(On the right, Denis’ new favourite meal – Spanish blue cheese with caramelised onions on bread)
We have arrived in Santiago (St. James) de Compostela (Field of Stars). We have travelled about 3,500km to get here. I’m a bit tired… Well, that’s altogether from Greystones, today we did about 350km! But I am tired.
Before we left Oviedo we went to find San Miguel de Lillo. You remember the church on the poster in the hotel at the Picos? And Maria-Jose took the frame apart to discover where it was? So the tourist map wasn’t too clear and we got lost and had to ask someone. Remember all the difficulties associated with asking for directions in a language you’re not familiar with? So I was not too well disposed to be the one to ask this time. So Denis had to… he “asked” (well, showed the map) a lovely man and his wife walking along the footpath, they had no English but loads of compassion. They said (roughly translated, you understand) “It is too complicated. Wait here, we will get the car and you can follow us out to the road on your bike.” So we did. And it WAS complicated, but with their help we found the right road. We shook his hand, “adios”, and set off with big smiles again!
Disaster! San Miguel de Lillo was getting a face lift! It was covered in plastic and scaffolding and although I took pictures, it doesn’t look its best. Oh, well, at least we met the nice man and his wife.
(Denis jumped over the “keep out” plastic rope in order to be near the door for this picture. I did not. They say opposites attract.)
And it’s been our day for meeting lovely people. We stopped at a petrol station after an hour to fill the bike and have some cafe con leche. And the nicest petrol station man was there. He smiled when he saw us, even though he was busy getting a delivery of petrol from a big tanker at the same time. He filled our bike with petrol, all the time humming to himself. He popped in and out to the tanker while we sat alone drinking our coffee machine cafe beside the cash register, in his shop. At the end we had made a big mess on the table and I was attempting to say I’d clean it up and he said “No, no”, and shooed us off on our way, still smiling at us.
(View of Oviedo from the San Miguel de Lillo hill)
About four hours later we arrived at our home for tonight, a hotel near the old quarter of Santiago de Compostela. And were met at the door, (she came out to see us!) by a wonderful receptionist. She speaks perfect English and before Denis had put our passports back in his pocket, she was marking the map with the route to the cathedral and best restaurants, making sure to point out the ones that open on Sunday, she even marked the expensive restaurants so we could avoid them! She went on to tell us about the breakfast (long list of yummy stuff) that could be had for €5.35 and that she was sorry but we would have to book tonight if we wanted it. Of course we did! If we had designed the perfect welcome that would have been it!
(Brings back memories of the road on stilts near Nice, but fortunately this one wasn’t open yet)
(The light blue bit under the horizon and above the bridge is the sea – it was lovely as we passed, hard to see now…..)
So, please remember when someone asks you for directions, or when you see someone coming into your petrol station or hotel (or line of vision), you have in your possession the opportunity to make their day. Go on, do it!
From the field of stars at the end of the earth, I bid you a good day, Mairead.