Saying Goodbye/ What Camino Means

The last day I went to the beach and I found a shell. And I actually found one for everyone that I loved in the group and gave it to them. And I promised myself that I would walk again and I would take the shell when I went. 

 I said goodbye to everyone at about 4 in the afternoon as I began the 48 hour journey. (3 buses and 2 planes until Minnesota) 

 And I said goodbye to Billy as I was getting on the bus. 

And I cried. 

Like I cried a lot. 

Because I didn’t expect to find love the way I did on the Camino. Just surrounded by it. Just drowning in it. 

There is something so magical about being forced to be just the worst of yourself. And the best. And having these people just love you for that. I think that’s why people keep doing the Camino. And like hell I lied on my compostella—this was religious. Cause if love isn’t a religion then I don’t know what the hell is. 

I’m sure it’s something good ol St. James could subscribe to. 

So would I do it again? Absolutely. 

And what would I do different? Well for starters the second time I would bin fucking Brierley and just go without a guidebook. (Well maybe just metaphorically for logistical reasons) but I would just start with no destination in mind and walk when I felt like it and stop when I felt like it. But that’s for the second time. I have no regrets on this trip. Even as I was bawling my eyes out on the bus from Finesterre I couldn’t think of one thing I would take back.

I kept remembering every day how I almost got in that car with Ellen from Canada when I got off the airplane in Biaritz and almost started the Camino in a different place. And how truly magical it was that this group of people from so many completely different places ended up on this walk together. And how it took almost no time at all for it to feel like family. 

Because it’s not really about the walking. It’s not about the miles and it’s not really about Santiago. You don’t find God when you arrive. You find it on the way. In the people and the places. 

It’s about the dinners cooked in steamy albergue kitchens. It’s about the shitty ukelele playing. It’s about the dirty looks from old Spanish women when you hold hands with a cute British boy. It’s about the endless chorizo and cheese sandwiches. It’s about bed bug scares. It’s about refusing to take a bus no matter how swollen your foot is or how many blisters you have. It’s about singing 500 miles by the Proclaimers probably 500 times. It’s about every time you are smelly and sweaty an cursing the lord above as you drag your tired ass up those last few kilometers. It’s about laughing until you can’t breathe. It’s about making new friends and finding a new family. 

It’s about love. 

It sounds cliche. And I know saying it sound cliche sounds cliche. But who gives a fuck. 

And it takes walking the Camino to realize that maybe we are all just walking a Camino. Everyday. Mark said the real Camino doesn’t start until you get to Santiago. And then like stars were flung back to our homes to spread that light. 

And because I can’t think of the perfect words to end this post with myself I think I will just steal a quote from my dear friend Csenge:

“I’m full of love and farts”

  Adios EspaƱa. 

Buen Camino motherfucker.   

The End Of The World

So the others would be walking for 3 days to make it to Finisterre whereas the second day in Santiago Billy and I took the bus and made the whole journey in about 2 hours. 

How depressing. 

and the hilarious thing was the bus left and I was immediately motion sick. Makes sense considering I hadn’t been in a vehicle moving over 3mph for 35 days. (This “vehicle” is my feet) 

But we very quickly arrived in Finisterre which is like a little port town on the coast and it is beautiful. 

 
I forgot to take photos of the town. But here’s billy standing on a cliff! 

And we had taken a late bus so we didn’t have much time to do anything besides eat some pulpo (very necissary) and find a spot to sleep on the beach. 

We ran back into Beth the English girl and her Aussie friend Jamie while we were there. I should mention at this point we do end up seeing quite a few people that we had met along the way. Tho many of them left us in the dust! 

#Robfromthebeginning had made it to Finisterre like 3 days before we even got to Santiago. But he’s like a champ so…I’m taking it slow people! 

And we got a cozy spot on the beach and passed right out like every night because I think to this moment I am still recovering from the walk.  

We had a lazy morning in the town. And messaged the group because they were expecting to arrive today and it was Sean’s birthday! So we were gonna have a party before we all had to split ways. 

