Although yesterday’s ride from near Pedrouza to Sangtiago was only about 23km, it was definitely one of the most miserable days I’ve had on the camino.  It went from raining really hard to raining harder and being windy at the same time.  I got to my rather nice upscale hotel looking like a drowned and slimed rat.  They were very kind and non chalant about it all.  I took my stuff up to the room and squished back down to return the bicycle to the rental firm.  Once that was done, I opened my bags which I had fortunately placed in the bath tub.  The rain cover on my pack had managed to trap water and about a gallon of water and mud came out.  Thankfully, I pack my clothes in dry bags, so I had a change of clothes that was dry.  Waited for my compostela at the Pilgrims office right across from my hotel.  An underwhelming preprinted certificate.   Managed some recuperation and shared dinner with Sean Murphy, an Irishmen that I’d met the night before.  Today, I worked on trying to attach meaning to all the effort involved in this exercise.  Spent the morning with a Catholic sister, Katherine, from Ireland who is running something called Camino Companions.  She has seminars for people to try to help them process the experience.  Ended up with some other Americans from Michigan and we read some poetry and answered some questions etc.  All I can say is I’m very much still in process with it all.  Had a fabulous lunch at the top rated place in Santiago, Abastos 2.0, which is right by the central  market.  They do a degustacion menu for 21 Euros for lunch and they bring you morsels of seafood for about an hour.  Wouldn’t do it everyday, but when in Rome and the price was certainly fair.  Tonight was a rather sad occasion as a mass was held for Denise Thiem, the American Pilgrim who was murdered by Astorga.  It was well attended and very moving, with sections in English, but also the Spanish was spoken so properly and clearly that I could understand almost all of it.  So sorry for her and her family, the huge irony being that she was from Phoenix, which almost certainly has homicide rate almost 10 times that of all of Spain put together.  Anyway, was trying to figure out where to go next, and San Sebastian is so booked up that I couldn’t find anything all that affordable.  So, headed to Bilbao on Friday.  Of course a train strike almost nixed that, but then I found I could work around it by booking one ticket to Burgos and another from Burgos to Bilbao 3 hours later.  Why the RENFE people couldn’t come up with that I don’t know.  It most definitely pays to do your own searches.


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