Day 16, Salceda to Santiago de Compostela, 29.8km (Total 332.7km)

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  • Thursday 16th October, 2014
  • Santiago de Compostela: San Martin Pinario Hospederia, €23 for a pilgrim room (single room incl own bathroom and breakfast)
  • Total distance: 332.7km, recorded with a Garmin 62s GPS

There was a skylight in my room and I could hear the rain pounding on it all through the night and in the morning when I was getting ready. There was going to be no chance of staying dry today!

My last day walking the Camino Primitivo to Santiago… I had made a reservation at the Hospederia opposite the Cathedral where I had stayed previously and I had already resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn’t be able to arrive in time for the midday mass, so there was no hurry to leave. My previous two caminos had “ended” by walking into Santiago and going straight to the midday mass… This one would have a different ending.

When I came down to the reception there was a gathering of pilgrims staring out the window not daring to step foot out into the downpour… It was the kind of rain that could drench you in minutes! I checked the weather forecast on my phone and for each hour of the day until evening, the possibility of rain was 100%… So off I went!

Yesterday and today I was walking along the Camino Frances which I had walked last May and both days memories came back of sitting in the various bars and cafes that I passed with my friends from last year… I absolutely loved the Camino Frances and I know people say it’s too busy and touristy, but it was my first camino and will probably always be my favourite.

The difference between last year and this year walking along this stretch of trail is that last year I was sitting outside these bars in the sunshine and this time I was sheltering from the rain inside! 😉 The path was a stream in many places but my new shoes were doing brilliantly in keeping out the water.

I wasn’t listening to music today as I walked (fearing that my nano would get wet), and I must admit the kilometres dragged by with only my thoughts to entertain me. When I finally arrived at Mt Gozo, (~4km from Santiago), I pulled my camera out of its dry bag for a quick photo of the monument, looked around for the pilgrim statue pointing to Santiago that I missed last year… Couldn’t see it or any obvious paths or signs to it, so because of the driving rain I decided I wasn’t meant to see it on this camino either, and pushed on towards Santiago. Where is it???

I walked into Praza do Obradoiro at 5:30pm and as tradition dictated (my own tradition), I laid down on the concrete (in a giant puddle) and took a selfie with the cathedral behind me. I hadn’t realised there were many tour groups hiding from the rain under the arcade on the opposite side of the square, until I stood up and they started to clap… They must have thought I was crazy! … I had made it 🙂

6 days previously when I was in a hospital in Lugo there was a brief moment when I thought Santiago didn’t want to see me again… It was a tough last 100km.

This camino was stunning! Everyday I felt lucky to be watching the sunrise and the mist clear, to be surrounded by hills and distant mountains, to see the glistening spider webs, to hear the cows and horses with their bells, to see the ever present mushrooms and moss-covered forests and to meet the wonderful pilgrims and hospitaleros along the way.

I feel I must say a special thank you to the incredibly kind Iria from Hotel Pazo de Orban in Lugo who took me to the hospital and stayed with me until 4am, thank you for your generosity.


Update on my old and new shoes and injinji socks:

I started out with Merrell non-waterproof, Vibram sole shoes (I bought them thinking I was going to walk the Via de la Plata not the Primitivo), and these shoes really didn’t work for me. I didn’t want waterproof shoes because I thought my feet would breathe better if they weren’t, but actually my feet got hotter than usual in these shoes. After a couple of days my left heel was sore, then this pain continued up my leg into my thigh and hip. *** This is purely my experience, I’m sure these shoes are perfect for lots of other feet, just not mine!

In Lugo I bought a pair of Salomon XA Pro 3D, goretex shoes… Not the style I usually wear (Ultra), men’s (women’s in my size weren’t available) and a half-size bigger than usual! It could have been even more disastrous than the Merrells, but actually they worked perfectly and I was very grateful that they were waterproof considering the amount of rain I’ve walked through in the past week.

Injinji toe socks: when walking my toes tend to rub against each other so I used the injinji toe sock liners under my normal hiking socks and I never developed any blisters or hot spots between my toes. Using these liners also meant I didn’t need to wash my socks as often, just the liners and as the liners are so thin, they always dried overnight.

17 responses to “Day 16, Salceda to Santiago de Compostela, 29.8km (Total 332.7km)

  1. Uh yes, the illusive pilgrim statue at the Mont. It’s down to the left after you pass the monument to John Paul. You kind of have to just…guess and keep walking until you find the lookout. Chantel and I concluded there was no sign pointing to it anywhere, we just followed the Quebecers!

    So glad you finally made it, although pity about the weather on your last day! But you arrived, and that deserves a big cheer whatever the weather or condition in which you made it! Have a great stay in Santiago.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another one ticked off! Well done Kat. Appreciate the fact you didn’t give us too much info on your illness as it would have spoilt my breakfast reading! Glad to hear you sorted out your foot wear and agree that whilst we love our Merrills and they work well for us, everyone has to find what works for them! We have the Gortex version which worked for the first 12 months, but failed us on our NZ trip. look forward to your next instalment.


  3. Hello Kat! I just read through your entire Primitivo experience on your blog. I am going to do it with my husband in late August, early September, 2015. It is not far away now! I have bookmarked your site, as I want to refer to it along the Way. While the stages we will do are a bit different than yours, several stops will be the same. I hope to NOT meet Montezuma as you did, but we will stay several nights in Lugo. The photos you took were fantastic and I hope it doesn’t rain too, too much, as we plan to do the Hospitales routes as well. I am ready though, for come-what-may. After all, that’s what a pilgrim does, isn’t it? We must adapt to all things! Thank you again for your information and for my “pre-trip!”


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