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Thursday, 19 July 2018

El Camino (Levante) Just beyond Venda do Capela (16.2km) to Portocamba Sunday 15th April, 2018

Despite the original plan to do 16.2km this ended up around 14km as I again did extra the previous day.  I still need in Porta Camba as originally planned.  Although not pouring with rain, this was possibly the wettest day since Font de la Figuera back on the first part of the Camino Levante as I headed NW from Canals.  As usual with all the correct gear on I wasn't cold and felt warm and dry within my jacket and waterproof trousers.  I felt quite exhilarated to be on my way.

Misty, cold and wet start to the day - but it was GREAT!
Soon from out of the mist rose a Casa Rural which caters for pilgrims and which had a lovely little seating area with a water fountain and scallop shell on it.  I was amazed that anyone would know about it in order to stay here - I wish more of these were advertised in the guide books or on the websites.  This was a great place and if there had been a number or contact information outside I would have photographed it to put here.

One of the very few times I have ever
used my backpack cover on the Camino
Despite the mist and therefore the lack of views, it was still an amazing day.  There have been very few occasions when I have never heard a single man made sound.  In fact, this might be the only day!  It was truly only filled with the sound of nature, a few birds, one of which was the cuckoo resonating out of the mist and the drip and tap of the raindrops.  Every now and again I would stop to listen - not even a plane cut through the earth's natural rhythms to spoil this moment.  I truly understood the phrase that the silence was deafening - in fact it felt thick and heavy, not oppressive but more like a blanket of quiet... then, from out of the mist this time, a skylark, somehow finding its way, rising and soaring invisibly above me with its climbing song and one of my favourite summer sounds.

The smiling face in the track!  Thank you to the peregrino
who made it
The route seemed long today and I was grateful for a coffee break and the chance to much on some tangerine and "muy crujente" sweet and salty nuts and corn kernels.  Yum I love those things!  Mercadona will be getting another visit next time and if they are still made, I will be bringing a suitcase load back with me!  They are also the perfect thing to sustain the hiker!

One of the usual helpful arrows
that pilgrims construct when there
may be an ambiguity in the direction
to take
There was a lot of up today, quite hard going as the roads were gravelly and uneven.  The climb seemed to go on forever and it was hot wearing all the waterproofs.  As I plodded, head down and focused, below me there seemed to appear a face... surely not... was it???  Yes, indeed it was! Some wonderful and humorous pilgrim had decided to build a smiley face on the track to uplift others - and perfect because in the weather and with the climb I had had my head down.   As I stepped back I realised that the face was actually a head on a long "stick figure" body made out of the shale.  It cheered me up no end and I was very grateful to whoever had had the time and inclination to make it.  It worked!  Uplifted, I headed onward and literally upwards with renewed vigour.

Direction marker and in the background the scallop shell
with the "yes!" written on it
The route twisted and turned and I was for a while disoriented and expected to turn back toward the reservoir, but in fact it curved around us and although I felt like I was walking straight on, as I nearest he the top (another Alto) I saw the next high speed train construction site stretching below me and realised that the reservoir was curled around us - but out of sight due to the cloud.

I love this - I like to romantically think someone accepted
a proposal or came to decision about one at this point on their
camino and posted a photo back to their loved one
As we had driven to the starting point we had passed a couple of peregrinos leaving A Gudiña and joked that they would have to go some to catch me up as I was starting quite a bit ahead of them.  However, as I started my decent to Campo Berceros, they came steaming past me, practically scree running down the slippery and loose shared slope!  A quick "buenos dias and burn camino" and they were gone!  One came past before the other, but I later saw them hiking together companionably after a drink and collection of a sello in a bar in the town.

I also collected my sello from the lady there but got the third degree as to where I had started and why was it 4 years since my last time!  Not such a friendly or pleasant experience but it was a good cafe con leche - coffee and caña 1.20 Euro.  I couldn't find Michael and thought he would be in this bar as he had mentioned one that was open.  I didn't expect to see another but as I left, there he was and at another open bar with a friendlier lady who also promised a sello.  Sadly I had missed her and although I waited to accept a drink because I felt sorry he had promised her we would visit, she never reappeared so I headed on my way again.

The railway construction that follows the pilgrim all the
way and often interrupts or interferes with the route
or possibly in this case, the accommodation!
The steep scree decent - this does give quite a
good impression of the gradient!  

