DAY 64. 10 JULY. BOIMORTO TO SANTA IRENE

 Water and granite

Water and granite

Well, breaking all personal records I'm on the road at 6.30am; it's still misty and dark and I'm alone. This is the last stretch of the Camino del Norte and I'm savouring the peace and tranquility; a walk through mossy woods and flowing water; on the edge of the village I come across a spring issuing out of three stone spouts.

My tummy is not feeling great and I need to ask a farmer to use his loo. He's just finishing milking his cows and his wife is cleaning the yard. I try my best Spanish, but it's met with total incomprehension and I resort to my app. Very kindly I'm shown into their yard bathroom and then met by their farmyard pets: four dogs, two cats and a terrapin.

At Arzúa I stop for my picnic breakfast on a bench in a back street- it's my goodbye to the Camino del Norte. In a few yards I enter the Camino Frances; it's 9.30am.

 A last look back at the Camino del Norte

A last look back at the Camino del Norte

 On to Santiago de Compostela 

On to Santiago de Compostela 

Ola. I was expecting Oxford Street at Christmas but no; the Camino graciously gives me a few more hours of quiet. I soon notice some differences. Lots more bars, coffee shops and hotel signs. And a much broader age range and levels of fitness. For many it's a gentle stroll rather than a walk and for some it looks extremely painful. It's good to see families with young children with day-packs, with teenage children and grannies with dogs (one woman was carrying a small dog basket.) Groups of young people sit chatting in the cafes; it's a much more social affair. This mix would have been impossible on the del Norte; it's too demanding and demands a certain resolve. 

I realise that 'del Norte' has gifted me a strong gaite and a good speed and that I've learnt how to use walking-poles! There's a lot of ineffectual pole-wafting going on!

I'm now 34km away from Santiago and part of me wants to arrive there and another wants it to be days away.

 A long day

A long day

I've chosen to stay at Santa Irene because I liked the look of the albergue but it's a long 18 mile stretch with quite a few ups and downs and I'm very tired when I arrive there at 2pm. Time for a shower and siesta.

I have a snack lunch at the local bar and return there in the evening for an omelette sandwich and a canned peach - I couldn't face the 1.5km walk to a restaurant!

It's a full dorm of 25 people but I'm fast asleep by 10pm.

 Nearly there.... 

Nearly there....