So to kill time billy and I decided to make the last 2k trek up to the light house right at the end of the world. 

 
It felt good to be walking again. And the view was amazing!

And this is the place where everyone like burns their clothes but I didn’t really have anything to burn. So instead I left my hat on this big pole full of junk that people just leave around and it’s very poetic. 

  

And while we were up there we ran into the two Scottish documentarians. Graham and Alistar I know now are their names. And they filmed interviews with us.  

And then they invited us back to their camper van again and made us pasta and wine. (Well they didn’t make the wine. Obviously. You know what I mean) And the banter was flowing like it always is with the Brits. And then they gave us a ride back down so we wouldn’t have to walk. 

And at the bottom we kept messaging the group because it was 4pm and they really should’ve been here by now. But no one was responding and we had been waiting to make plans with accommodation so finally we were like fine they’ve deserted us. And we found our own place. And we exit the hostel and right across the street is the whole gang!

There’s Rosie, Connor, Claudia, Csenge, Camille (and her boyfriend had come), Quentin, Sean, and they had picked up two more Brits Lydia and Eve. Who were cool. And also Jake was there who is Rosie’s friend that I think I forgot to mention joined in Santiago because he had been walking the northern route and he walked 60k one day to catch us. 

And then we walked the 2k to the lighthouse again with everyone. And brought lots of drinks so we could celebrate the leaving. Which was very very sad. 

  

Making It To Santiago

Oh shit I guess I kind of gave away the ending of the story with a title like that…

But I woke up at 7:00 (happily sleeping in because we had the shortest walk of the trip today) and I was fairly confident at yes indeed I would make it to Santiago. We were only 5k away and I reasoned even if I fell and broke both my legs I could probably still crawl that distance. 

So cheers! 

The whe group stayed together the whole morning because we were very excited to all walk in together. And we were moseying along. 

And then suddenly bam! Were in Santiago. 

  
And as we got to the old town we all held hands and sang 500 miles by the Proclaimers. Which is my favorite song. And instead of singing “ba da dat da” we all sang “Billy blister!” Which is out name for billy because obviously he has terrible blisters and has become notorious throughout the Camino for that! 

And we all walk around the corner together and come face to face with the cathedral!

 
And we all celebrated. And I don’t think I cried but it was cool. 

Though walking into Santiago is difficult to explain cause you get there after walkin all this way and it’s not like its anticlimactic…but it is. A bit. I think it’s because by the time you reach Santiago you’ve Already figured out that the whole journey isn’t really about Santiago at all. It’s obviously about the people. And the lesson. And the way. 

So we all kind of got there like…alright. Let’s go find a hostel. 

Actually first we went and got our compostella! Which is like a wham bam sign that you get for finishing. And I got one that said how many kilometers I had walked and it was 775! That’s right. 

Then we came back for pilgrims mass at noon. Which I wasn’t super keen about but it’s kind of like a good thing to do I guess when you make it to Santiago especially because I lied at the compostella office and said I walked for religious reasons. They don’t give you the nice compostella if you don’t! 

 
Then swung this big smoky thing and I took a photo of everyone taking a photo of it. 

And then I siesta-ed happily for like 4 hours. 

That night we obviously had to celebrate. And the others had gotten like the whole floor of an apartment with a kitchen so we all cook. “We” meaning like Rosie and Claudia. And Csenge made some Hungarian dish that was like pretty much soup but she kept getting mad when I called it soup.

 
And Camille made some appetizers. And I bought some of the wine because that’s my way of contributing. And then we all went out on the town and celebrated the end (kind of)

Well it wasn’t really the end for most of the group.

Because everyone but Billy, me and Mark were walking to finesterre. So while I was sleeping in until 12 they were all getting up very hung over I might add and walking again. 

I had wanted to do finesterre for like a second. Everyone was going and I was convinced that I would feel bad if I didn’t do it too. But honestly I think it was that 35k day that really solidified it in my brain. Actually it was those last lethargic days with billy and Mark that just made me realize…there’s no extra glory in it. I was tired. I am tired. And on like a side hand Billy would probably be miserable if he walked it and he would go if I went. To keep my company obviously. What would I do without him? 

