One booking we’d made was for a 5 day walk along part of the Camino de Santiago, which many people walk in pilgrimage. For me it wasn’t a pilgrimage, but more of a walk in the country.
We were to arrive in Santiago de Compostela, stay the night then be driven 100 Km south to Tui, on the border with Portugal. From there we would walk around back again. Our accommodation was booked for us as part of the tour, and our bags were taken to the next hotel each day, so we had only to carry a day pack.
I relive last year’s fantastic holiday by bringing posts over from the trip blog. This doesn’t aim to be identical to the trip blog, but an improvement, with text edits and more / better photos. Find all these posts under the tag: Spain2015.
This was something I had really wanted to do, so I was very excited about it. I was looking forward to a different kind of holiday — walking, enjoying scenery, taking loads of photos of wonderful things.
09 September 2015: We made it to Santiago de Compostela but probably 60 Km or more of the around 250 Km route was in fog. Not thick fog fortunately but enough to mean we couldn’t see landscape beyond the side of the road.
We made good time to Santiago though, coming in from the north. Then we struck a huge problem: the route we needed to take to the drop off point for the rental car was diverted. Every turn we tried to take, everywhere we wanted to go, we were diverted. Meanwhile the GPS just kept trying to take us back to the route it thought was best, and which was blocked off.
There were Policia everywhere directing traffic, and the cars were all jammed up. What’s more, while we knew which street the drop-off was on, we didn’t have a number.
We stopped using the GPS and I tried to use Deb’s iPad for navigation instead though it was having trouble keeping up with our location.
We ended up driving round and round, having no idea where we were or where we were going. We kept spotting groups of tractors though.
At one point a police officer was at an intersection where we were able to stop. I jumped out and showed him the iPad with our current location and our destination. He pointed out to go down the road and turn right so off we went, full of doubts and scepticism. Eventually though we somehow ended up on the right street, but couldn’t find the Hertz place.
In desperation I used my iPhone to locate them so we could call. There was their location: inside a petrol station we were outside of at that very moment. Then it was just a matter of going down the street, managing a sneaky U-turn, back along, round the roundabout and we pulled in, an hour late, with great relief.
After a quick cup of tea at a cafe nearby we walked 10 minutes to the hotel.
After a short rest we wandered around Santiago old town, which is next to the hotel, dipped in to the cathedral, had some lunch and came back to the room to rest.
I don’t care much for Santiago. It’s overwhelmed with tourists, mainly walkers on the Camino, and round the cathedral anyway is full of nasty little souvenir shops. It’s really busy, loud. Not at all a place I’d ever come back to, though we’re back here after our walk.
Oh, and the tractors — farmers brought at least 3,000 tractors to town to protest low prices for milk. They aim to surround Santiago apparently and the protest is intended to last several days.
In retrospect: the irony of the milk protest — in New Zealand there are huge displays of milk in every dairy, supermarket, petrol station …. In Spain I had real trouble finding even one bottle of milk. It seems the Spanish just don’t use as much milk as we do in New Zealand.
I grabbed a bad photo of a handful of tractors, one of the Cathedral outside and one inside the Cathedral.