At this point it should be noted that there IS and albergue here!  Not mentioned in the guide book or any of the places I looked but of course it may have been set up since the guide's publication.  There aren't any newer editions as this point (writing this in July 2018) as I checked.

When I looked for it specially I found the info (below) but also a pilgrim who said that the locals told him it was closed for peregrinos because the AVE (high speed rail team) had hired it exclusively.  He was not happy because he said it was then 36km to Laza, and I agree, it's a hike too far and through hilly terrain.

The info on the Camino sites say it is open all year 11.00 to 22.00 and exclusively for pilgrims at 8.00 Euros per night.  There seems to be another hostel in town too - Casa Nuñez at 30.00 Euros per night and with 4 rooms (  It is not far from the albergue and there is a map on this link.

+34 988 077 624
+34 608 887 835

For the Albergue...
Albergue Rosario - C. Cardenal Quiroga, 9
Localidad: Campobecerros

+34 650 53 05 47
+34 988 30 89 43
32626 Campobecerros, Province of Ourense, Spain

The following includes a review from November 2017, so it was still open then for pilgrims.  The reviews are good and suggest good food.

Cairn on the way down into
The other thing to be pleased about in Campbecerros, considering it seems like it may lack life, is that there are bars open and food available on a "Sunday" not always the case in Spain as we have found out a number of times in the past!  It is well worth stopping here before heading to Laza and I would suggest staying in Laza also before the big climb out of Soutelo Verde!

Opposite the cairn on entering
The decent on the loose shale into Campobecerros is hard work, especially with tired and very sore legs from the steep uphill sections.  My heels were so painful and each step was agony.  By the time I got to the bottom my legs were shaking with the effort, but as always it is so satisfying and that tiredness later when showered and in bed is wonderful - the sleep it brings is like no other!  There were sad looking mastins everywhere.  Many looked pregnant and miserable and I felt terrible at the bar as a sad dog desperately begging for food came close and as I removed my backpack the walking pole hit his head.  He cried out and gave me the most injured of looks.  I am sure he is often chased off and beaten, but I felt terrible and apologised but had nothing to give him.

The stream beds and drainage ditches
were overflowing with the melt
waters and recent rains

The gourd and shell markers indicating the way to go
through Campobecerros
On leaving the town there was a moped all decked out with flowers and a lady calling to a gazillion cats!  They seemed to come running from everywhere - it was actually rather unnerving and I assume there is no plague of rats in this town!  I called to her that she had many gatos and she laughed and waved cat food at me.
The many cats and the lady with the that brought out the
cat food!
The flower laden moped

Oh joy - on leaving Campbecerros there was another hugely steep hill to climb.  I was determined to get to Porto Camba today and go a bit beyond in order to shorten the next day's walk.  I was still quite early and really wanted to make it to the next point.

Portocamba itself is yet another ghost town, but with some amazing old houses and again some falling down yet with a pristine renovation between!  I would worry that they would bring down the renovation and we were warned about this sort of thing (although a rarity) in the UK when we looked at a house in similar condition but semi-detached.  No such worries here in Spain though.

As in Venda da Capela (I keep meaning to mention the weird way that both the Spanish and Portuguese languages seem to have combined to form Galician...) there were young people who have taken over some of these houses and made them very smart and they look very well off.  Maybe more affordable, maybe a family home... I don't know, but it is certainly quite a commute from here and in winter I would think well night impossible even with chains!  There are many "Venda" villages here - from "vents" or inn which suggests that many people used to pass this way in times gone by - sad then that now there are very few inns or rest stops and that the villages are almost completely deserted.

By the seat on the way out of Portocamba
Mentioning Venda do Capela reminds me of the "gags for the day" from yesterday... passing "A Capela" Michael's wit decided this was a village of people singing without musical instruments (actually quite clever... and our GPS lady as we go through Seixelbo call is "Sex Elbow"... this conjures up quite a bit of amusement as you can imagine and some mental acrobatics!  We swear she can hear us though - as on the way home, she decides to pronounce it correctly!  In fact, by the end of the holiday I think she gave up completely on the Sex Elbow!