So we slept in and then met Mark and Lars and Mark was in a state. He was hung over and sad. He had seen the others off and he was flying back the next day so he wouldn’t see them again. And he was just distraught. I knew he loved us. We finally had to split up again so mark could go take a siesta and try to deal with all his anguish. 

 
We met back up with the boys later that night and had probably the classiest meal of the Camino at this italian place. And I got tiramisu! Which for anyone in my life would know is my favorite dessert. So I was pleased and full of espresso. And we let mark turn in early cause he was still not having a great day. And Lars had missed the 40 euro tour he had booked the day before because he was so hung over. 

I mean I was fine but I still went to bed early because I have 35 days of walking to recouperate from. 

  

And I’m doing fine. 

The next morning we had to leave our nice hostel. Well nice is a relative term. But I had been living on cold showers so…

And we saw Mark and Lars off at about noon. Which was pretty heartbreaking. Mark was like a staple of our time and it was so weird. He just sort of walked around the corner and was gone. 

 
And I cheered myself up by playing songs in the plaza. Actually before he left mark and I sang “The Rovin dies hard” which is this Scottish song that he taught me. And billy doesn’t like it but I think he’s just putting a front on cause he’s English and he doesn’t wanna admit to liking anything Scottish. 

Billy and I wasted the day buying souvenirs because that evening we were busing to Finesterre! 

The horror!  

The Day That Broke Me

Its kind of hilarious that the day that took us 5k away from Santiago was the day I finally broke.

Okay this is a bit over dramatic. 

  

So anyway. The deal was that we were two days from Santiago so we had to plan how those two days would look. And after my strong argument against just doing the whole 40k in one day. The group decided the best idea was to walk 35k and then stroll into Santiago the next day no problem. 

Well that is like a lot of walking! 

So whatever. We had missed the group a bit the day before so we agreed to rouse from our disaster hall to meet the others at the ungodly hour of 5:30am to start the long trek to Monte de Gozo. 

And the day started out well. It was like pitch black and I don’t know if I’ve complained yet on this blog that billy lost my headlamp but Billy lost my headlamp. I’m surprised I still have the majority of my belongings whilst I’ve been hanging out with Billy so much. Billy whos lost countless things on this trip. We all were comparing our bags and how much they weighed and Billy’s had begun the trek at the most now weighs probably the least because half of it has been left behind. Bless him. 

And earlier in the morning Mark and I stopped to look at these awesome signs about travel. 

  
And then at about 10am I realized that I had been walking with the fast part of the group and that Billy and Mark were like way behind. 

I started to get a bit worried cause even I was getting tired and Billy had even begun the day not feeling too great. So we decided to take a lunch break and wait for Mark and Billy to catch up. And we took our break for an hour. And billy and Mark never showed up. 

So eventually I decided just to go with the rest of the group and continue on. Camille was keeping me company at the back of the group. As the slow walkers. 

  
And then as we keep walking I started to get pains in my shins. And I’m like Jesus Christ.  

So when the speed walkers from hell finally came to a stop at another cafe I like collapsed onto the pile of bags. And everyone is like “Brenna are you alright?” And in response I just started singing On My Own from Les Mis. 

But Sean had messages Mark and Billy and told me that apparently they had gotten lost and then just decided to stop for a while and just get drunk. And all I could think of was how much I wanted to be there too. And the rest of the group (don’t get me wrong. I really do love them. But just today I was losing it a bit) was talking all about accommodation.

And at one point I was like …”if anyone talks about accommodation I’m gonna slap a bitch“. Okay maybe I was getting a little pissy…

But I just kept thinking “billy cannot make this 35k and I’m making him do it. And I’m a horrible person” etc. 

Though Camille–bless her heart–was singing Disney songs with me. And we do this cute thing where I will sing the English words and she will sing the French words and it’s cool. 

