April 22, 2018
This morning I said “good bye” to my Camino buddies and to Santiago de Compostela. Two of our group actually had to leave last night so those farewells were said earlier. Now I am on to the solo phase of my trip.
Michelle was kind enough to walk me to the train station and as is my nature, I got there plenty early to ensure navigation and success. Because honestly, I only kind of know what I’m doing and not being able to speak Spanish is a fair hindrance. I got there so early in fact, that a 9:15 train going to my destination was getting ready to depart. I went back and forth in my head about waiting for my 12:10 train, but finally decided to board, hoping that it was not full and taking the chance that I would choose an unsold seat.
We set out down the track and all seemed well – until the conductor collected our tickets. He was not very happy with me. He circled the time on my ticket and kept pointing to his watch and I kept shrugging my shoulders. He walked away and then came back and we went through the same pantomime a couple of more times until finally he huffed off for good. Phew!! I mean, if he put me off the train I’m pretty sure I could walk – but I truly did not want to!!
So I arrived in the seaport town of A Caruña (which I realized during my taxi ride is actually a semi large city) before 10:30 and got dropped at the plaza my Airbnb is near. Deserted – except for pigeons and a couple of people out walking their dogs. I wandered a bit and found that I was only two blocks from the waterfront. Lots more people out running and walking so that made me feel a little more secure. But it was chilly and foggy and I wanted to reach out to my Airbnb host to see if I could check in early and I needed internet to do that. Why I went through that route for only one night instead of a hotel, I don’t know.
I decided to stay in A Coruña a night since my flight to Lisbon leaves from here tomorrow, it sounded like a lovely harbor town and I’m all about seeing new places. But shoot – I didn’t realize when I made my plans that I would be here on a Sunday and how few places are open. I sure don’t remember that from last year…
I finally found an open coffee shop with internet, had a coffee con leche, tried to contact my Airbnb host with no luck and marveled at the Rock n Roll Marathon Madrid runners on television finishing in two hours and ten minutes!!!!! After about an hour, I dug my raincoat out of my backpack and decided to just go ahead and go walk around with my pack on my back, as per usual – but unfortunately I also have another bag now in which I have a few other nice clothing items that I mailed forward to Santiago at the beginning. Oh well…
Maybe half the town is closed, but the other half is out walking, jogging, bike riding, skating, rock climbing, and hanging out along the marina!! Lots of families and large groups, too. It was foggy and a bit cold but eventually I warmed up and had to repack my coat. Is this too much minutia? Probably!!
Once I got back to my coffee shop and internet I found that I could check in at 2:15 – instead of 5:00!!! I was of course thrilled!! I still had an hour to kill so I had some Padroń peppers and Galago Caldo soup – two of my Spanish food item favorites!
Oh my place is SO COOL!!! And it’s in a Great Location! And I have it all to myself!!!! Alas, I resisted the urge to just hang – because I only have today to explore this (what I thought was a small) city!!
So I set off again – sans backpack (yay!!). The vibe was lively, there were increasing numbers of places open, lots of churches, and countless kids kicking the soccer ball and roller skating. Suddenly I was AT THE BEACH!!! I had no idea!!! Not only that, but after walking about 90 minutes, I realized that I was lost. Where was the marina? I didn’t recognize any landmarks on the horizon. Damn!! I did, however, accidentally run into the Hercules lighthouse which was on my “must see” list!! The Roman Tower of Hercules is a lighthouse which has been in continuous operation since possibly the second century, A.D. UNESCO has declared it a World Heritage site.
Ultimately I decided to turn around and retrace my steps – which I was not super optimistic about – so many twisty, interconnecting streets with unpronounceable names that I could not retain. Well, I am here to report that I did it!!! Brave, Me? No!! I’m at a minimum nervous often. Even scared and very anxious quite frequently when I am traveling – especially with “the details”. I try to follow the advise I often gave my kiddos on test days – settle down, you know what you know, relax, let it bubble up to the surface… I have to talk myself into breathing deep -and focusing on that one foot in front of the other thing. And you know what? When I get to the other side I feel that much more empowered (not to mention relieved) – all serving to support me the next time that “I Am Brave!”
I rewarded myself with grilled razor clams near my place – and a couple of gin y tonics just around the corner of where I will rest my weary head. While I enjoyed my nightcap (Jeeze I’m getting old – it’s 7:30!!!!!) I listened to some Super Bueno Música (American) from the 80’s – my twenties!!! And ate sugary candies. Oh – and the sun came out!!!! La vida es buena (life is good)!!!