Friday 2 August 2013

Trip Report: Way to Santiago de Compostela

As a follow up in the thread about "the encounters of the destiny" I would like to post on CV the Marco's trip on the way to Santiago de Compostela
I met Marco while riding together in the Susa Valley in one of the meet up wanted by the fortune. In this post Marco describes his trip between the end of May and the beginning of June 2013 together with the friends of him Giorgio1, Giorgio2 and Ezio.

By Marco Mazzola

Day 1: Friday May the 24th
Departure from Turin

A group of friends, myself (Marco), Giorgio1, Ezio, Giorgio2 flew from Torino to Pamplona. Our bikes were sent one week before via courier service directly to Saint Jean Pied de Port.

Day 2: Saturday May the 25th
The Preparation: Pamplona - Saint Jean Pied de Port (in auto)

We spent the morning visiting Pamplona, around 12 o'clock  we took a taxi to Saint Jean Pied de Port to pick up our bikes.

Once arrived in Saint Jean Pied de Port we spent the afternoon to reassembly the bikes and testing that everything was OK. We stayed in a very nice place called Maison Ziberoa.

In the same day of Saturday we went to Saint Jean Pied de Port down-town in order to put the first "Sello" on our Certification (that we got in advance n Turin).

Day 3: Sunday May the 26th
1st Stage: Saint Jean Pied de Port - Pamplona (75 Km)

Sunday the 26th at 8.00 o'clock we started our journey in a very dense fog.
After some kilometers the fog started to disappear leaving the sky to be replaced by a clear sunny day.
The first sunshine made appear less tough the ramps (20%) we rode in the first 10 Km of uphill, we decided to get the highest way.
Late in the afternoon after 75 Km we arrived again to Pamplona.

Day 4: Monday May the 27th
2nd Stage: Pamplona - Los Arcos

On Monday the 27th we woke up with the rain, we decided to wear the winter clothes (the temperature was around 7 degrees).
Our target of the day was Los Arcos, it is a pity that from the "Perdon" peak we couldn't see anything due to clouds surrounding the hill.

Nothing missing in this journey even the wine fountain. It is true, a short break in Irache, where it is possible to fill the bottle up of wine, free of charge, but of course, without exaggerating.
Day 5: Tuesday May the 28th
3rd Stage: Los Arcos - Najera

Tuesday the 28th we departed destination Najera, unfortunately again under the rain and very low temperatures. Along the way we had a break in Logrogno for visiting the Cathedral.

Day 6: Wednesday May the 29th
4th Stage: Najera - Belorado (60 Km)

Wednesday again rain, cold and mud. The stage was 60 Km long, the shortest of the entire trip, despite it was short it was really tough for the weather condition. At the end of this stage we arrived at Belorado.

Day 7: Thursday May the 30th
5th Stage: Belorado - Hontanas

Thursday the 30th, with our happiness, we could see again the sun. Even if in the morning the temperature was around 10 degrees (the altitude, 800 meters, has to be considered). The today stage foreseen the arrival a Hontanas with a stop in Burgo for visiting the Cathedral which was declared "Heritage of Mankind" by the UNESCO on 31 October, 1984.

Day 8: Friday May the 31st
6th Stage: Hontanas - Sahagun

We arrived at Sahagun it is geographically "the camino" middle way , but not in terms of distance.

Day 9: Saturday June the 1st
7th Stage: Sahagun - Hospital de Órbigo (104 Km)

On Satrurda was one of the longest stages, 104 Km, but really flat and no uphills. We stopped in Leon and visiting its Cathedral. Once arrived in Hospital de Orbigo it was really positive to discover that was ongoing a meddle age commemoration, especially ... plenty of rib and sausages at will.

Day 10: Sunday June the 2nd
8th Stage: Hospital de Órbigo - Villafranca del Bierzo

On Sunday the landscape is changing, after 2 days of flat.

We climbed at the Cruz de Ferro where we left "our stones". (Editor's Note: Pilgrims leave a stone from their hometown at the foot of the cross)
Afterwards downhill up to Villafranca del Bierzo where we had dinner with a wonderful Pulpo... fantastic!!

Day 11: Monday June the 3rd
10th Stage: Villafranca del Bierzo - Sarria

On Monday we started again the uphill towards El Cebrero located at 1300 meters of altitude and afterwards a long downhill. A break in Samos for visiting the its Monastery. We arrived in Sarria where we had dinner in a Pizzeria with Italian owners, even if in Spain the food is really good, a good pizza is always a good pizza!

Day 11: Tuesday June the 4th
11th Stage: Sarria - Melide

On tuesday we rode the 11th stage from Sarria to Melide, fortunately the Camino way is abundantly in the shade of centuries-old trees and it is possible to avoid the hot that in the afternoon is quite strong and makes riding much more tough.

Day 12: Wednesday June the 5th
12th Stage: Melide - Santiago De compostela

On Wednesday, the last stage, with subsequent long uphills and downhills always enjoying beautiful landscapes. Finally we reached Santiago De Compostela and we stopped in Monte do Gozo for ritual pictures. We are happy and at the same time sad because we are aware that our adventure on Santiago Way is almost at the end.
We went to the  oficina del pellegrino (pilgrim office) for our Compostela delivery upon showing all our credentials, with all "Sello" in our certificate.

Day 13: Thursday June the 6th
Visiting Santiago de Compostela

On thursday morning we visited the city and of course the Cathedral where we assisted the pilgrim  mass. 

Fortunately we could see using during the ceremony the Botafumero, utilized exclusively in the solemn ceremonies. The Botafumero swings in the middle of the church and it is pulled by means of a cable by 7 people and it makes the ceremony much more fascinating and mystic.

Day 14: Friday June the 7th
Finisterre and back to Turin

On friday we got a rental car and we went for the ritual visiting of the Camino Km 0. In the afternoon we went to the airport to catch the flight to Turin... the bike were sent back by a local courier called Envialia. It is also possible togo in a bike shop close to the "Porta del Camino" where it is just enough leave the bike and the destination address and they organize everything.

Route (from caminosantiago)

Route with stages (from google maps)

If you are interested to ride the Camino or just to have more information directly from Marco about the trip can write to cuboviaggiatore.

Camino de Santiago Forum

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