Camino de Santiago: The Extraction

8 05 2018

What’s there to say about the arduous journey home? The cab from Suzy’s flat was waiting as promised at 7am and the driver was super nice, he said “Your Camino is now over!”, in Spanish of course, made me choke up a bit but I held it together.

The Santiago airport was lovely, super new and clean and I enjoyed a last breakfast, jamon Iberico mini bocadillo, coffee and a fresh orange juice for the airport price of 7,50 Euros. Ryan air allows small bags, but mine was way too big it they gate checked it to Barcelona for free so that was fine.

In Barcelona it took a long time to get out bags sadly, and then a LONG bus transfer to terminal 1, be sure to leave enough time for all that. Then ironically once I was there Level by Iberia wasn’t even open yet, and I could not check in online or on their computers. Iberia customer service was no help either. And so much for my little thought about zipping into Barcelona for lunch, not a possibility.

Once officially checked in I opted to go straight through security, and then passport control despite seeing a confusing sign that said the shopping was on the lower level before passport control. I figured I didn’t need a lot of shopping… but sadly once through security found the options to be VERY limited. As in only a cafeteria that had a bar that they weren’t serving from and McDonald’s. my ride re-entry to civilization magnified! Not only that but the line was crazy they didn’t have the food advertised and they also ran out of tap beer. I repeat RAN OUT OF BEER.

I had one beer and munched on the remaining snacks in my pack knowing that I could not bring them back into the United States. I bid adieu to my favorite cocktail mix and the truffle and mushroom rice cakes I’d been schlepping for a few weeks (thanks to Rice Kake Mary, who we really miss). I ate some meat sticks and this was my lunch for the long wait for the plane. Very anti-climactic.

The fight was tedious as were the movies… I started with I Tonya, a painful movie to watch I thought, continued on with Book of Life that I was sorry to see Coco had so many similarities to, but Coco just has my heart, sorry Guillermo Del Toro. And I dozed a bit during that one, and finally I had time for Three Billboatds, which I’ve wanted to see but isn’t exactly a fun and uplifting movie.

I knew I would not be able to catch a two hour bus to an hour long ferry and make it home so I opted to stay at the Midtown Hotel suggested by Hotels Tonite app which was fine. After so many days in hostels it was despite its “basic” rating luxurious to me.

The room was about the size of a sixteen person hostel room, and I had the luxury items that every pilgrim covets. Mind you you’d be surprised as to how much you value the following:

Unlimited towels!!!!

A bath mat!!!

A private bathroom with a tub!

Sheets!

Pillows with pillowcases!

Temperature control!

TV (which I didn’t turn on)

These simple comforts on the road really get you, I mean after weeks away from life they’re amazing, yet the sticker shock was also rough! $126 on Hotels Tonight.

I didn’t even bother to shower when I first got to the room as I figured I’d just fall asleep without dinner, but it was so close to the Prudential center I had a chance to get some snacks and wine from the star gourmet retail store and also hit the Eataly franchise. Eataly is a multi use venue with retail and a fish bar, a salumeria, and other concepts inside. If you like you can walk around with wine in a glass and browse. It’s pretty awesome. I wanted to get one of the market fish, they offer four or five fish in whatever preparation you like from what is fresh that day, but I felt a little sticker shock, remember I haven’t had to pay tax or TiP for five weeks!! This was crazy for me to adopt and similarly difficult for me to leave behind!

So I opted for a simple glass (actually two) of Frapatto and a pasta with Bottarga, shaved fish roe. Don’t get me wrong, I think their prices are in sync with the rest of Boston and NY and SF for sure. But the bill was a LOT. When you are used to paying 1 euro or less sometimes for wine $12 a glass seems excessive. And suddenly I also need to tip and pay tax on that as well. But it was so so satisfying and tasty. And the service impeccable.

Off to the comfy and spacious room that I wished I’d shared and to await the rest of my re-entry.

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One response

8 05 2018
robinemcd

Rebecca, thanks for continuing these posts even after getting to Santiago. You may not have the bandwidth during the busy summer, but I think you could turn these posts into a podcast just reading from the posts.

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