  
And so were tackling the last 8k and I’m just really really struggling and even instrumental music isn’t helping. And then I swear to god I started crying. I was like billy is gonna die. This is gonna break him. And I had the headphones and he’s lost 2 pairs so he doesn’t have any to listen to music to help him.

And we finally got to the albergue. 

And there were like 400 places. So Sean messages Billy and Mark and said that if they can make it then there will be beds for them. 

And I’m just sulking at this point. I’m like “I’m a horrible person”. And I cab just imagine billy just showing up. And I was just being generally really sad until Claudia comes to the door like Billy’s here! And I was like hooray!!!

And he was okay! 

He was smiling. And I was so happy. Everyone was like that God billy made it because Brenna was so sad. 

So then we got some drinks. Typical. And me and mark practiced this Scottish song that he taught me. And I played my ukelele and the rest of the night was good. 

The first 8 of us had arrived first and gotten all the beds in one of the rooms. And then mark felt left out so he dragged his mat inside with us. And then we all talked about our dreams. And Quentin wants to be a Shepard. And Claudia wants a house with the whole second floor being made of glass windows. 

The Last Little Bit

 
I want to comment here that I am at this point carrying like the larger percent of my things on the outside of my bag. 

As you can see by the photo above every morning I strap on my hat, my mat, and my ukelele. And then fill the outside pockets with my shoes, food, and water. And then I drag my coat along too. 

So today I ended up in the back again with Mark and Billy. And the whole way we were just like…screw this fast pace. So as the others were racing ahead to make sure they could beat the crowds, we took the opposite approach. We stopped at all the cafes. We ate all the ice lollies (that’s British for Popsicle). We let everyone pass us becuase we had mats and we decided to sleep out. 

So we arrived and the others had secured places in line like an hour earlier. And honestly even at our slow pace we could’ve probably got beds but I think we wanted to make a point to everyone so we rolled out our mats on the ground outside of the albergue anyway! 

  
And we took a nap on the group for like 3 hours. 

Then Billy snuck into their albergue to shower. And came back out to get our clothes to put them in the wash but on his way back in he got clocked by the albergue guy. Like “Can I see your credentials?” And then billy ducked out before he got in trouble. So we had to have the others put our clothes in the wash. 

And then Rosie made a big nice vegan meal. I think she’s trying to convert us all! But regardless it was delicious but billy couldn’t come into the albergue cause the guy already knew he was a mooch. 

But then when I went out to bring him and Mark a plate of food they were no where to be found. But after a bit of searching I found them at the bar next door where they had made friends with two Scottish documentarians who were hilarious. And they bought us all drinks and then when the others had to go to sleep cause they had to cater to the albergues 10pm curfew the Scotts invited us to their camper van. And then they pulled out like a dozen different bottles of whiskey! 

And the scots went nuts over it! 

Mark was in his element. They were talking all about flavors and stuff about whiskey and about pouring in the right amount of water. And I think we tried about 7 different whiskeys and the whole time all the British boys were just bantering and I couldn’t even keep up. Those Brits. 

And finally we had to go back to our beds (mats) and we laid out under the stars and it was actually incredible. 

Mark has this thing that he said about how compostella means “fields of stars” and how we are all like stars that come together and make a constellation and then we are flung back around the world to spread our light. I like it.

The next day the others came to wake us up at 5:30! And we were like yeah…nah. 

So we went and slept for another 2 hours and then roused ourselves at 7:30 and then took off at a very lazy pace. And stopped almost immediately in the town for some coffee and toast. So we didn’t even leave the city until about 8:20 and we kept just stopping everywhere and we couldn’t be bothered like the whole day. 

And we kept just justifying it to ourselves like “oh yeah screw the crowds”. 

At like 11 we reached the town that was famous for pulpo (that’s octopus) 

 
And it was dee-licious! Though Mark couldn’t come in cause he is really disgusted by pulpo. But billy and I downed a plate.  

So we walk about 25k that day and roll into the town at about 5:30pm. But seriously we weren’t even screwed! They were putting up all the leftover peregrinos in this big gymnasium. So it was us and a bunch of italian scouts. And it seemed like the set of some disaster movie where we were all the survivors camped out. And it wasn’t even that bad of a night’s sleep! 

