Porto was the end of the road for us, as far as the road goes in Europe, so the last few days have been spent making our way back up along the Spanish Coast.
Our first stop was the historic town of Santiago de Compostela which was of special interest to us because it’s the end of The Camino Walk. I was excited to see the Cathedral and if there were any pilgrams still completing the journey this late in the season.
We parked just outside the town, but arrived quite late in the afternoon, so left Santiago till the next day. We’ve learnt a thing or two about this travelling lark – rest when you are tired. It’s not wasting precious travel time – it’s making sure every experience is as enjoyable as it can be.
It was quite a walk to town the next morning up some pretty steep steps but we were rewarded with heading straight into the market area, which I still get a buzz from. How cool that my broccoli was grown by a lovely old lady in her backyard in Spain?
One of the interesting things of travelling is buying foreign products in places like supermarkets. We try and shop at the markets for veges, fruit and stuff like cheeses and breads, sometimes meat and fish. Even meat is sold differently here, it’s cut off a slab and the fish are sold whole as well, although they will fillet it for you.
Doug bought some fish a few weeks ago, got it filleted and as the Fishmonger was handing over the fish he asked, “Is it a tasty fish?”, to which the guy replied, “That fish is tasteless”. What could you do but laugh and yes even crumbed in a parmesan and herb crumb it was tasteless.
It’s the packaged goods I have struggled with. Our morning ritual is Porridge for breakfast. We have bought some pretty interesting interpretations on our travels!! It took me around 5 countries to find Baking Soda and in Croatia I bought a Turkey thinking it was just a large Chicken. So when I found a wholefoods store in Santiago de Compostela that sold oats from an open sack that actually looked like oats, we bought up large. The shop stocked some pretty interesting products like Pink Rice and some beautiful herb mixes but the shop owner didn’t take kindly to me taking pictures or smelling the herbs. Still the porridge is delicious.
After the markets we stopped for coffee and “toast” because that’s just how the coffee came. It’s been a laugh asking for coffee again here in Spain. There is no worldwide one size fits all cappuccino so we never know what to expect. It’s actually quite exciting.
Eventually we arrived at the Cathedral which is absolutely stunning and sits on quite a large square so it’s quite an imposing sight.
However it was the sight of the pilgrims arriving into the square that fascinated us. Pack heavy, often limping bodies, pretty much collapsing on the ground infront of the Cathedral with looks of pure elation on their faces, a testament to the magnitude of The Camino. One girl limped past us to buy a celebratory beer in jandals, her feet a blistered mess. It appeared to be a ritual thing to dump your pack onto the ground, lie on it looking up at the Cathedral whilst smoking a cigerette.
It was only fitting, that we attended the pilgrams ceremony inside the Cathedral which is stunning with this big bell hanging in the middle and all the priests breaking bread and chanting things in Spanish. We had the opportunity to go and hug the Apostle too but it wasn’t really our thing so we left.
From Santiago de Compostela we have headed up the coast towards France in quite an unhurried manner, just pulling up in random areas on the coast along the way. From Santiago upwards you are spoilt for coastline and places to park.
We stayed near Rinlo for one whole day where I got a bit carried away after seeing the Portuguese ladies handwashing everything. In the summer, I handwashed our clothes quite alot but just the smaller stuff. Not the towels or the sheets or the duvets… Let’s just say those ladies must have very strong wrists!!
We have wandered around some lovely small coastal towns –
Visited some larger ones such as Santander and San Sebastian –
In San Sebastian we were moved on from an official carpark right on the coast by a very official police officer for being over 3 tonne in weight which seemed quite crazy. It’s been nice taking our time with no real agenda to see this and do this however tomorrow we will head into France for our final 4 days in Europe. The plan is to do Paris in a motorhome for our last hurrah!!