I connect with fellow pilgrims on day two of my Camino Finisterre and learn the difference between walking alone and walking with others.
"I believe that all of life is an unfolding journey and we never fully 'arrive' in this lifetime, but commit to always beginning again and to always being surprised by God. Pilgrimage offers us the opportunity to encounter the stranger within ourselves, to journey to places which make us feel uncomfortable in the service of breaking something free inside of us. The pilgrim's path matters in this world where we are encouraged to hold onto and accumulate comforts at any cost."
~ Christine Valters Paintner
Day two on the Camino Finisterre, as you can see from the elevation map below, is more strenuous and difficult than day one. There is a long, 10 kilometer hill climb to start off your day from Negreira.
The distance, as you see, on day two of the Camino Finisterre, is almost 33 kilometers, a healthy 20-mile day. Gronze.com rates this a 2 out of 3 on the difficulty scale, and their estimate of 8 hours and 15 minutes to complete it was pretty close to what I experienced. This is a full day of walking, so come prepared! I had plenty of back-up food in my pack, which is so necessary along any Camino in Galicia. The café bars may not be spaced properly to accommodate you when hunger hits! Food, indeed, keeps a pilgrim happy and energetic.
I set out alone in Negreira, from the Albergue Alecrín, before daybreak, in search of a café bar for my morning café con leche and tostada. I walked up the hill, through town, and ran into the Celtic Bar. As I was sitting at the bar, a tap caught my attention. It was in the shape of a Camino shell. Cute! Then my eye wandered up and saw the bottle of Jack Daniels attached to the tap! I almost burst out laughing!
Here I was, half way around the world, experiencing something quite different and new, in what felt like a totally different time and space, only to stumble onto Tennessee whiskey! It was a real joy to see this. What a small world! Needless to say, I did NOT put any Jack Daniels into my coffee that morning. If I did, what would it have been called? An "America Coffee?"
After my morning coffee, just as day was beginning to break, around 8:00 a.m. in September, I started my day two on the Camino Finisterre. As I left town, I walked through the original walls of the medieval city. It was a wonderful sight all lit up. I wished I would have seen it in the daytime, also. The Camino walked through the gate on the right side on the sidewalk, in the picture below.
As I climbed out of town, toward the hamlet of Zas, I stumbled into this lovely country church. It became a perfect foreground as I turned to look back toward the sunrise.
I liked the way the rising morning sunlight danced on this building, leading the way to the Camino waymark on its wall.
The initial 10 kilometers on day two of the Camino Finisterre are all essentially up, up, up! You have to gain 300 km in elevation, about 900 feet, which isn't bad, but it does take energy.
I soon hooked up with a Dutch gentleman who was extending his Camino from Portugal to Santiago de Compostela. He was to clock in about 900 kilometers when he finished in a couple of days in Muxía. Wow! It was very interesting talking to him and learning pointers from all his hiking experience. This was his third Camino.
The time quickly passed as we chatted and marched up the hills together. We were keeping a very good pace, I figured more than 5 km/hr. Soon, the call to nature became too strong for me, and my meager morning ration of café con leche and tostada was running out after two-and-a-half hours of walking. It was 10:30. I politely excused myself as the "Flying Dutchman" walked on.
I missed my new friend, and after he left, I immediately felt lonely. But my relief in nature and my snack at the bus stop in Vilaserío made me feel better. I ate a half a sandwich and an apple.
The planned stop for lunch was in As Maroñas at least 8 km away, and with any luck, I could catch my new friend there. I listened to music on my cell phone, and hummed as I walked through this gorgeous countryside. There were more enchanted paths as the Finisterre Way lead me off the main road, as shown below.
I was in love with life as I walked. Grateful for health, opportunity and a wonderful new way of feeling alive!
I was on an adventure! I didn't mind being alone once again, even though I was missing the company.
My pace quickened with my happy mood. It seemed like a natural rhythmic thing to do. I was in the groove. I was exhilarated by my surroundings.
The Camino seemed to climb ever skyward and soon wind mills became a common sight on the high ridges.
By noon, I arrived in As Maroñas, hungry again and ready for a break. As I anticipated, I met up with the Flying Dutchman at Pepa's Café Bar. I was very glad to see him. He had joined a group of Spaniard pilgrims and we made a happy bunch. My beer never tasted so good. I had the second half of my sandwich. 20 km down, about 13 to go. It was 12:30.
As we set out for the afternoon, I reflected on the difference between walking alone and walking together with someone. My new Dutch friend thought it was good to walk alone in the beginning of your Camino, and then together with others at the end. I wasn't sure, since I was doing it in the opposite way. I liked my day, juxtaposed with aloneness and togetherness.
