Day 26: 41.7 kilometers
Total: 870.7 kilometers
Today I left Ribadiso in the misty rain of a morning. It was dark and misty when I started and when I left the town it became really dark! The moon was hiding behind the clouds making it the first really dark morning. I managed to stay on the trail and make it to the next little town. It was really built up with albergues. You could tell more and more pilgrims would be on the trail because of how many albergues there were. I managed to walk through town before anything was open and was out of the new and into the old part before leaving town. Then out of no where I sneezed and then felt warmth all over my beard. I brushed it off to find my whole arm covered in blood. Both sides of my nose were gushing blood! I had to lean over so it wouldn’t go all over my bag and pants and I streamed blood onto the street as I reached for baby wipes which was all I had. I shoved a whole baby wipe up each nostril and tried to clean up a bit with the other wipe I had. I tried to clean up the street but it was in all the crevices of the old street. So I continued walking because that is the only thing I could think of to do. I wonder if someone saw this brutal blood mess on the side of the street and wondered what happened. Anyways I just kept walking. A little bit out of town it was so dark and I was heading into the forest which meant it would be even darker! Man I wish I had someone to walk with now and booom! Judith popped up from a bench and asked if we could walk together. She stopped at an intersection of the trails not sure which way to go because it was so dark and wanted to walk with someone too. Both our wishes came true. First off before it became light I had to explain why I was talking muffled and all the blood on my face was from my nose. She seemed ok with that. I told her it was my body cleansing because I was going to head to Santiago today. We laughed and walked on in the dark.
It eventually started getting a little bit brighter and after about 10 k or so we finally came to a cafe that was open. I cleaned the blood off my face and then we sat down for a delicious cafe and croissant. It was a well needed breakfast and a nice break from walking. After a while we hit the trail again and the misty morning opened into a blue sky. It was cool because other people were complaining last night on how much today would suck because it’s supposed to rain. I told them not to worry about it because you are going to walk anyways! Hope for a beautiful day! And that’s what I got!
It was fun walking and talking and I think the time flew by. We went through small little villages and eucalyptus forests and trails here and there. It was a beautiful walk with great company. We made it to Palas de Rei 25 k into the day and found a bar at the end of town to have lunch. The beautiful thing about Spain is that you order food and they bring you a bottle of wine. The food was good but the wine was great! I felt better resting up a bit and having a long lunch and some wine. Judith said she was going to stay maybe and I said I was good to head out and we would see each other down the way. And with that I was off!
I have never walked that much all day with someone I think in a while so it was nice but when I was back to myself I felt more at peace. I stopped more frequently and went faster on uphills and also drew way more hearts! It was fun and more beautiful trails. I made it another few kilometers and stopped for a drink at a cafe and put my feet up on an outside table. It was a beautiful day. A little but later Judith and her new friend Richard came by and sat with me. We chatted for a while and while they had some food coming I headed out to keep going. It was a nice walk and then started getting a little more city like walking next to roads and such.
I made it to a monument on the way just 5 k away from the cathedral and hung out for a bit there. I met these two from Delaware who I kept seeing off and on throughout the days. We chatted for a bit and they left. I hung out a little more then started the final 5 k. Coming down into Santiago was ok along the road but as soon as I passed the sign for Santiago de Compestela I felt a rain drop. A few steps later a few more so I went under a roof to get out my trusty trash bag. As I was getting my bag out the clouds let loose and it started raining pretty good. Once again another cleanse for me getting to Santiago. In the morning my nose and now the rain. My trash bag is officially the best idea that I have ever had. I stay cool whilst staying dry even in the hardest rain. Trash bag on I continured the walk to the cathedral. A few meters ahead I saw the Delaware duo and finished my walk with them. I made it to the cathedral on the dreary day and snapped a quick photo and took a deep breath. I made it! I felt fine and I just walked across Spain! Now what? I’m hungry like no other so I went off the plaza a bit and ordered a completion burger. They also had wifi so I sent a message out to my friend Barbara who came out to hang out. She had to stop in Leon because her Achilles and eventually finished on a bike which is super cool! She was leaving the next day and I think it is so awesome I was able to see her one more time. A few moments later Cris V came rolling in! He came out and did part of the camino and we have been in touch on Facebook and now he is sitting next to me! Last time I saw Cris was in Costa Rica at the coastal challenge and now we were having a beer together in Santiago! How cool is that! I love how life gives young he opportunity to see friends in the coolest places!
After dinner and gathering of friends pow wow, we ended up all saying our goodbyes. Barbara was heading back to Rome early in the morning and left with happy tears in her eyes but also a big smile. Cris headed out with another friend and was going to bus it to Finisterre the next day. It was great seeing him! Me, I am going to splurge and get a hotel so I can sleep in tomorrow and take tomorrow off! I found a hotel ten minute walk from the cathedral for 25 euros per night. That’s not a bad deal seeing some of the Albergues were right up at 15-20 a night! I can sleep in and don’t have to hear anyone snoring all night! Oh and I have a hot shower with out a timer on it so I can really clean up! It’s going to feel good to sleep in tomorrow! My plans for tomorrow just chill and wait for my Italian friends to get in. Oh and get my compestela! And also walk around town a bit because I like walking!
Wooo hoooo. I made it! The best thing about it is that I did it all in sandals!!! Thank you so much Merrell!!!! These sandals are the best of the best! Now only a little bit more of this camino to go but in reality my camino never ends! What adventure is next? Only the rising sun will tell! Pura Vida and buen camino and adventure on!