|Friday, 6/28: In the morning, took the train from Santiago to A Coruña, the capital of Galicia on the north coast. Caught a city bus to a nice seaside paseo that took me to an old Roman lighthouse, La Torre de Hércules. Continued walking back toward town and strolled with my feet in the water along a busy city beach. The water is very blue and very cold, but the sun is warm and breeze is constant. Then, a walk across town to the port and to see some of the older landmarks such as the seawall, parts of which go back to the Romans, and a couple of churches. Also, the home of Emilia Pardo Bazán, a famous Galician author, and the pretty 19th-early 20th century buildings with glassed-in terraces that run along the boulevard beside the port, which is rather large and still busy with fishing and transport vessels.
Caught a train to Orense, in southern Galicia. This is another old city with Roman history. Got there late afternoon, and soon found out there were no cheap hostal rooms to be had: once again, I arrived just in time for annual fair days! Finally, after long hot walk across town and up stairs/hill, I finagled a bed at the pilgrim's albergue. I dropped my pack and headed out to see some sights and grab some supper.
It was packed in the old heart of town, but enjoyed seeing the thermal baths and more old churches as well as just watching people drifting through the booths and stalls with all sorts of treats and treasures. At long last, I found a café with something besides heavy meat/potato combos (my stomach still was feeling like a brick was in it), so I sat at a street-side table and scarfed down a delicious salad (well, except for the two unbelievably salty anchovies on top). Then, like all good pilgrims, I headed back to the albergue so I could meet the curfew. Had enough time to stop in at the former convent next door where I was blessed with a sunset stroll through probably the prettiest cloister I saw the whole trip. A truly delightful ending to a long, last day in Galicia.