Friday, September 13th

Leaving as soon as possible. Following the signs out of town, through the old city, passing the castle, down and over the bridge, then through the new part, following an old couple for quite some way, the window cleaning ladies already busy at work, got confused at a fork in the road, using the torches to make sense of the guide book, then under an arch, and the sky is beginning to lighten a little.

Santa Maria de Compostille
Wondering how they got the 'i' into Compostille. Slip of the pen, maybe. But then, the basis for the Camino itself is a slip of some early scribe's pen, as the name for Spain and the name on the ancient maps for Jerusalem being almost identical.
The birds are beginning to wake up, all of them, getting louder and louder, it's wonderful.

Sitting of the steps of the Santa Maria, and there's a naieve mural on the wall behind us. We clean out our pockets of every copper coin we can find, and leave them as a donation.

That makes 1302kms for me, 57 for Chris. Since Compostille, been admiring the vegetable gardens with enormous pumpkins, red peppers, tomatoes, sweet corn; passed a wreckers yard, the wreckers name is Felix Castro, which isn't a name you're likely to hear very often in Australia; heard a strange bell noise, but like a bell that was being slowly strangled.

Hogar del Pensionista
Second coffee for the day. Met up again with the two Scottish bikie pilgrims we talked to last evening, and he's got St Andrew's flags flappin' all over his bike.

a little later
And once we'd passed the wine co-operative, and turned onto the unmade road, it became wonderful again. Through vinyards of mostly purple grapes, and tasting more than a few, and to describe streams as 'gurgling' is cliched, but that's what they were. Ahead of us are another pilgrim couple, holding hands, like Dorothy and the Scarecrow.

In the iglise. The girl at the reception here made sure we had a good look around, and yes, you can go behind the altar, and up the stairs to the sides.

I think I've calmed down now, but since leaving Cacabelos, everything has gone wrong, and was feeling fit to kill something. Raju's book is wrong, or out of date, and I hate backtracking, particularly when you have to backtrack down a monster hill. And backtracking because you've followed the guide, and ended up kilometers down a path that peters out in some farmer's field.

Found the right way, the second turn on the right, not the first. Passing a sculptors yard, mostly religious works, then vinyards, passing ugly parts of the landscape, and nicer parts.

But there has been one miracle. The other guy in the room last night, the one who just couldn't stay still, and who was still sleeping when Chris and I left, well, he's already here. At the albergue, and looking fresh and rarin' to go.
And good God, Antonio's here. Wonder how he made it with the busted leg. Must've been another miracle.

Found the iglise, the one with the door. The one that, if pilgrims were sick, or injured, or about to die, and knew they couldn't make it to Santiago, then they'd knock here, and be issued with their credentiale, their passport to heaven.

Plaza Major. At the Compostela Cafeteria. A beer, a wine, two cakes, and over there, there's huge twirling puppets, the Knight puppet, then the Moor, the Spanish Lady, and for some odd reason, ET. There's the pipe band, complete with great pipers and totally crap drummers.

Talking with Swedishpilgrim, who's towing his 15kg bag in a trolley, and who dreams of opal mining in Australia, and of sailing around the world in a boat he's building.

Antonio turns out to be one of the hospitalero's here. He's still limping like a bugger, but this time specializing in giving Massage de Peregrino. If they're female, and preferably young.

even later
An evening stroll around the town, tables and chairs being set up in the Plaza Major. The wonderful apothecary, the bookshop with a display of Camino photography, and everwhere, posters for the fiesta that's happening soon, featuring a crucified JC wearing a petticoat. First time I've seen that, wondering if it's based on something real, or some kind of prudery of the locals.