8 June 2015

Pilgrim's End!

A friend of mine believes that everything happens for a reason. She does not believe in coincidence. Well I wish I knew the reason for today's incidents in my life which almost made my heart stop with sorrow. But I jump the gun, let's begin at the beginning.

I had stayed last night (7 June) in the same Albergue as Lisa and I did on the way down in Negreira. There I arranged to have my rucksack taxied to my hotel in Santiago carrying only a small one with rations and water for the journey, and of course my bears.
Usually they sit in the rucksack with just their heads out. I was slow starting as my knee took awhile to warm up and allow me any sort of pace. As I had started at 0645hrs I was not too concerned as I had plenty of time to walk the 22 odd kilometres. I even took the opportunity to show Pat and Dan that I still do the superhero pose.
About two kilometres from where I started is a roundabout junction with a main trunk road and a large bridge over the Rio Tambre. As I reached it an Australian woman also walking back, overtook me and I remarked that I had not come over the bridge, so it felt wrong going over it now. She showed me the App on her phone and said that we had to go over the bridge and off she went. Well foolishly I followed her. On the other side was another roundabout where I tried to indicate to her that we should go left and follow the river, for I now realised where the Camino was. She either did not understand or didn't care for she continued to follow the main trunk road. Against my better judgement I did the same. By the time I came to the next roundabout, some 800 meters  later, she was gone from sight. I now turned off the trunk road and went more or less back the way I had come towards the river and then followed it till I found the Camino at the point Lisa and I had crossed the river days before. A place called Ponte Maceira, which had a lovely medieval bridge.
I continued on for another two kilometres till I found a bus stop to sit at and have a drink. I had now been walking a total of one and a half hours and had gone a little over six kilometres. 
This is now when my heart stopped beating for when I took my pack off I found that Hanna Bear was  missing!!!! I had clearly lost her along the way. I dare say most normal folk will say, "so what, you have another 60 odd bears at home. It's pointless worrying about it, it's only a small teddy bear." But I did worry. The thought did occur, maybe this is meant to happen. Hanna has gone, you are living without her and so you can also live without a stupid little teddy bear.
I did not hesitate or deliberate for too long though, I took a drink which is why I had stopped, made sure Jamie Bear was safely stuffed well into the pack and set off back the way I had come as fast as my poorly knee would let me. People stopped me on the way trying to tell me I was going the wrong way, but I just kept on walking now on the wrong side of the road scanning the gutter and verges for signs of the missing bear. And yes after going back at least three kilometres I did find her lying forlorn and alone in the gutter of the main trunk road.
I was now physically and emotionally drained. I went to the nearest bar which I had now passed twice and sat and had two strong black coffees and a croissant for my breakfast. I then decided that enough was enough and I waited till the bus came and took it in to Santiago.
I arrived early, but was shown to my room. I then decided to go visit the Post Office to see about sending my parcel. Did that and sat outside a bar and had a beer and generally unwound from today's adventure. My rucksack had not yet caught up with me. I was told to wait till 1 or 2 o'clock. Well the time passed and my rucksack still did not arrive. At 3 o'clock I got my hospitalero to call the Albergue in Negreira and yes my bag was still there, and they had done nothing about it either!!!!!! Enforced rest on the bed in my room, is doing the knee some good though. Eventually at around 4 o'clock my rucksack arrived and I could shower and change.
My small pension is in the heart of the city and my room has two small balconies where I have now hung my washing!
I have used the waiting time to find a hotel by the sea to rest in, and must admit to choosing it by price as much as any other reason. How to get there will be the other conundrum I have to solve. It is Hotel Tamanaco in O Grove, which is on the west coast near Pontevedra. I had wanted to go to Cambasdos, but the hotels there were just too expencive.
My pilgrimage is thus over and I shall just chill, as they say until it is time to fly to the UK.

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