I also loved my day one on the Camino Finisterre when I was alone the entire pilgrimage. I had many insights that day (click on the article to read about them). I also was loving the company on my day two of the Camino Finisterre. I was using my Spanish and I was getting to know others around the world, once again. While difficult, I loved this aspect of my pilgrimage.
My lesson for today's Camino seemed about learning to walk alone AND learning to walk with others. They were both important and necessary. After all, no one else can walk in my shoes and indeed my final walk will be alone...
As the rural paths made way to streets, which thankfully were few and far between, I could see many more pilgrims up ahead. I took this shot, because, for me, it was the most pilgrims I had encountered thus far.
Here is the countryside once again and the group with whom I was walking. The threat of rain was ever constant.
Throughout my Camino, I encountered dogs. Surprising to me, the German Shepard was one of the most commonly seen. This boy didn't even move as our group walked by. He did turn his head to check us out, though!
Scenes like this walking the countryside on day two of my Camino Finisterre, were common place. A home with a "barn" attached for all manner of farm-like things, not necessarily including your brand new auto.
Here again, the rural roads would pierce through the farm. Below are my walking companions.
As the road wound on I couldn't help myself from shooting pictures of how the farms and buildings and rural roads all merged. The through road is, of course, to the right.
The granaries are frequent along the way, and this one, made of stone and tile, elevated on mushroom shaped concrete pylons caught my attention. Well, actually, most of them caught my attention!
The endless countryside expanded all around you in this part of day two on the Camino Finisterre. Talk about wide open spaces! The views of the countryside as we approached Monte Aro were fabulous as you can see.
Somewhere around Monte Aro, you reach the high point of day two on your Camino Finisterre, and as you descend, this large reservoir comes into view. It's all downhill into Olveiroa from here.
As far as I could tell from Google maps, the reservoir is the Encoro Da Fervenza. I had my new friends take a photo of me here. I knew that we were on the home stretch and I was feeling great.
The most interesting photo that I think I took on my entire Camino trip, was this one. I call her the "Camino Cow." She was peering out of this barn "window" to watch us pilgrims go by. Seriously! I could tell her eyes were following us! I have no idea what this small structure's purpose was, that she had found a hole to peer out of. So clever! Talk about "seeing" with new eyes! She had found a way to see the world around her. Now that is my kind of cow!
Here she is, ever closer up. If you have any idea what this little window's intended purpose is, please leave me a comment below! Just don't burst my bubble too much regarding the contemplative cow!
About three or four kilometers from Olveiroa, a see someone in a blue shirt, walking uphill, the wrong way, towards me. I knew immediately it was my friend, Shelley, finally free of illness, joining me on the Camino! It was wonderful to see her. We whopped and hollered when we met up. She was feeling much better and had a spring in her step. She had taken a taxi from Santiago de Compostela to Olveiroa in the morning, and was walking backwards, to ensure that we met up along the Way.
She and I and our new Flying Dutchman friend had an animated remaining 3 kilometer walk and talk into the town of Olveiroa, our final destination on day two of our Camino Finisterre.
Shelley had already procured a room for us at the Casa Loncho, a wonderful pilgrim refuge, full of choices for the night, from lovely rooms to the standard dormitory. Plus, the most wonderful of all, the main dining/reception area served food and beverages from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., whenever anyone wanted it - a pilgrim's dream! In addition to all this loveliness, they had a little grocerette that had things like chips, Oreos, nuts and fruit for sale to stash in your pack for the next day.
I have to admit that I had TWO packages of Oreos when I arrived. I was so happy to see something familiar for the first time in two weeks. Not much of a pilgrim, at this moment, I confess, but I was still happy, on this day two of my Camino Finisterre!
Lounging outside on the balcony of our room, I felt truly blessed on this day. Shelley and I splurged on a double room instead of the dormitory and despite the Saturday night partying noise, we slept very well. After walking 33 kilometers, I think I would have slept through a hurricane.
After our wonderful evening meal, the Menú del Día (menu of the day), consisting of breaded and fried chicken filets, french fries and Caldo Gallego (local vegetable soup) and copious amounts of wine - all among our new Camino friends - we went to bed with full bellies and contented hearts. The caldo never tasted so good! - cabbage, potatoes and a salty chicken broth to replenish our electrolytes!
I hope you enjoyed my tales on my day two on the Camino Finisterre. Learning how to walk alone and how to walk with others was my theme of the day. May you also find more insight into yourself when you do the Finisterre Way. Please join me as we walk onward, to day three!
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