Close to 20 miles
Another great day, albeit a slow one. I fell behind the group on purpose this morning and stayed there for about an hour. Quite nice, a bit of solitude. I caught up to the others a few times and at one point we decided to meet at the bar at the border between Asturias and Galicia to take a group photo. Turns out the border was not at the bar, but a few hundred meters before. After I plodded slowly up what was supposed to be a downhill section (according to the guidebook), I came upon Vittorio and Tash sitting on the hillside because the actual regional border was just down the trail. So we all crossed together and then met Marco and Tim at the bar for a late morning coffee.
Before the border, the trail led up and up and up some more, until we were eye level with the windmills on the ridge. Then, just as I thought the trail joined the road, I noticed the arrows pointing across the road and up some more!
Perspective is an interesting phenomenon, and mine has greatly altered on this Camino. I have seen windmills, hills, towns, valleys, etc. from afar, and then recognized them when I got closer and eventually passed them. Today, I knew we would go up to the windmills, but the only ones I could see in the early morning seemed so far away. Turns out, those are them. Same thing with the city we saw from where we crossed the border. No way it could only be 9 kilometers away. But it was.
And yet, big numbers seem small now, not as daunting. Santiago is about 160kms away, or approximately 100 miles. Seems so close, considering we started with over 800. Yet, I wouldn’t say to someone back home, “hey, let’s walk from the Southside to Louisville next week.” It would seem crazy. But that’s what we’re doing in the next 5 or so days. 20 miles a day, 5 days, done. Wow.
The afternoon got a bit tougher in some ways and easier in others. The weather warmed up, which was good and bad. Definitely autumn here, whereby it is awfully cool in the morning, cools off quickly when the sun goes down, and can be chilly in the shade. The sun is hot (or at least warm), but there isn’t always residual heat when it isn’t directly shining. Anyway, good to be warmer, not good without a breeze. Physically pretty good, too. Not overall exhausted, but my left ankle felt a bit sore. The right leg is better, but I can definitely feel when I push too hard or try to go too fast, so I am content bringing up the rear.
I caught up to everyone again while they were stopped for a snack at some picnic tables. I had already taken my lunch and reading break, but it was good to walk into town with everyone. We have this great ability to arrive in towns in the middle of siesta. Sometimes, stores are still open, but not today. All of us were in need of food, so we were worried we’d have to either wait a long time or go without. We found an open bar and asked when the stores would reopen. Luckily, siesta here ended at 4, and it was already 3:30, so not too long for a coffee break.
Shopping done, we headed for the albergue. I opted out of hand washing my clothes as it was already after 5 and not enough daylight hours to allow for things to dry. Luckily, I have 3 shirts, so still another clean one for tomorrow.
Instead of laundry, I cooked for everyone. We’ve not had nearly enough vegetables on the Camino, so I bought some carrots, peppers, garlic, and a zucchini and made a bit of a stir fry with rice cooked in chicken stock. Simple, but good, and I got to listen to a few of my songs from my phone while cooking. Really good on many fronts. I miss cooking, and cooking for other people (the tuna salad last week doesn’t count). Plus, people have been kind enough to share what they have or buy a coffee here and there and I do reciprocate, but this felt like more. Relaxing for me, healthy and tasty for everyone, and lots of fun eating together. Plus, someone else did the dishes!