One of the many abandoned
homes in Portocamba
One of the old door latches
Leaving the village was again all uphill!  I was really tired by now and very glad to see a fountain with cold and refreshing water.  I stopped to splash some over myself and rinse my hands.  It wasn't far now but it was taking every ounce of energy that I had.  I stopped to take many photos of the old route out of the village and included some of the old door latches, the now disused gas lamps, ancient steps and old doors.  I was very, very glad to see the tall cross marking the end of my day's route and which is mentioned in the guide book.  This is the cross that the friars of the monastery of Los Milagros gave in memory of deceased pilgrims and which is now surrounded by all sorts of stones and mementos left by pilgrims.
The refreshing fountain at the exit from Portocamba when
heading towards Laza

Old lamps no longer in use

There are some hand written directional signs which inform the pilgrim which way to go.  There is no bar in Eiras which is just under half way between the cross and Laza but there is the cutest little balconied building where there is an honesty box with a flask of hot water and tea/coffee etc for pilgrims to help themselves and take a small break.

The base of the cross
From the cross and down into Laza the way is all downhill and it leaves the legs shaking again.  It is also a route of pines and at this time of year it is important to beware of the processionary pine caterpillars which for the first time ever I witnessed processing in long and scary lines across the roads and down the trees!  I was VERY glad not to have the dogs with me on this occasion - they would have picked hairs up on their paws and this can spell disaster for dogs.

As we drove back down the hill and toward Laza and the hotel for the night we stopped to overlook the amazing rail works - it looks like there will be a huge viaduct across the valley above Laza and to an extent the scene is somewhat scarred at the moment.  It is impressive engineering and possibly won't effect the pilgrim route.  The infrastructure needed to service the works is amazing - drainage and access roads all have to be built in addition to the railway itself!  The markers we passed were all concrete - not temporary things - so this is a huge amount of work alone.  There are terraces hundreds of feet high and they must have had a plethora of theodolites... for some reason tis created hysterical laughter which I guess goes to show how tired I was!  Writing this it doesn't seem nearly as funny!

For those who wish to make a note of up coming accommodation - the following looks like a good deal at Xunqueira de Ambia - Casa Tomas.


Wednesday, 18 July 2018

El Camino (Levante) A Gudiña (12.0km) to A Venda de Teresa (just beyond) Saturday 14th April, 2018

Cross with the camino diversion
options behind
Having done a few extra km yesterday, the plan was to push on to do a few more today - around 14km, and thus reduce the 16.2km day originally planned for Sunday.  It was clear in A Gudiña but soon turned foggy on the ascent into the surrounding hills.  I love the art/sculptures on this part of the route - it's lovely to discover them on different stages.  It always feels a bit like a treasure hunt.

With my pilgrim stamp from the bar - the only food/drink/rest stop for
a few km!  Stock up before heading out.
We initially drove around the old part of the village courtesy of Google so I knew the route out!  Old cobbles and crosses and way markers were clear and when I walked back it was interesting to see that this is one of the points where there are options of which camino to take.   One by way of Verin and the other by way of Laza.  The Laza route is the official "Levante" choice.

It is important to keep an eye out on these routes for this reason.  It would be easy to accidentally take the wrong way or even miss the route all together if you skipping sections... as we noticed a few pilgrims do this time around.

Make sure you take the right route - depending on the Camino
of your choice!

I really love the way that the local people who live along the route go to so much trouble to decorate the signage or put out flowers or little Camino symbols.  Often there are shells or even planted up hiking boots, various arrows or pictures of St James.  I captured a few along the route this time and will include the photos on the relevant days.
Fog on the climb to Venda de Teresa

I stopped to put on my fluorescent
tabard as although the photograph
doesn't show it well, it was actually
quite misty here!  Some "muy crujente"
nuts were a welcome snack here too!
With tired, aching and stiff legs I entered Bar Peregrino in A Gudiña were a very nice man made up a bocadillo con jamon which we shared for lunch and issues my first sello of the trip.  From here on they will be harder to find as there are fewer ayuntamientos and bars!  There are some pilgrim hostels and some cute little bar/coffee stops, some with their special shell stamps and we were lucky enough to be able to keep up with the stamping.  The barman then pointed me in the right direction, warning that there are no more food stops for some time and to the point where the camino divides in two - one heading to Laza (the route I needed to take to stay true to the Levante) and the other to Verin, which I think is also a rider's route.

