30 June: HAPPY WEDDING ANNIVERSARY!

We’re coming home.
We all made it to 1,000km and beyond.

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We’ve made it to the end of our charity: water campaign too. It’s the very last day for giving. Isn’t it appropriate that we should be here before a large mass of water?
Now we turn around and head for home.

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Even though we have holes in our socks and I wore through the sole of one shoe yesterday!

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It’s been a long time and we are ready to be together again. I am grateful, not only for the opportunity to have walked for charity: water and to have spent two months hiking, but also for how close we have grown in our separation. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it also opens your eyes to what you have and helps you treasure it more.
It is a wonderful feeling to have your 16-year-old son begging for a conversation, or to read a touching letter from your daughter that shows a maturing you have prayed for but could never have orchestrated (although packing her off to India might be seen to be trying to provide some opportunities for growth not necessarily found in kiwi suburbia).
Cuddling a camera and bumbag full of passports and phone and keyboard and other important bits and bobs inside a sleeping bag is just not the same as waking up with a real live man beside you in bed.
I am especially grateful that my man, who took me as his bride 24 years ago today, loves me so much he embraces my wild ideas, even when they mean sacrifice to himself. He has cooked and cleaned and smashed up concrete and pruned a forest and cared for chickens and experimented with the new paella pan and travelled abroad for work and delivered girls to Spain and ironed shirts and arranged logistics for a funeral while we took a (big) walk in the park wilderness. He loves us, supports us, believes in us, knows us, encourages us, makes us laugh, makes us think, helps us to care and is the inspiration for aniseedy-daddy-days (sorry to embarrass you!)

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Thank you for choosing me, for making our life together, intentionally and with purpose. Thanks for being faithful and steadfast and gentle and patient, a man of integrity, a servant leader, an engaged father and a devoted hubby. Thanks for cherishing us.

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Yes, we are looking forward to coming home.
First stop…..Santiago. And we’re going on foot!!

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29 June: Cee to Fisterra

20140629-192639-69999890.jpgComing down the hill into Cee yesterday (and to give you some idea of what I’m talking about, see if you can find it on the strava elevation….

20140628-224257-81777347.jpg…spot it?), I seriously contemplated taking a bus back – if not all the way to Santiago, at least past that hill! I was even composing the blog post in my head: “we’re coming home……on foot, by bus, by train, by metro, by three planes – yes, we’re coming home and we’ll start with the bus.”
But that was really getting ahead of myself, and I didn’t need to be worrying about that hill yesterday, because we don’t need to climb it until tomorrow. Each day has enough cares of its own.
And today had celebrations too!
Not only did the girls reach 1,000km, but they reached it at the exact moment the wide sweeping ocean vista came into view. A man we have been walking with for a couple of days has commented that while the Camino TO Santiago is full of spiritual energy, this Camino Fisterra is lacking. But for me, at that moment I thought I could feel God smiling! I even wondered if He had eagerly anticipated the joy we would feel at the perfect timing.

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But we didn’t stop there; we kept on walking right out to the very end of the world.

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20140629-193640-70600045.jpg And Micki nearly fell off! (nah, not really, but it’s a cool pic, eh!)

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Out at the end there is a zero marker – no more walking. That is to say, you can’t go any further westwards. In the tradition of pilgrims of old, we will turn around and start walking home…..but first there were photos to take.

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And there were people celebrations too. The most surprising was seeing Samuel from France, our San Salvador pal.

20140629-215820-79100457.jpg Then there was Ginny, who left us a message in the sand….and the Russians and Poles from the Primitivo….and one of the many Australian ladies….and the two boys who have been new brothers for the walk out to the end came and found us when they arrived.

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Destination: Fisterra
Distance: 12.8km + 7km to the lighthouse and back
Cumulative Distance: 1,312/1,012km
Distance to go: under 100km back to Santiago
Weather: the rain we walked in cleared away to be a beautifully sunny day
Dinner:

20140629-220309-79389296.jpg I know, I know – it really should have been a seafood feast….but, well…there simply is no excuse!

