Day 28 – Palas de Rei
The walk today, although not spectacular visually was pleasant. After yesterday’s never-ending walk, the 25 km we did today was refreshing. We even made it to the albergue before the rain started! Bonus!
The walk itself leads through a series of small hamlets and villages, some as little as one km apart. I started with Keith, but his pace was too much for me; did I mention he was a 59-year-old Scot? The man can move and he easily maintains about 6-6.5 km per hour. So, I fell back.
At one point I found a little roadside café just 10 meters beyond a left turn on the trail. I decided that food would be worth the extra few metres and I set myself down with a café and chorizo bocadillo. The bread was very fresh and I sat on the wet, grey patio to watch pilgrims make the left turn. Peter and Morag walked by and waved, I toasted them with my café, and I sat back and rested. Finally, I went inside for some packaged tarts and I set off along the Camino.
About an hour down the trail, I caught up with Peter and Morag. Morag is fighting a bad cold so I shared the packaged tarts with them and guided Peter for about 5 km to give her a break. Which reminded me of the time a few days earlier where I had been doggedly walking though grey, wet weather, at the edge of a town that I don’t remember the name of, and I felt very much down and tired. Peter and Morag were walking not too far from me and they decided to sit and take a rest. I joined them and try shared some lovely confectionaries with me. It really brightened my day. The small little kindness can really make a day on the Camino. I hope the tarts were as welcome today. By this point, it had been raining most of the day and I headed off again.
Again, it was an easy walk and the conversation with Peter was as always good. Not too much pain and I handled it better Keith greeted us as we entered Palas de Rei and we checked into the albergue. We had made the albergue by 1:15. This left us with lots of time to claim beds, unpack, and prep for the next day.
We did some cleanup, internet, then went shopping with Keith and Peter while Morag rested some more.
First, we went to a small mercado just down the street. We picked up some chocolate, fruit, bread, meat, and cheese. We stopped in at a café that sits right across from the albergue. We had a cerveza, and then decided that it was too loud and left. We headed down the street and found a nice little family run café. It was warm and homey feeling. We had some more cerveza and ordered up what I think may have been the best calamari I’ve ever had. We dropped the supplies back in the albergue, chatted with Morag for a few moments, and then headed off to the internet cafe that was just only a building or two over from the albergue. We, surprisingly enough, had some more cerveza, chatted, and periodically watched Spanish television.
It occurs to me that people may interested to know what the average pilgrim’s day is like. This does not include the tourigrinos (who are a blight on the Camino and I will not mention now – perhaps in a later post).
At 5:45, wake up, try not to wake up any late sleepers, dress, pack, and wash up. Leave the albergue at about 6:30 and start walking. Pray that in the next 1 to 18 kilometres you will find an open cafe. In the meantime, eat any snacks you have left from the day before. Walk, walk, and walk, until your breakfast doesn’t do it for you anymore and find a cafe and have a bocadillo or a tortilla. Walk some more until you have covered the planned distance; hope to find an albergue with empty beds, collapse for a few minutes. Feeling refreshed, unpack, roll out your sleeping bag, shower, and rest. Perhaps investigate the village or town you are in and look for restaurants that have Pilgrim Menus. Go out for dinner with your companions and pray that you get back to the albergue before the doors are locked. Go to sleep and repeat. On Sundays, you need to have food purchased from the day before, as many places are closed.
Finally, we moved back to the alburgue. I booked my room for Santiago with Peter’s phone and then Peter booked rooms for Morag and himself.
We had a nice, if slow supper. The dinner conversation turned serious and we discussed the Camino and how it has impacted us. In general, I think we all agreed that in most ways it is too early to tell, but we all had some ideas about how we want to make changes to our lives. Peter pointed out that the sight of the Cathedral in Santiago will be a very different experience for those that walk. We’ll have to wait to see how it all pans out, but we all agreed that the Camino was a significant event in our lives. So with heavy thoughts we ordered a second bottle of wine and then headed back to the albergue for sleep.
God help me, I am confused and tired. Time for bed