The climb is not hard on the road, but it does continue up a long way.  Due to it being tar the going is quite fast and I covered a lot of ground in a much shorter time frame.  As the fog cleared the views were spectacular over the Encore das Portas reservoir and on the maps the word "alto" appears frequently!  We know we are in for a lot of up and down over the next few days.  I thought that Cebreros was going to be the hardest part of the route, but Galicia is much more strenuous.  It is mostly made up of mountains, whereas the Cebreros crossing was really just a belt of mountains to cross.

Abandoned bus stop and pilgrim fountain at Venta da Copela
Track beyond Venta da Copela
Eventually we turn off the road and take a track to Venda de Teresa.  Wow, these really are forgotten villages with only a small handful of people.  There were a few younger ladies with children, but I feel for them and wonder how much longer places like this will survive.

Fascinated at the old dilapidated houses and then one, all
alone, perfectly renovated in the middle!  I'm astonished
that some of the modern generations still live here - but
maybe it is affordable, or a family home?
As usual there was the varied assortment of campo dogs, all wary eyed or barking out a warning that someone was on the road.  Some slept or turned one eye to watch me pass.  It was on this part of the walk that I met a very friendly Spanish lady, possibly she had never been much further than this village (the one beyond V de Teresa - Venta da Copela) who asked why I didn't have a walking stick.  I initially did not know the word and she patted at hers enthusiastically.  I laughed and showed her my modern telescopic walking pole hooked onto my backpack.  She in turn roared with laughter in return.  She was very pleased to know that I did at least have a stick!  One of moving things she said when she asked me if I walked with a companion and I replied that I walk alone was - that one is never alone on the Camino, nature and everyone we meet is part of our journey and all those who have gone before are with us... I assumed from this exchange and by her gestures that she basically meant "God is all around us".

One of the many campo dogs
The sun came out to greet me as I neared the "Alto" and I was fascinated at how every now and again, amidst the dilapidated houses, one would be totally renovated with modern windows, pristine walls and doors and a new car outside.  I'm amazed that modern generations still choose to live here... there is nothing here, but maybe they are family homes, or it is cheap and the commute not to tedious, although having done a commute from the top of a mountain to a town regularly from one of our homes in South Africa, I know I would get fed up with it after some time!

Linéa Velocidad just below Venta da Copela
Where I met up with Michael the new Linéa Velocidad workings stretched below.  The engineering never ceases to fascinate me.  It isn't effecting the Camino here yet, and may not... it will depend where the route goes.  For now, they are building the main tunnels, bridges and "complicated" parts, I hadn't realised they did it that way... it then appears they will join it all together, linking them together with the rail tracks.  At some point it will mean that someone could walk the various sections of the camino as I did in the beginning from Valencia to Canals - taking the train out to different points and walking back or walking out and taking the train back.  The line will join Madrid - Zamora - Puebla de Sanabria - Lubían - Ourense and on into Galicia.  I could have done the whole of the Zamora to Ourense section by train, had it been open.

We drove back to A Gudiña where Michael had found good coffee and tapas to end the day with an ice cold beer - Estrella, perfect Spanish style.  I wasn't keen on the tuna empanada but welcomed the sit down.  My legs and body were aching and tired, still trying to recover from the late night and lack of sleep on the first day followed by being thrown in at the deep end climbing mountains, quite a shock after living in Norfolk for two years!  Despite stretching, muscles seize up really fast!  Between getting in the car and arriving at the bar - maybe 15 minutes, I could hardly get out of it let alone walk down the 3 steps to the door!  I must have looked about 306!  I certainly felt it in that moment.  However, once moving it's not so bad, but I always dread the getting up and getting going again.  That is until around day 4 when everything becomes easy and flowing again and one walks through the barrier and gets into walking mode.  By day 10 I always feel like I could walk forever - always just in time to come home!

Friday, 15 June 2018

El Camino (Levante) La Canda to Alto do Canizo just before the footbridge in A Gudiña (12.3km) Friday 13th April, 2018

And I'm Back!!  Four years on, but starting from where I left off.  Yay!!

Well it all got off to a bit of a hair raising start!  All seemed to be going well on the Thursday we were flying out to Spain, arriving in good time, checking the car into the off airport parking and getting the bus into Heathrow.  Check in was interesting, none of the machines were working and the Aussies behind us thought it was just them, but we ended up having a bit of a laugh with them when the machines rejected UK citizens as well.

