Gatwick to Sarria
We were ready to transfer to the airport at 04:30; it was a cold, fresh morning and still dark. Our minibus arrived and we were soon loaded up and on our way with other people squeezed into the vehicle.
At the departure terminal we booked in and went through the security checks, only to have my shower gel and sun cream confiscated as I had too much and Derek had his favourite Swiss army pen knife of 20 plus years taken away.
Soon we boarded the flight and were on our way. Nearly two hours later
The Pilgrim Brothers / Los Peregrinos Hermanos landed in Spain.
The weather was overcast, misty and with some light rain. As we stepped outside the airport to find the bus to take us to Lugo, we made our first contact with fellow pilgrims. As we chatted, we were introduced to David, Danny & Sami, all independent travellers. David was from Gloucester, Danny from Brighton and Sami from London. After a forty minutes wait the bus finally arrived and as we wanted to be sure it was the right one people started to talk to the driver who, unfortunately, didn’t speak English. Then to our relief, Sami stepped forward and spoke to the driver in Spanish.
She told us it was the right bus and bags/cases needed to be put in the luggage compartment. Once on board we were soon on our way. As we drove through some of the local towns we could see pilgrims walking towards Santiago. It was also a good opportunity to snatch a few minutes sleep.
We arrive in Lugo bus station where we had to change buses and find our next one. As we were checking the destination board, Sami came over and told us there were two buses – one which was slower, going to all the villages or the fast one which went through two towns to Sarria. The problem was the faster one was due to depart at 3:00pm, so we would have to wait around for one and a half hours.
As we decided to wait, we left our cases in the left luggage store and explored Lugo;
after walking around the town it was time for lunch.
Lugo was interesting; the sort of place we really needed to stay longer to learn a little more about the town. We only had time to visit one cathedral and walk part of the Roman wall before heading back to the bus station.
We met up again with Sami, David & Danny and boarded the bus for the final leg of today’s journey.
We arrived in Sarria and thanked Sami for her help with the language issues. As we removed our cases from the bus, we had a group photo
before going our separate ways to find our respective hotels.
Following directions from Macs Adventure travel guide and asking some of the locals where the hotel was (this was fun in itself), we were eventually shown to the path leading to the hotel by a very smart looking gentleman.
We booked in and received our travel documents from the local travel company, in partnership with Macs Adventure. This included a book of route directions, an information booklet of the local areas en route, a list of hotels and our essential individual pilgrim passports for the walk.
This passport had to be stamped at least twice a day to prove we had walked the distance of the Camino so as to receive our certificates at the end.
We arranged a time to meet up in the foyer after a shower, rest and change of clothes before looking for a restaurant for our evening meal.
I met Steve as arranged but he and Derek had already been out and found a restaurant nearby. As we stepped outside the hotel it was noticeable just how the temperature had dropped in the evening. We walked over a footbridge and about 100yards away was the restaurant where Derek was waiting and had reserved a table. To our surprise David and Danny were also eating there.
After a refreshing drink, a little tapas and
a chat with Danny & Dave about their meal, two other pilgrims came into the restaurant. It turned out they were from Norwich and were shortly followed by two more pilgrims who came from Vancouver.
Now it was time for us to dine. We sat down to look through the menu when we had an even bigger surprise. Sami arrived and joined us for dinner. During the meal we asked if she was walking the Camino by herself. She replied, she was meeting her aunt in Palas de Rei and would walk to Santiago with her.
The meal was filling and welcoming. What a splendid end to what was a very long day.