The Crowds Arrive

Today was the day we would be walking through Sarria. 

And Sarria was the place about 100k from the end where everyone starts. Like groups of scouts and families and your groups and people on church trips all start because you have to walk at least 100k to get a compostella at the end. 

So we were very wary of these new additions. 

Billy, Mark, Csenge and I got behind the group right at the beginning because we stopped to get an espresso. I mean–I can barely make it through the morning with my double shot so how the others manage without even that is beyond me. 

And at this point I was getting a bit tired of the pace of the group. Everyone seems to be racing for beds and I’ve just gotten a bit tired of it. I’m not nearly as fast or as modivated, but lucky for me Mark and Billy share my opinions so we took the day easy. Making a lot of stops. 

Usually I’ll do a coffee stop. Then a second coffee stop with tortilla. Then the third stop is usually ice cream. Then the fourth is like a beer or most likely another ice cream because I do tend to eat like 3 a day….

So at like 9am we lost Csenge, but at the next stop Sean caught up to us. He had slept in and then raced ahead and caught up. So he joined our moseying train for the rest of the day. 

  
We took a long lunch break in Sarria with was filled with people arriving off buses. And everyone we met on the walk that day seemed to be freaking out about everything being booked! 

And so I spent 10 euros buying a sleeping mat just in case we would have to camp out. Which honestly didn’t sound too bad to me! 

  
And we had decided as a group not to stay in Sarria because there would be loads of people. So we continued on 5k and when we arrived there were only 2 beds left at the albergue. 

And Sean really needed a bed because he had gotten some really bad burns and they looked all gross and red and his skin was peeling off and it was bloody and really he was just a mess. And then mark was like way keen to sleep outside and Billy needed to save money. So I ended up taking the bed and then immediately felt super bad about it. 

But everything turned out okay.

Because the place down the road had a pool and if you bought a drink you could swim there. And turns out they had beds available and so mark and billy decided just to book in there. So thank god. 

And I ended up having to go get Billy’s shit from our albergue and walking back with it. He didn’t ask me to and I know if he reads this he’s gonna be like “oh Brenna you make be out to be such a twat”. But I went to get his passport and credentials because remember at this point I’m carrying them because I don’t trust billy not to lose them. And now it’s double-y important because he needs his stamps to get a compostella. 

Anyway then I was like “might as well carry everything” and that’s why I carried Billy’s bag like almost a kilometer back to him which totally wore me down. But not to worry because there was a pool and a nice dish of fishy paella to keep me very happy. 

  
We slept in the next day and awoke to like hoards of people. For the first time there were like crowds on the way. And you would actually get stuck behind people. And no one really knew to say “buen Camino”! So honestly we were getting a bit bothered by all the tours and groups of italian scouts. 

 
This dude still had the tag on his bag. Fucking nube.  

Luckily it was only a 16k day because of the extra we had walked before. And we arrived to Portomarin very early.

Not earlier than like Rosie and Quentin and Connor and Claudia but that’s like…totally understandable because they are like motherfreaking rockets. 

And by like 12 there was a huge line for the albergue which made all the others get really freaked out about places. 

 
Billy’s gonna be pissed when he sees I put this photo up. Lol. That’s us waiting for the hostel. 

And at night we went to the park and mark tried to teach us Scottish dancing and then we tried to make a human pyramid which totally failed.  And then we played games until it was 10 and that’s bedtime for peregrinos because that’s when the albergue closes. 

And also we met puppies!

  

Just Keep Walking

 
We woke up later because Mark was like overjoyed at the prospect of walking to see the sunrise from this peak by this giant wood cross. 

So we walked up a totally unnecessary hill to see the sunrise in the freezing cold. But it was pretty beautiful. 

And for the rest of the morning we were walking at the top of the mountain. Except for at one point we were walking behind a bunch of cows…

 
And we reached this statue that I don’t know why it’s there or anything but it’s a peregrino and so we obviously took it as an opportunity for a photo. 