It has been some time since I went through Heathrow.  On returning to the UK we drove through via the EuroTunnel and of course, we had flown from RSA to Spain before that and had been resident in Spain for three years.  My last visit into London had probably been around 2005!  Finding that everything is automated, including having to check and tag our own bags was quite something.  Should I ask myself if I am carrying any forbidden substances or if I have left my bags unattended at any time?  Customs was similar, nobody really present and everything left to machines.  I'm guessing this is to improve security but overall it felt much more exposed and much less secure.  Anyway, all went well until we got on the plane and discovered that Heathrow baggage handling had gone to hell in a hand basket.... what DOES that mean?!  Well in our case, it meant over an hour delay.  With our connecting flight only 45 minutes after landing, there was little chance of us making it.  We lived in hope and on arrival sprinted to the gate - we were out of luck.  The plane had left 2 minutes before we got there.  Fortunately, due to our sprint, we were only third in the queue for Customer Help.
My first shells and arrows this trip

The lady at the desk was not willing to phone ahead to our hotel or car hire - hmmm, I kind of understand but considering how hard it is to change things quickly over the phone in a different language and that it wasn't our problem that the service had turned to s*@t, I wasn't that impressed.  We were allowed to use their phone to make any changes, which we did after trying all sorts of alternatives which included:

  • Fly to Barcelona and then back to A Coruña (ended up fully booked)
  • Fly to Santiago and then bus to A Coruña - arriving midnight and proceed to sort everything out (reaching our hotel maybe 04.00)
  • Fly to A Conuña the next day - which in effect would mean two days out of the Camino

None of the above were options that would work for us.  It seemed to me that the best option was to see if our car hire company would allow us to pick up in Madrid and drop off in A Coruña and then drive 5 hours to Ourense that night.  The lady on the desk could not understand at first because if our car was due to be collected in A Coruña, she assumed that is where we were staying... she didn't really get that flying to Santiago, then taking a bus another hour further north in order to collect a car to drive back 2 hours south made no sense!  The whole of that trip would take possibly another 11 hours to get to Ourense - collecting a car in Madrid and driving straight to Ourense would only be around 7 hours (including the pick up time, going to refunds for the flight and car hire costs, the drive itself and breaks).  After much to-ing and fro-ing, that is finally what we did.

We played merry-go-rounds with the baggage and some Americans also trying to reclaim late bags, collected the car and paid the extra for the different collection/drop off option, headed to refunds to put in a claim for the flight inconvenience and the additional hire costs, collected money from the ATM (ah Euros at last), had my first cortado of the trip (yum) and hit the roads out of Madrid.

Meltwaters were running fast and high and there was
still snow on the mountains in many places.  
We decided on the scenic route - although much of it ended up being in the dark and were actually delighted we did this as it followed much of the camino we had covered since Toledo.  It was lovely to relive the route, the names of the places we had passed through and revisit memories from past trips.  We had a couple of breaks, picked up some nibbles for the walk that was going to come all to early the next day and some cinnamon artisanal bread.  We finally arrived at the Hotel Eurostars Auriense at around midnight, checked in with a lovely and friendly lady on the front desk who also had fabulous English (not that we wanted her to have to speak to us in English - she just deserves the compliment) and headed to bed.  After unpacking and getting everything set up for the early start (actually later that morning) we eventually got to bed at 02.00 - the alarm was due to go off at 06.30!

Ughhhh!  Four and a half hours of sleep and an hour's drive through mountains to the start point.  Then a 12.3km walk!  What was I thinking!  I have to say that I have never been so tired on the camino.  It was HARD!  By the end I hardly knew how to put one foot in front of the other.  I felt exhausted.  Walking on so little sleep is really tough and I had no idea that it was going to effect me that way.  It was a fabulous first day, but I seriously wouldn't recommend it and I wouldn't do it again!  The plan for next time is to build in an extra day in front of the first walking day in order to rest up and prepare but also for it to provide a buffer just in case anything like our previous day's delays should happen again.  

 When we arrived just above La Canda it was really quite chilly and the breeze from the still snow capped mountains meant I was glad of my snood, hat, gloves and jacket!  In fact, the snowmelt must have been recent - the rivers and streams were running very high and fast and many of the paths over the week were flooded or very wet and muddy.  If I had attempted to walk a few weeks before, the chances are some of the passes may have been impassible, or the floods so high I couldn't have got through.  I could now see why in the guide book there are places where it offers alternative routes for when it has been very wet or it suggests care is taken due to slippery rocks!  The little stone bridge mentioned in the guidebook was so much further on than I had expected, but the walk was quiet and superb and as so often on this camino, quiet and devoid of pilgrims.  Sadly, those coming out of Lubían were walking along the road and many had missed the beautiful walk I had done on my last trip and the route that would bring them out at the starting point which I had left from on that first morning.  They missed some stunning scenery and woodland paths and were going to go from unnecessary road walking to more (but necessary because it is actually the camino) road walking the next day.

