it being a Spanish Holiday.
The good thing however, is that a few of the people we had met, hiked with and befriended had just made it into Santiago.
Tonight we dine with Kerry, Melie, Krystal, Karen, and believe it or not MAUREEN!
We also run into Gary from Colorado, who is staying at our albergue (The Last Stamp). The best part of today was the reunion we had with so many people we had met along the way. It is our hope that we will be able to stay in touch as time marches on. Trips like these make you realize how truly small the world is, and how little in the way of stuff one really needs. Before we head home, we will head to Portugal and visit Porto, Fatima and Lisbon. From Lisbon we fly home and to the comfort of our own bed and relatively cheap electricity. This has been a fabulous trip. Frankly I would like to stay longer in Spain. In hindsight, we should have figured out how to fly out of Madrid or Barcelona, and therefor stick to one language. We have decided that we will be back, and definitely walk the Northern Coastal route of the Camino, if not the Portuguese one as well. Hopefully some of the people we’ve met along the Way will join us.
Be Strong! Austin Strong!