Our Final Day Walking: Into Santiago

Today was an early start and a lovely short walk of about 20 km into Santiago in time for noon mass.

An early start:

Happy hikers:

Second breakfast:

A selfie at Monte de Gozo and the final descent:

Entering the city:

Getting to the old city:

Here at last:

After the mass, we met our host families.  We entered mass as pilgrims and ended as students.


A Town so Nice They Named it Twice

Today we had a relatively short 20km hike to the town of O Pedrouzo, also known as Arca.  Okay, it was short compared with yesterday.

The weather was nice, the vibes were chill.

Here we are leaving in the morning:

Eucalyptus forests, a beer albergue (?), and some bikers (fairly friendly).

Second Breakfast:

Lunch first, then some shopping for dinner.  (Not pictured, washing clothes so that our host families have a nice first impression of us…).

O Pedrouzo/Arca was having a fair!  We showed up a bit too early–apparently the festivities only really got started around midnight.  We could hear said festivities until around 3:30 a.m.  Unfortunately we had to go to bed early to get up for an early start tomorrow.

Leaving for the carnival:

A bit empty:

But Annie takes the opportunity to beat Rouselle at air hockey.  She takes her air hockey seriously.

Our longest day: 30k to Arzua

The thing about today is that there was a city called Melide in the middle of it, about 15 km in.  This is about the length of a short day on the Camino.  So it kind of sort of felt like we should be done when we got to Melide.  But we weren’t–we were just halfway there.

That’s okay, we took it easy, had a few breaks, and made it to Arzua without any tears.

Leaving early after breakfast:

Our eyes are bright, our tails are bushy.

Happy peregrinos on the trail:

Taking a break:

Finding the right route after a wrong turn out of Melide:

Hello Mr. Horse!

Here is a horrero:  it’s a Galician grain storage silo.  It holds the grain up in the air where it’s less damp and where there’s more air circulation.  There are also stone disks at the top of the legs to stop the rats from climbing to the grain.

Finally here!  Time to shop for and make dinner.

Up another hill to Palas de Rei

Today was a bit longer: 26 km to Palas de Rei.

The day started with a little bit down followed by a long steady up for about 3 km to second breakfast.

One of the good dogs of the Camino:

And one of the good cows:

Walking along:

Today a few of us realized:  we’re nearing the end.  There’s only three walking days left.

After a nice lunch and a nap (for some) it was time for dinner already:


Good morning!  Time to walk from Sarria to Portomarin!

Today was a fairly nice 20km:  a little bit up, a little bit down.

A little bit of mud can’t stop our smiles!

The last little bit got kind of steep:

The bridge to Portomarin:

The town of Portomarin was built twice:  the riverside fishing village was moved up the hill in the 1960’s to accommodate a hydroelectric dam project.  Many of the buildings were abandoned after having their roofs removed (to prevent sudden, surprising, super-sized bubbles in years to come).  Other prominent buildings, most notably the romanesque church, were moved stone by stone and rebuilt.

After class and dinner, we have a little rest and a write in our diaries:

On to Sarria

Today we walked 20 km to Sarria.  The weather was a bit rainy.

Ready to go!  (Pre-walk breakdancing/stretching)

Up some hills and through some woods…

…to Casa do Franco and second breakfast.

Time for lunch!

Relaxing in the albergue:

Down down down to Triacastela

So today wasn’t all downhill, but it was certainly more down than up.  We had fog and drizzle the whole day.


Ready to go:

Through the fog:

It was foggy enough that our views were close instead of far:

Second breakfast:

Finally there.  After lunch and a nap we go to the grocery store to get dinner:

Then chess and trivia:

Up up up to O Cebreiro

On 27 May we had a short sharp climb (13 km) to O Cebreiro.  It was somewhat foggy early on, but the views at the top later on were great.

Getting ready to go:

Up and up:

Second breakfast:

Time for selfies:

Group photos at the top:

Lunch and then an ambulatory class around the very small town of  O Cebreiro.

The church up at O Cebreiro is reputed to be the home of the (a?) holy grail.  A medieval farm worker impressed the priest of the church after walking through a dangerously snowy day to take communion.  “You could have died!” the priest exclaimed.  From that day on the holy grail has been in residence at the church.

In the picture you can see the bust of Don Elías Valiña Sampedro, whose research in the 1960’s led to the rediscovery and renaissance of the modern Camino.

A pre-Roman palloza:  livestock and people shared the same house; there was no chimney, the smoke just left through the thatched roof.



Day 8: Vega del Valcarce

Today was day 8 of walking.

The group split up for the first half of the day.  Some of us took the high road along the ridge; some of us walked along the river in the valley.  We all joined up in the town of Trabadelo for the last 6.5 kilometers or so.

On the high road:

Dinner time:

Writing in diaries:

Watching the big game:


Sello Design Contest

A couple of days ago in Molinaseca we had a contest to design our own VT Camino sellos.


A “sello” is the stamp we get in our pilgrim credentials at albergues and cafes along the Camino.  A pilgrim is meant to get at least one stamp a day (along with the date) to prove that you’ve walked the whole way when you get to Santiago.

Our designs were meant to reflect both our experience as peregrinos and our status as Hokies.  Here are our final three contestants.  Which one do you think should win?

Sello 1
Sello 2
Sello 3