Day 30 – Arca
The day started a little bit later than normal, as we had only to complete 20 km today. So, we slept in until 6:30, packed up, and stayed in a café drinking café con leche and nibbling on croissants and tortilla until 8:00. My head cold is getting worse so Morag provided some cold meds and off we went. I am not looking forward to the prospect of vacationing with my family in Spain and Germany with a head cold. I hope Sandy remembers to bring some Cold Effects.
I kept a good pace up today, keeping up with Keith. The walk was not great though, as it was constantly drizzling or all out raining. The tracks were muddy and there was a cold bite to the air. The bright spot of the day was at about 10:00 when we arrived at a tabernia in Salceda called Casa Jerde. It was a lovely little spot with candles burning on each table and lots of handmade art about. Even the restroom signs were hand drawn with chalk on the doors.
Keith and I had two shandies and a banana each. Power snack. When asked for a sello (pilgrim stamp) by Keith, the lady behind the counter provided a lovely hand-drawn one for his credential. It was beautiful and I asked her to add one to mine as well. Normally I only get stamps from places I stay at or cathedrals, but this was so nice. Morag and Peter showed up and we sat with them for a bit and had some mint tea to warm us up before braving the rain again.
Again, Keith and I made good time and we made Arca a little after noon. We did a good 20 km of mud trails and rain in about 3 hours and 45 minutes. Not too bad.
We arrived in Arca and almost went the wrong way to the albergue, but we ended up in another private one. It was actually very nice and the showers were very nice. There was a large tree behind glass in the middle of the sleeping area.
We were worried that Peter and Morag would not get a spot so we booked them in and saved bunks near ours. The rain started shortly after our arrival and it rained harder than any other time I remember on the Camino. It was a deluge. Keith and I anxiously waited by the doors, and he even ducked down the street to ensure they knew which albergue we were staying in. The rain stopped shortly after a very wet Peter and Morag came through the door escorted by an equally wet Keith.
We relaxed, dried, washed up and simply hung around for a while resting. Morag and Peter lay down on her bunk and she read to him from her copy of David M Gitlitz’s The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago. . She reads to him daily, I believe, about the section of the Camino they hope to walk the next day. Keith was off writing in his journal, and I decided it was time to do some shopping.
I walked down the main street of Arca to get a feel for the area. Not many restaurants the way I went and I did not want to walk to the other side of town, so I picked up a couple of things and headed back to the albergue. We finally headed out for supper, but the meal wouldn’t start until eight o’clock so we sat down for drinks and some nuts that we retrieved from a vending machine. The room was thick with smoke, or at least it felt that way to my rough, sore throat. I begged off after a while and headed back to the albergue. I snacked a little and lay in my bunk.
Keith popped in a little later to let me know that the restaurant had opened the dining room and the smoke was very light there. I went to join them and I’m glad I did, as the paella and the lomo was quite tasty, and the bread received high marks from us all. The wine was red, but not nearly as chilled as is often the case in Spain. Peter did a bit of a double-take at that as he prefers his cool, but not as chilled as it is often served here. He was pleased.
We paid our tab and set off for the albergue and our beds.
It seems strange, but we are now only 20 km from the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. I am somewhat bewildered by that. The end is so close and shortly thereafter I will be with my family again. That will be the sweetest reward I can offer myself.