FINAL 24 HOURS FOR DONATING TO charity: water CAMPAIGN IS FAST APPROACHING (or is here – I’m not sure about time differences!)

28 June: Ponte Olveira to Cee

20140628-150950-54590467.jpg water water water
Walking in the water, around the water, through the water, towards the water FOR water.

20140628-151243-54763273.jpg Very early on in our walk we met a guy, who wanted to make a short video about what we were doing. Through careful questioning, he gave the kids an outline for a script and they filled in the gaps. While nothing came of the video, the scripted comments have been used over and over!

20140628-152408-55448393.jpg The Script:
ER: Hi, I’m Ella-Rose and I just turned 8 on the camino.
T: Hi, I’m Tessa.
M: My name is Micaiah.
L: And I’m Levi.
All: We’re from New Zealand and we’re walking for water.
ER: Every day women and children spend 200 million hours collecting water for their families.
T: Time spent walking keeps them from school, work and taking care of their families.
L: I’m walking, because every twenty seconds a mother loses her baby to water related diseases.
M: I’m walking, because I cannot imagine having to choose between dirty dangerous water and no water at all. We want to identify with those families in a practical way and raise money to fund a clean water source for some of them.
Me: charity: water is a non-profit organisation on a mission to bring clean and safe drinking water to every person on the planet.
In the eight years they have been working, almost 12,000 water projects have been funded, which will serve over 4 million people in 22 countries. 800 million more people are waiting.
We chose charity: water because all donations go directly to a particular project – nothing is siphoned off for administration costs. Also, they work with strong local partners to build and maintain the projects. And each project is recorded on googlemaps with photos as proof when they have finished it.

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That all sounds so idealistic, doesn’t it? For a touch of realism, here’s another of today’s water stories.
It’s a conversation.
Son: There’s the sea over there.
Me: Sorry to dampen (haha – bad pun in the rain) your enthusiasm, but it cannot be the sea in that direction
S: Well what is it then?
M: There are hills and more land.
S: No, not the hills, the bit that looks like sea.
M: That would be land.
S: I’ve never seen land look like that. It really looks like the sea.
M: Hmm well it’s not.
We walk another twenty metres or so.
S: It looks like sea to me.
M: I’m not talking about it any more. I’ve seen the map. There is no sea out that way.
We walk another half kilometre or so. Second son (SS) catches up.
SS: I think it’s the sea too. Land doesn’t look like that.
Mother picks up her pace and leaves them in the dust.
About 15km later, when the sea does actually come into view one son has the audacity to say, “See I knew it was the sea”, despite it being in quite the opposite direction! In this instance, mother is mature enough to say not a word.
But we did get to the sea!!

Destination: Cee
Distance: 23.4km
Cumulative Distance: 1,292/992km
8km to go girlies!!!! Tomorrow is the day!
Weather: rain, mist, drizzle, sunshine, showers
Dinner:

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AND pizza AND dessert – flan or cheesecake
all from the supermarket and cooked at the albergue!

Postscript: We have seen messages left for pilgrims along the way, and today it was our turn to receive one! Scratched in the sandy path…..

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27 June: Negreira to Ponte Olveira

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I had put it down to the fact that the children had stayed outside playing cards until after 10pm last night (this can happen when you start late and so arrive late and eat late and the sun hasn’t gone anyway). All morning I had walked…..and waited for kids to catch up. Walked and waited. Walked and waited. I figured they were tired, sleepy tired. I suspected they might also be tired of walking.

