DAY 65. 11 JULY. SANTA IRENE TO SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA

 Go go go

Go go go

The early-birds are up at 5am; it's pitch black outside so I'm not sure how they're going to walk? The lights are programmed to come on at 7am and I leave at 7.30am under a glorious pale blue sky traversed with a silver jet trail.

 Getting closer  

Getting closer  

I have the first hour alone and enjoy the solitude of the woods and the unfolding path ahead. I come across several memorials and pilgrim cairns. I pass Santiago airport and hear planes for the first time in two month.

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I stop for a coffee at 11.30ish and there in the queue ahead of me is Morris and Susy is sitting outside; the couple from London. An other lovely Camino moment.

We walk together until we come to the outer suburbs of Santiago and the juxtaposition of two realities: the fast, bustling modern city and the hundreds of pilgrims slowly threading their way towards the Cathedral.

 There it is in the distance

There it is in the distance

We stop for lunch in a bar and I'm kindly treated to squid and chips. Morris and Susy head for the centre and I retrace my steps slightly to the Residencia de Peregrinos San Lázar.

It's a very nice modern albergue. The Galician authorities have really invested in their pilgrim accommodation and they are well designed and run by the municipal authorities. Unlike other municipal albergues I can stay here for three nights and it costs 10€ with paper sheets and REAL towel! Luxury!

A siesta and shower and I'm ready to resurface after a couple of hours. I realise I'm tired! I want to pace my walk into Santiago; to arrive slowly and fresh. I will walk into town tomorrow morning and head for the Pilgrims Office and visit the Cathedral. Having time is a real privilege.

I set out to buy some ingredients to make supper and am directed to the local shopping centre and giant Carrefour super-store.

 Awful

Awful

It's a terrible culture shock. I manage to put one tomato in a bag and then have to flee. The mind-numbing grossness of mass-consumption is bewildering and grotesque. Stacks of garden chairs, huge areas of baby wear, aisles of cosmetics, so much food. 

So to console myself,  I find a small old fashioned restaurant and order a very delicious gazpacho, salads mixte and una cuppa vino tinto. Delicious.

 That's better... 

That's better...