Day 15. Ponte Ulla to Santiago (22 km)

Final day on the Camino Invierno, and I set off with my 3 amigos after a delayed breakfast. (The server didn’t show up until 7:20, so there was a horde of impatient pilgrims at the door to the dining room!) During the morning, I struggled to decide between my rain jacket/pants and just umbrella. Of course once I donned the gear, the rain let up and eventually the day turned fine.

While I was doing a wardrobe change in a convenient bus shelter, along came a young German woman who had scarcely talked to anyone on her week-long camino from Ourense. She was very happy to walk into Santiago with me.

The approach to the city is nicer from this route than from the Camino Frances. I was able to bring my new companion around to approach through the tunnel, for a little extra drama.

I was very pleased to be invited by my 3 amigos to join them for their celebratory end-of-camino dinner. Over several days, I had dropped into place quite comfortably with them, and all our conversation was in Spanish. Without their company, my camino would have been a lonely one. (I won’t post a close-up photo since I’m not sure how much social media presence they really want.)

They ordered a seafood platter – Galician specialty – but I avoid shellfish due to some bad experiences in the distant past. I wanted to stay with the theme, so had “bacaloa con grelos” – cod with the green kale-like plant that is found in every garden in Galicia. I tasted one of the famous percebes from the platter. They told me it would taste like the sea, and did – exactly.

After dinner we wandered over to the Cathedral where there was a “tuna” performing. These are traditionally poor university students, but some of these guys were closer to our age. In any case, it was a nice evening to end this pilgrimage.

I had to make a new reservation for lodging in Santiago, since I arrived 3 days earlier than my booking at San Martin Pinario. Given the prices, I stayed in a dorm room with others for the first time on this trip. Tonight was at the Km 0 Albergue, very close to the Pilgrim Office.

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