Lago, Spain

October 6, 2022

Dear Family & Friends: 

Santiago de Compostela to Pena, October 5, 2022 (17.5 miles)

Today, was not my finest hour on the Camino de Santiago.

My steps were heavy as I left Santiago de Compostela because I missed Papa’s Pilgrims so much. As God presented one beautiful vista after the other, my steps lightened, my spirits boosted and I soon regained the rhythm, magic and movement of the Camino. The entire territory was rural and wild, with a lot of uphill and downhill. Two distinct features of the route were the absence of Pilgrims and the lack of services on the Camino. I walked 9 miles before I found a restaurant. 

I booked a room at Albergue Rectoral San Mamede de Pena (as you will see “de Pena” is significant), which was advertised as located in Negreira. Just before arriving at Negreira, it started to sprinkle. No problem, because I had reached my destination. When I entered the village, I followed the usual protocol, and located my Albergue on Google maps. The map said the walking distance to the Albergue was 15 minutes. This seemed far in a small village, but I trusted the information and started walking in the direction indicated by Google maps. Soon, the street sign indicated I was leaving Negreira. What I did not realize is the map was taking me to the main highway in the opposite direction of the Albergue.

Now, it started raining hard. Forty minutes later, my map said the walking distance to my Albergue is 1 hour and fifty minutes. That is when I realized I was lost. I had two choices: walk back to Negreira and regain my bearings or seek help. After thinking about this for two seconds, I started knocking on doors. Finally, a young Mom, in her pajamas, and her five-year old son appeared at the door. She didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak Spanish. Using my translator, I told her I am lost and asked if she could call a taxi. She tried to call a taxi service, but no one answered. Then, she asked me if I would like her to drive me to the Albergue. I gladly accepted. Bless her heart, she drove me to the Albergue, which was located in Pena, not Negreira. What I should have done is continue on the Camino from Negreira to Pena, but I thought the Albergue was in Negreira. Please offer your prayers of thanks to this young Mom and her family.

The Albergue was rustic, compared to the luxury hotel I stayed at in Santiago. I was assigned the top bunk in a dormitory bunkbed occupied by six Pilgrims. I took a shower in the communal shower with a motion-activated light. The light turned off in the middle of my shower and would not turn back on, so I finished the shower in the dark. We had a great dinner in the dining room with lentil soup and pasta. I made friends with a couple from Holland. I went to bed at 10 pm. In the middle of the night, my phone rang and woke everyone up. Two hours later, someone sent me a text, which activated a text alert in the sound of a roaring motorcycle engine (I own three motorcycles).I crawled down from the top bunk and turned off my phone. Borrowing from Groucho Marks, I would never stay in an Albergue that would accept me as a tenant.

Negreira to Lago, October 6, 2022 (15 miles)

Much better day! The morning started with cold, blustery winds, and I enjoyed watching the puffy, white clouds scuttering across the blue sky. I walked much of the day with Pilgrims from Portugal. Almost all of the trail was steep uphill, with no services. We finally dropped down into a village that had an Albergue and, more importantly, a restaurant. I ordered a beer and tried to figure out how much longer I had to walk to arrive at my next destination: Lago. That is when I realized I was in Lago at my Albergue! I love this Albergue. I have the bottom bunk in a room with nine bunkbeds.

Tomorrow, I walk to Cee, which is the first place the Camino arrives at the Atlantic coast. I have a room on the Crescent Beach. Tomorrow will be a long day.   

Santiago de Compostela to Pena

The Spires of the Cathedral

My Albergue in Pena

My top bunkbed

Communal dinner

My friends from Holland

Pena to Lago

My Portuguese friends