Day 29, Santiago to Negreira, Spain Oct. 8, 2008

12 miles, 850 ft. descent, 1,150 ascent in rolling countryside. 9 am to 1:30 pm

The first three hours are lightly foggy.
Leave Santiago on an ancient footpath through vineyards,
farms woods of holly and eucalyptus, which is fragrant.
The modern suburbs are dimly above and separate from the trail.
Scarecrow in a cornfield.
Black grapes in vineyards.

Stone walls and iron gates of Negreia, a medieval fortress.

The hostel is in an old stone farm house, with additional bunks in the stables, which are clean, but the doors are only gates. Fortunately, a French pilgrim got in early and saved me a bunk inside. There are not nearly enough beds in this village and later pilgrims must continue 6 miles farther. Some are sleeping on the floor of the stable, where it is cold.

I meet Pam, a young Canadian woman I met the first night in France at St. Jean-Pied Pont and we share our stories. Along the way, she has fallen in love with another Canadian, who lives only three hours away by plane. At dinner I meet the two other couples they are friends with, all whom met on the trail for the first time. Some are French, German and Italian. There is another Japanese woman with them. The Italian wants to know what I think of Obama, a question I am often asked on the pilgrimage.

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