  

And then the last part of the day was all downhill. Which is always a strugg for me cause then my poor pinky toes get totally smashed. 

But we got to Tricastello. 

Where we were early to the hostel and then we ended up in nice small rooms where we could sleep with eachother and not with weird Spanish ladies who snore really loudly. Tho Quentin totally snores. And I keep losing earplugs so it’s getting harder and harder to make it through the night. Lucky that I packed enough unisom to knock out a large horse. 

We spent the day stealing wifi from a bar and then buying a lot of wine and playing drinking games. And Quentin and Sean picked up a bunch of liquor shots that came in little plastic bags like ketchup packets which were proper disgusting. 

And we stayed up way past the hostel bed time and made a bunch of other pilgrims pretty mad. And Mark and Csenge decided to sleep outside for some godforsaken reason even thought they had already paid for the actual bed. 

But I’m not making any judgement.

The Big Hill

So we take off from Villafranca and this was actually one of the coolest mornings because it was pitch black and pouring rain. And as we are walking every few minutes lightning lights up everything. 

And it’s pretty scary.

At one point we’re huddled in this tunnel and a big bolt of lightning goes off and then the lights in the tunnel go out. And we’re like…ahhhhh. 

Today we were prepared for a really tough day. It was 20k of flat and then 10k of a really steep hill

And billy remembered it being the hardest of the Camino. And my mom had written “hard walk at the end of the day” on that page and also warned me about it. 

But like all of the things my mom has written thus far (lol. Love you mom)–she was totally wrong. I think I must have over prepared myself for the hill because we started going up–and don’t get me wrong, climbing for 10k with a huge pack on is difficult. 

On a side note: I think I have acquired like 5 more pounds of weight for my pack! With Minnie and my shoes and all the shampoo and conditioner I bought….but I’m still managing fine. Though I have like 3 things hanging from my bag at this point. 

Anyway! 

On the hill I got going on so many endorphins I was like so jazzed. 

And we crossed into Galicia halfway.

   
And finally  we made it to the top and got spots in the municipal. And it was freezing up there. 

And then after siesta I’m watching the boys play chess–which is like all they do all the time! How can you play that much chess??? It’s not even a very exciting game. And billy comes in like: “I left my phone halfway down the hill” 

To which I’m like: “you. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me”

And he’s like “I’m gonna have to go back to find it” 

And I’m like “well good luck boy. This is not my deal”. And I’m already carrying his passport and pilgrim credentials because I don’t trust him not to lose them. 

But before he leaves he asks the receptionist and someone had carried it and left it there. 

Lucky doesn’t even describe it. 

The rest of the night was filled with pulpo and massages. 

Into Galicia

Departing from Ponferadda we were counting down the days until Erin would leave us because she got caught up without time and ended up with not enough days. And this was her 2nd to last day. 

And I don’t remember that much about the walk but I do remember that unlike the way we usually walk where everyone tends to spread out across the Camino and we only meet up at stops. Rosie, Connor and Claudia are fast. And usually Quentin now. Erin and Mark usually catch up at the end. Billy and I are slow-ish. 

But today we like all walked together. 

And when we’re together we are usually singing. 

So leaving ponferadda it is literally pouring! And we are loving it! I think we were all just so excited to have something that wasn’t boiling hot! And we look like proper pilgrims all covered up in rain gear don’t we? 

 
I mean…Erin’s sexy orange pancho is the highest peak of fashion in NYC she assures us.  

And I think the feeling of losing our queen was making us feel like we had to slow down a bit. So we kept stopping at literally every stop. 

And we got wine at like 9am. 

 
But I mean…were in Spain. I think the amount of wine I’ve been drinking might be defined as alcoholism in the states…but when in Spain I guess.

And a glass of locally made vino tinto from Bierzo is totally worth it. Even if I wouldn’t even be awake in the U.S. If I wasn’t on this godforsaken walk. 

We got to Villa Franca relatively late. 