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“Have you had enough? Do you want to stop when the girls reach 1,000? Or do you still want to finish the Frances?”
General consensus was that they were happy to go on if someone wanted to, but equally happy to stop. So right there on the road we changed our minds. Again. We change our mind more often than we change our socks at the moment! We had been planning on going to Muxia, the westernmost point of Spain, and then zipping down to Fisterra, the end of the world. This required a week of more-than-30km days, which felt completely doable yesterday and impossible today!
As we wandered through cow country full of its distinctive odour, a German lady, who will have walked 1,600km when she gets to Fisterra, explained that today her legs are feeling tired. She has happily walked over 30km every day for over two months and today she was crawling along. Her verdict was that now that her heart knows the end is near the legs are giving up. It is time to say, “I’m done.”
So maybe that is what was happening for the children too!
We pulled into a bar and pulled out our maps. We could go directly to the end of the world and take three days to do it instead of two, and the girls would still make 1,000km before our charity:water campaign finishes. Muxia didn’t matter any more. Finishing the Camino Frances didn’t matter either.
Having a couple of short days now and no more walking after returning to Santiago seems very attractive.
As we had arrived at the bar Ginny-from-England, who we met yesterday was leaving. She sympathised with the struggle – her legs were telling her they should not even be walking at all. She was supposed to be home, but an airline strike was preventing her flying and so she was walking for a few more days. She walked on. Expecting us to go no further than the bar we were at in the morning, she would be very surprised to see us a few hours later eating cheese and baguettes at the base of a monument.

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She waited while we ate, then fell into step alongside us and we enjoyed each other’s company for the remainder of the 33.2km. She played murder mystery and told jokes and whistled with a blade of grass – she had won the kids’ hearts even before she bought everyone an iceblock!

20140627-183419-66859832.jpg There was so much joviality walking with her that I’m sure she found it difficult to believe these same children had walked in complete silence for over an hour this morning. But they had. There was no sound other than the crunching of shoes on pebbles. Crunch, crunch, crunch. A brook gurgled beside us. Birds tweeted high in the tree tops. An aeroplane sounded even further off. But from us, there was not a sound.

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Then there was animated discussion about how we could spend our remaining time. When Ginny suggested we take a bus back to Santiago instead of walking there were cries of disagreement from all the children. While they have had enough, they want to finish properly!
What we will do after we have finished remains unknown, but right now we are focussed on finishing the charity: water project. There are three days to go.

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Destination: meant to be Olvieroa, but a kilometre or so from the village we saw a little donativo albergue that had enough beds for us, so we stopped – good thing too, because apparently everything in the village and beyond was booked out! Five hours after we arrived, about an hour after the rain started, the family we met yesterday hobbled in – it was only their second day of walking and looked like it might be their last – they were drenched, cold, sore to the point of hardly being able to walk – and they were told there were no beds available. Even if they could have walked on, we knew there was nothing for them and so we convinced the boss that we would be happy to top-and-tail so that they could have some of our beds. This kind of thing creates bonds that perhaps wouldn’t occur so quickly when all is sunshine and roses!
Distance: 33.2km
Cumulative Distance: 1,269/969km
31km for the girls to get to 1,000
Weather: sunny day and evening showers
Dinner:

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26 June: Santiago to Negreira