The most tiring part was hopping from one side to the other trying to avoid mud and puddles, rushing meltwater and flooding.  I often had to hug the bank or climb onto a wall to keep my feet dry.  There were some parts where the floods were deep and long, covering a large proportion of the path.  One of these I was able to avoid by clambering over a wall and into a field next to the path, but I had to do a bit of a leap in order to land on dry ground and get back on the path.  Despite all this, I only got one very muddy foot when I thought I was on a firm spot and then sank fast!  I had been admiring the sound of the cuckoo, the birdsong and babbling brooks - but

this was soon followed up by the cry of "Oh Bugger" when I almost lost my shoe.
Markers were like friends
upon the way, many artist
sculptures of St James
As shown in the photos, there were several fords, granite lines and bridges to help the pilgrim continue on their way.  I only met three other pilgrims on the country route today and so as so often on the Levante, I had the whole Camino to myself.  The forest I passed through had amazing lichens.  The day turned hotter and it was very, very tiring on the uphill stretches, of which there were more than just a few!  Not only do I now live in Norfolk, a county close to sea level and not known for its hills, but I was completely drained after the journey the day before and lack of sleep.  We have decided for sure to book an extra day next time, just as a buffer or recovery day!
This area has a lot of water and snow
melt, there are granite slabs laid to
make a pathway raised above
some muddy parts.

 The way was very well marked and clear including some to guide us around fords without foot crossings.  I was very grateful for meeting Michael (initially with the cortado that I have so missed since being in England) and then at midday, hearing he had located a good bar for lunch - Don Pepe Bar.  The menu del día was paella - declicious (!) although I'm not sure what the Valencian's would say as it was sea food!  I'm sure this is because we are in Galicia, the capital of Spanish sea food, but even so - considering the Spanish claim that seafood paella is an "English corruption"!  This one had mucho sabor and was only 5 Euros!

I love the drinking fountains along the way,
and they all seem to work!
The village seemed like many here, one of an ageing population where all the young people have deserted it, a bit like in the Middle Ages when the Black Death created many a deserted village.  In fact in O Pereiro there were amazing houses with iron balconies and what looked like plague crosses on the door... surely not!  We thought the bar must be struggling, but at 13.30 the place came alive and was bursting to the seams!  Construction workers and famers from all around arrived out of thin air!  The place was buzzing and the atmosphere hearty and convivial.  We were so pleased and welcomed the caña, ice cold, that came with lunch - it was just what we needed!

Up, up and more up - over what looked like Spanish "Tarr"
steps.  My legs were like jelly and I hardly knew how
to put one foot in front of the other.
The walk after lunch was tough and exhausting.  The lack of sleep and journey really took its toll and I only once before had I felt like this and wondered if I could make it.  I was stopping every few metres and often sitting and resting to regain energy.  It was such a relief to see Michael coming towards me to spur me on for the last kilometre or so into A Gudiña and my 1000km landmark, lying on a bench and eating some of the "pan con canela" artisan bread we had bought the day before.  Perfect.  I was very glad to be on my way back to the hotel (via Mercadona - gosh I have missed Spanish shopping) and a good night's sleep!

Photos from the day...

Love these washing areas.  Pretty much every village has one and many are still used!

Now the routes have joined together, the
Via de la Plata route is the one named
on the signs

Morning coffee break - wow I miss Spanish Cortado!
Equestrian diversion
The Via de la Plata route is now the main one signed, but I have to read the Levante guide book because sometimes it chooses a different route - the Mozarabe for example, or even a slightly different path, sometimes only for a few metres.  There are also equestrian diversions frequently mentioned on this part of the route as riders head through Galicia on the last part of the Camino.  It is apparently wise to get an official guide to take you and sometimes the cities must be notified in advance if you are going to ride through them.  This applies for sure when entering Santiago.

Really, really exhausted today after only a few hours sleep and a lot of travel the day before but also an amazing feeling
to have now reached my 1000km mark!  Pretty much right where this bench is located too!