Approximately 23 miles. Will save us 5 tomorrow morning!
Food: 1.25€ (my favorite snack mix was on sale and Peter from the Netherlands that we met a few days ago paid for my morning coffee)
I am currently on my bunk in my sleeping bag because a) it’s cold in here, and b) the Italian boys are cooking dinner, so I’m on dish duty later. The kitchen at this albergue doesn’t have pots and pans, however, so they bought disposable tins at the store and dish duty will involve just throwing things away!
Today was fantastic! Though I seemed to be moving quite slowly. I got out of the hostel just a few minutes after Vittorio, Tash, and Marco, and a few minutes before Javi. Javi overtook me after about 15 minutes and I didn’t see him again for 3 hours! I was walking at a fairly steady pace, but I do know it was slower than normal, so I wasn’t surprised that I didn’t catch anyone while walking, but was surprised that I didn’t come upon anyone taking a break or stopping for coffee.
Except Javi, and he was leaving when I arrived at the first bar – 11k into the day. The coffee at this bar came separate, one jug of coffee and one of milk, so I could add as much as I needed. There was enough coffee for nearly 3 cups, and I enjoyed them with my biscuits and my guidebook and more quiet, until Peter came along. He is on a planned tour and only needs to carry his daypack, so he walks extra fast, especially compared to me! We had been sitting for a while and then the 2 Spanish couples showed up, too! We’d been seeing them off and on f i r the past couple of days.
I stayed at the bar for nearly half an hour, then Peter took off and I chatted with the Spaniards. They wanted a picture with me and we compared foot ailments. One lady has a huge blister on her heel, so I told them about mine from a couple of weeks ago. So grateful they are gone! Now I just have a bit of peeling going on.
Speaking of leg ailments, today was a good example of great teamwork! One leg didn’t like the downhill while the other didn’t like the uphill. Both enjoyed the straightaways. Luckily, we had lots of everything, so each legs had moments of happiness and distress. Overall, not too bad, discomfort rather than pain. And my left ankle has turned an even prettier shade of turquoise!
The walk was fantastic, too! Beautiful terrain, lots of time for reflection and prayer, and the closest one can come to frolicking in the woods while wearing a backpack. Sometimes it is necessary to put “Ceili Rain” and “How Can I Keep From Singing” on repeat while one bounces through the forest. And in one particularly picturesque valley, pretty black and white birds were swooping back and forth in time to the music. Wonderful!
To speak of teamwork in a more serious sense, there really is a genuine spirit of community on the Camino. Some refer to those you walk with as your Camino family, and just like your real family, you don’t get to always pick and choose who is part of it. Which means, sometimes there are conflicts and sometimes there are great moments of love and camaraderie.
And it is the latter that shone through today. As I said, I was the slow kid. Yet, news of how I was doing was still passed to the others ahead. Javi told everyone he saw me at the cafe and then Peter also said he had seen me. Peter also said he had seen Kevin a couple of days ago, which was good to hear because we haven’t seen him since before the long day. Anyway, I had a wonderful but slow day, feeling great but not moving fast. I was hoping to see the others in a town called Cádavo Baleira if they had decided to stop there. I had already decided to walk to Castroverde to save a little on the walk tomorrow, as I was still feeling pretty good.
The last 5km before Cádavo seemed to go on forever! Never-ending dirt/gravel trail and lots of scrub brush. A highlight was crossing another dirt trail and coming upon ‘Go Andrea’ written using pieces of bark. Really made me happy that those in front took the time to do that. I crested what I was hoping was the last hill and headed down a paved road to (hopefully) town. And then who did I see? Tash, heading back up the hill to find me! Turns out, Vittorio and Marco got to town a fair bit (perhaps an hour) before I did and decided to wait for Tash, who arrived a little while later, and me so we could decide together to stay or continue. Tash was coming back with the intention of helping me with my bag if necessary, but was pleased to see that all was well, even though I fell so far behind.
Well, since I felt fine and everyone else was well-rested, we set off together for Castroverde. I still fell behind because I needed a pit stop in the bushes, but that just gave me a chance to pray the divine mercy chaplet with everyone still in eyesight and I caught up again after Tash’s next pit stop. The boys were quite far ahead at this point, but at least we all had the common destination and the guys knew where we were.
This albergue is very new, and aside from not the most well-stocked kitchen, it is very nice, too. It is in a great location and very clean and spacious. Javi and Tim were already here, so again we are 6. Tomorrow is Lugo, the last big city before Santiago and the start of the final 100km!