Today’s hike looked completely flat on our guidebook, but in fact it did have quite a few steep climbs and some knee popping downhills. It also had the largest palm trees yet on the camino.
There were even a few houses with banana trees. Yes, banana trees in northern spain!
We have no idea what tree this is, but it sure produces some beautiful flowers.
We took an alternate camino route for a mile or two but rejoined the camino at a junction point. There are many camino routes which all lead into Santiago. However, we needed to be on the route that goes through O Pedrouzo, as we booked a room in a hostel there.
A few days ago we heard through the camino grapevine that everything was booking up near and within centro Santiago. The pilgrims office reports May and October to be the months with the most pilgrims on the camino and there were lots of peregrinos hiking and biking in superspeed today. They seem to be in a hiking frenzy to arrive in time for Sunday’s Mass. We, on the other hand decided to keep to our pace of around 20 km per day. We should arrive in Santiago between1400-1500 tomorrow (Sunday).
We went online Thursday on booking.com and booked the last available room at our hostel. Sure enough, when we arrived in O Pedrouzo, there were twenty or so pilgrims walking from albergue to hostel to hotel, all unable to get into anything for the night. With nothing available they will either continue on to the next albergue or head back to a town with bed space available. At the same time, we booked two nights in a hostel in Santiago and again, the availability was pretty sparce.
With two unusual rain free days in a row, the local farmers are cutting and gathering their hay. They mow it then pick it up by rake and fill up their wagons. They dump it all in a huge “bowl” until it is filled to the top. Then they take their tractors and pack it down with their tires. They then place a tarp over it until they need it during the winter.
Sandy getting chilly in a huge eucalyptus forest.
Our camino guidebook is devoid of pages. As we have done every day, we remove and place the next days route in my pants pocket. There are absolutely no pages left. Wow, reality sets in…Tomorrow we are in Santiago.
Today’s trek was 18 km (11.2 miles) in ideal hiking weather. We have right at 20 km tomorrow and we will finally arrive in Santiago after 38 days on the camino. We will likely first drop off our bags at our hostel, then hike on and celebrate in the plaza in front of the cathedral. Next, we will proceed to the pilgrim’s office to check in and obtain our official “compostela” (certificate of completion). We have a very exciting day ahead for sure!