October 31 – Halloween!!!!
20 miles (with optional detour 😉
Food, etc.: 6€
Today was wonderful. It seems that when I have a tough day, it is followed by a good day, and that was again the case. Of course, I had time last night to have a good dinner, lots of water and rest, and also put salve on my feet and muscle cream on my shoulders. I slept for 7 hours straight and then another 2 off and on. So, that probably also helped. The two instant cappuccinos I had with my ibuprofen might also have helped a bit 🙂
As did filling my water and putting it in its pocket in my backpack first, before other things. My pack has a pocket for a water bladder and spaces on the left and right to feed the hose through, but did not come with a bladder specific to the pack, so I have been using a 2 liter one from my other hiking things. When the pack is full, it is not possible for me to force the water bladder into the pocket. So, if I empty it during the day, I have to strap it to the top of my pack, because I’m not going to unpack everything for my water in the middle of the day. Likewise, there have been days where albergues had blankets, so I didn’t need to unpack everything to get to my sleeping bag, so I attached the bladder to the top of my pack those days, too. And what a difference to my shoulders to have it inside once more! Absolutely remarkable what such a little change can do. Will have to do it again tomorrow!
I walked with Tash for much of the day and Vittorio for half of it. We all stopped for one last coffee on the Primitivo and then Vittorio walked ahead but waited for us in Melide, where the Primitivo met the Frances. Not exactly sure where they joined, but we think it might have been at the albergue in Melide, so we made a lunch stop there.
The countryside the whole day was quite nice. Hilly and very green with cute villages for most of the time. Still some road walking, but much more pleasant than yesterday.
The books and other pilgrims had warned us about differences once we joined the Frances, and we definitely noticed them. Many more people, which can be interesting, if they are social. But can also be difficult when looking for a convenient, secluded bathroom stop. Plus, definitely much more commercial, especially in this city. Bars advertising in many languages, Camino posters everywhere, tons of private albergues, graffiti on many things, and souvenir shops with shirts, patches, etc. for the Camino. Slightly overwhelming in the city, but we’re promised a nice day for much of tomorrow.
Being on the French way now, does make finding things we need or something to eat much easier, but it does take away some of the solitude and seclusion of the Camino. I haven’t really talked to anyone new and am, in fact, sitting in the kitchen area of the albergue with Marco and Javi as we all work on our various journals. Tash, Vittorio, and Alexander (Marco’s friend who joined him in Lugo) were here earlier as some of us had an early (cold, because even with kitchen facilities, there are no pots or pans) dinner. No one else is here or has been here, so it is like we are still our group. Tim isn’t here, but had tentative plans to walk further today, so we are sure he did.
Another perk of being on the French way is that there is a pilgrim Mass tonight just down the street from the albergue. Every night at 7pm.
And it was Mass for the vigil of All Saints Day, so I don’t need to worry about finding somewhere tomorrow. Each time I go to Mass here, I understand a little bit more, especially since Mass is now all in Spanish and not bilingual with Basque. I can almost say the Our Father all the way through again, but only when others are saying it. I learned in Spanish class years ago, but have forgotten most of it!
Tonight, since it is Halloween, we (Tash, Vittorio, Javi, Marco, Alexander, and I) had a special drink called Queimada. Some alcohol (phonetically: oruho), with lots of sugar, fresh squeezed lemon, and coffee beans. Everything is put in a big pot and then stirred after it gets set on fire. They said some words about it and then after a while, when the flames died down, we drank it. An interesting flavor, and we again celebrated one of our last nights together.
Now back at the albergue. 9:45 and lights are out. No talking, but there is loud breathing and cars going by on the street. Most people in an albergue, yet. It’s dark, so I can’t count exactly, but about 25-30 people. And someone’s phone keeps going off, too, but no one is answering it. Glad I have earplugs!
Oh, and it started raining this evening after Mass. And weather forecast says rain for at least the next 4 days. Newscasters said warmest October in a long time, maybe ever, but my Spanish isn’t that great to tell for sure. It would make sense, though, because we have had beautiful weather! Only one really nasty day of rain (but even then, it cleared up by mid afternoon), a few mornings, and one mid afternoon shower. And cool nights with warm days. Been grateful for my convertible pants! Probably need to find at least a light fleece or sweater in Santiago as my long sleeve short and tiebreaker are great when walking and exercising, but not quite warm enough when just sitting outside somewhere. It’s ok, because I planned on this happening sooner or later and I actually thought sooner rather than later, so grateful to have made it this far without adding something else to my pack!
Tomorrow is Monte de Gozo, 5 kilometers from Santiago. Nervous and excited. And only 5km to Santiago for Mass (pilgrim Mass) on Sunday. Should definitely see an increase in pilgrims then!