And there was a place for 5 euros and it looked like a pretty hippie place but Billy was like “there was bed bugs here last year” but we were kind of like “ah nah billy. It looks cool. 

So we pay for the beds and we go up and put our stuff down and find

Giant ass grown bed bugs!

Like big ones all over the beds. And so we ran terrified and had to embarrassingly get all our money back and then find beds at the municipal. Which was nice and we really should’ve gone there first. 

We started work on a fake compostella for Erin because she wasn’t gonna make it to Santiago. 

And after went to find the boys who had gone to a bar and I found Billy had been adopted by some American family from Illinois but eventually he decided we were better company. 

But then it started raining!

 
We were so excited! 

And this time it was pouring and so we had to run as quick as possible into a restaurant. And we were all shelling out for a nice meal because it was Erin’s last night with us. 

And we presented her with our homemade compostella which I did the letter work on. 


And Mark bought a bottle of champagne and we all celebrated! Or maybe pretended not to think about the impending separation. 

Erin decided not to walk the next morning.

We were going into a more remote part of the countryside and it didn’t make sense for her to walk even further from bus stations. So we had to say a tearful goodbye to Erin in the morning. 
 

And then we ventured into Galicia! 

Foncebadon-Ponferadda

 So we got a relatively late start getting out of Astorga but that worked in our favor because tommy got annoyed and bailed on our slow pace. 

We decided at the last stop to do the last 6k drunk again and this time Sean joined us. What a trooper. It’s cool to have another American to back up my ideas and to know about Greek life and stuff. 

And today we finished at the top of this lovely hill. And we were all pretty drunk. 

  
And the town looked more like a collection of decrepit stone structures than actual buildings. And the word town is really being pretty generous because there were like 3 albergues and one medieval bar where we all went for dinner. 

And we got like these massive hamburgers. Sean and I ate them without cutting them up like proper Americans! 

   
And this is the way billy has to get around now because his feet are still very bad. 

In order to properly digest our hamburgers we brought Minnie out and had a singalong on top of the mountain. Sean, Camille, and I were the most involved in it. We got quite an excited audience by the end of our night. And then as we were going home we got roped in by some Spaniards who wanted to to play music and they had drums so then I got to reprise all the new songs I had just learned. And we all sang Beatles songs because music is universal! 

 And the next day was maybe the best of the trip!

In terms of scenery. And also because we were going to Ponferadda and my friend Annie had lived there for a year when she was in high school and so she had been telling me all the shit to do so I was pretty excited. 

The walk got so much better. 

   
So we started out over the mountain.  And then just as it was getting later in the morning we came around the mountain and the Fog went away and you could look out over all the mountains and it was so incredible.  

  

But I ended up getting like a kilometer ahead of billy with the rest of the group cause he strugs going downhill. I struggle going downhill. Cause all my toes get so smooshed in my shoes. 

But we made it to ponferadda! (This one is for you Annie!)

  
This city is like nestled in between a bunch of mountains and it’s very precious.

And we get to the albergue and billy had forgotten his pilgrim credentials! I swear to god that boy would lose his own head of it wasn’t attached to his body! But I couldn’t give him too much shit for it because he was already really pissed at himself. And it made him grumpy for a while. But hey gave him a new one at the albergue. He just lost his stamps which does kind of suck cause they were his proof that he walked the whole way. But he finally cheered up enough to be ready to leave. And then we adventured out into the city.  

And there is a castle!!

 
And I’m pretty sure this was my first official castle I have ever seen. I’m pretty sure. Like I’ve seen a palace but this was like a proper castle like from Monty Python or a Lego set!  

I got to walk around and climb up a freaking tower! I felt like I was on a movie set. Billy was like unimpressed because England is like overcrowded with castles and they dot really give any shits about it any more! Pity. 

And the rest of the night was spent the way it usually is with a meal made by Quentin and some ukelele and more vino tinto and just a jolly good time. Quentin told us about how he got involved in an international jewel smuggling ring. And I sent all my pictures to Annie so she could see how much fun I was having in her city. 

Cheers for this night!