(22/Aug/2018) I stayed for two more days after my final Facebook update.
On 9/Dec, I took a bus to Lalin. I stopped at Emilio’s bar to say hello and have a beer. Then I retraced my steps back past the cemetery to As Romeas, the spot about 4km from the centre of Lalin, where I had diverted from the Camino Sanabres a couple of weeks earlier, From there, I walked the 4km section of the Sanabres that I had missed, as far as the albergue at A Laxe.
It felt a little strange to take a bus to go for a walk, a little disconcerting not to feel the weight of a rucksack, and a bit eery to walk alone after ending the Camino in such a sociable way. At the start of my Camino in Almeria, I was keen to experience solitude, but by the end of the journey, I had come to enjoy walking in company.
I encountered two herds of cows (or one herd divided into two groups), accompanied by farmers at the front and back of each group. I climbed up the banks of the lane to get out of their way. The sunken lanes in the woods were quite dark on this overcast day. I’m sure I would have struggled to navigate them if I had attempted to walk to A Laxe at night. What’s more, I would have missed the chance to meet Emilio. So it’s really a good thing that I diverted to the centre of Lalin that night.
I came out of the woods on the other side of the industrial park and highway that I went across after leaving Lalin. The Camino de Invierno from Lalin merges with the Camino Sanabres at the A Laxe albergue. Just before the meeting point of the two Caminos, I celebrated by making my own arrow from a branch that had fallen from a tree. Silly? Probably. I can’t explain exactly why this silly mission made sense to me. Perhaps I was reluctant to let go of my Camino, or perhaps I wanted to ensure the integrity of my collection of photographs of significant arrows between between Almeria and Muxia (just kidding … probably).
At the end of my walk, I saw that there was time to have a local cider at the bar where I had eaten lunch before. The owner called a cab to take me back to Lalin. While waiting for the bus to Santiago, I looked around Lalin. The city has seen better days, but I like it.
In Santiago, I found the Casa Pepe (recommended by my friend, Kerry) where I enjoyed some excellent Spanish wines and tapas. I looked around at the University, the grand buildings, the Christmas lights and nativity creches. I revisited the road that leads to Finisterre, to photograph some of the doorways there.
The next day (10/Dec), I made as much use of the covered walkways as possible, and tried to dodge the rain when I visited the museum of the Galician people, which is an ethnographer’s dream. The displays, artifacts, and video interviews explain so much about the economy, language, agriculture, fishing, architecture, cultural traditions, music, and religion of Galicia. In the section on language, I was delighted to see the isoglosses that delineate different dialects of Galician, and I realised that the locations where I thought the language sounded like Portuguese corresponded to these areas. The modern art museum, next door, was huge but the collection did nothing for me.
On my last day (11/Dec), I made an appointment at the excellent Barbanosa barbers. While waiting for my turn at the chair, I paid a visit to Santiago’s famous market, and toured the excellent Cathedral museum. It has a superb collection of historic masonry, tapestries, gold and silver etc, and it also affords the best view of the spires (from the cloisters) and of the cathedral square. It is rather expensive but pilgrims get access at a greatly reduced rate (and although I didn’t have any proof of my pilgrimage, I had all the scruffiness of a man who had walked 1,500km, so I got in cheap). Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to visit the pilgrimage museum. People have told me that it’s good.
After my haircut, I had a last glass of wine at Casa Pepe and took the airport bus to catch my flight home, where I met my latest niece and spent Christmas with family.