I met two English speaking women on arrival yesterday, one from the U.S. And one from Australia. It was nice to speak to them, but it transpired this morning that they are light shiners and bag rustlers, the scourge of the laid-back pilgrim. The show started around 05:30 and was difficult to ignore. They were long gone when I made my way to the kitchen at just after 06:30. I made myself a delicious roll with all the salad ingredients left over from my supper – avocado, local cheese, chorizo, jamon and cherry tomatoes.
I passed many early risers in the first hour or so and then the trail quietened. I stopped at a bar at around 10 km for a hot drink and was soon back on my way.
Some features of today’s stage were familiar, but I didn’t remember walking so much on the road, albeit quiet country roads, which alternated with woodland tracks and pretty villages. I had walked around 30 km before I found a suitable spot to sit down and eat my roll.
There were already around six early arrivals at the private albergue when I arrived, including the flashers from this morning. So I opted for a different room where there are probably 20+ places and only a couple taken. I found myself a quiet corner and bagged my lower bunk. An hour or so later the place is bursting at the seams – all 52 places are on the verge of being taken and I am really missing the relative solitude of the Via de la Plata. Lots of pilgrims know eachother from the camino Frances and are chatting away loudly. It is not what I am used to and not what I like. But I have found a sunny corner in the courtyard and bought a bottle of wine and am happy keeping out of the way and typing my blog. If it wasn’t for the fact that I actively want to walk to the coast (and therefore walk ‘from sea to shining sea’) I could be very unhappy right now. But in fact I feel I can rise above all the hub-bub and have no desire to be part of it. I shall opt for the self-description of ‘serene’ rather than ‘miserable old git’, but not everyone might agree.
Unfortunately I have just returned to the dorm to find that my ‘quiet’ corner has been taken over by a man who can simultaneously snore very loudly, fart even louder and fondle himself in the underpants area then remove his fondling hand and stick his finger up his nose. Quite charming. I think I need to fish out the ear plugs tonight. Maybe the light-shining-bag-rustling women aren’t so bad after all!
This section of my camino is so different from when I walked it two years ago with Ella. Then the weather was really miserable – cold and very wet. The poor weather threatened to spoil the experience for my daughter, but luckily, just in the nick of time, the sun came out to welcome us to the coast, and all turned out well. This year the weather has been fabulous. Beautiful sunshine with enough wind to keep it from being too hot – just perfect! Even at this late stage I am a bit nervous about praising the Galician weather, which is renowned to rain more than the UK. But the sky is still blue and the sun is still shining, so I can only cross my fingers and hope it will continue for a few more days until I return home on 2 July.
I will aim to get off nice and early in the morning, but without the light shining and bag rustling, and try to get some space between me and the hordes.
I am really looking forward to meeting up with Olivier tomorrow in Finisterre, after seventeen days since he took his short-cut. I am sure he will take up where he left off and tease me mercilessly just like an annoying younger brother. But I will serenely let his jibes pass right over my head and enjoy the company of an old friend – an ‘old’ friend of all of thirty days’ standing. I lost the lovely Austrians today – they are walking directly to Muxia and then back to Santiago, so I may see them in the city.
This camino is a totally different experience from my previous two and I will try to explain why in an assessment post when I am back home. Meanwhile…