20140626-193342-70422590.jpg Different and delightful. Today was completely different to any other so far. For a start we slept in until after 7am and were staying in an albergue that did not kick pilgrims out until 9am. We wandered into town, not needing to look for arrows or shells to follow as we know the way well. Because I have filled my credencial we were headed for the office to pick up a Camino Fisterra one. But we didn’t get very far. Standing on the big box in front of the cathedral were an American father-and-son we had met in Melide. Congratulations seem appropriate when you’ve slept with your feet just inches from their heads. Then there was a Korean couple. Walking across the plaza we bumped into more and more people we had not seen for days – and some who had heard about this kiwi-family and for some reason wanted to speak with us. Then there was the Primitivo kiwi couple – we actually tripped over them three times and on the third (perhaps when they realised they really couldn’t get rid of us), they invited us for churros and thick hot chocolate – oh the chocolate, so thick it was like a mousse!! We often stop for a second breakfast – but not when we’ve only walked three kilometres! Sitting with them on the side of the road with vehicles scraping past us, obviously delayed the departure somewhat. As the cafe was directly opposite the Pilgrims’ Office, there was a constant flow of pilgrims walking by. Veronika was the first and was feeling a bit down after all the good-byes yesterday. She had been going to take a rest day, but didn’t want to do it in what-was-now-lonely Santiago! We were surprised she had not met any of our group as we had met so many. So she joined us and we decided to set out together. Usually we would walk separately, but, as I say, today was different. Our claims that Santiago was not a lonely place were verified as more people stopped to chat – some we had met, other Kiwis who heard our accents and still others who had heard through the camino grapevine of this crazy family.
Eventually we got away.
Walking down through narrow cobbled streets with lots of people going the other way – for once not everyone was walking in the same direction! Through a little park and up a little climb and we caught up with an English lady, who we would end up walking with all day. Then *she* bumped into her own friends returning from Fisterra. We stood by, being the outsiders, while they all excahanged their stories.
On again, back on stony paths, back climbing a little, back on the Camino. More pilgrims walking towards us. Soon enough we spied another lady walking with two children. Children? Children with backpacks, no less! This really was a different day. In time we caught them too, and before an hour was out the kids were all new best friends and Daniel and David would choose to share our room tonight rather than be in the main dorm with their mum!
The scenery changed too. There were still eucalyptus trees and farms and vegetable gardens, but there were more houses scattered along the way and about an hour before our final destination we believed ourselves to be in France – it looked like nothing we have seen in Spain so far! There were cultivated flower gardens with lots of hydrangeas and lilies and roses and daisies. The buildings were old and stone, and very well-cared-for, not at all tumble-down. Besides, there were no for sale signs (even after two months, we cannot get over how much of Spain is for sale – I often think about relocating the homeless of the world here and letting them make a living for themselves off the land).

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20140626-194054-70854264.jpgWe were walking again, but it was a very different camino.

20140626-194146-70906415.jpg Alberto Bells was not with us in person, but yesterday at the restaurant he had given each of us one of his special camino bells and so we jingled along with his memory. We thought this was the end of the Primitivo fading away……but when we got to Negreira, there were a bunch of the Spaniards, including Theo, who chased us up the San Salvador.

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It truly was a delightful day.

charity: water campaign….four days to go

Destination: Negreira
Distance: 29.2km (but five was round town, so doesn’t count)
Cumulative Distance: 1,236/936km
64km to go girls!
Weather: humid afternoon
Dinner:

20140626-204102-74462437.jpg after a salad and followed by strawberries and cake – courtesy of Chef Veronika and Kid Kitchen Assistants

25 June: O Pedrouzo to Santiago

20140625-163409-59649419.jpgThere’s magic on the camino! The day we were racing along the street in Madrid, hoping we were heading the right way, a little anxious about missing our train, a young man stopped us and we chatted for a few minutes. He would be leading a group of pilgrims to Santiago later in the summer…..in our wildest dreams we would not have expected to bump into each other today walking into the city. We have both taken very different paths, but started and ended with our paths crossing. He’s the one on the right in the green t-shirt. Seeing you today, Roberto, was one of those special moments. Thanks for being such an enthusiastic advocate for our cause too – we really appreciate it.
The chance meetings with Roberto and hearing him tell his group what we are doing confirmed again that this camino has really been about others. It’s not about what we personally have achieved – every day we have been mindful of those we are walking for. On days when we walked in the rain, on days we have run out of drinking water, on days we have had cold showers – or no showers at all – on days when we have had to carry extra water we have thought of those who do not access to fresh, clean, safe drinking water. Puddles today reminded us again.

20140625-164529-60329442.jpg We have prayed that people will be moved to join with us and GIVE. And they have. People have pressed euros into our hands and trusted us to get the money to the project. One little girl, only eight years old, was found by her mother praying that God would show her a way to help. God answered and required a sacrifice – she listened and sold enough of her toys to provide one person with water for life.
Life. This is a hard word for us today. Upon our arrival in Santiago, we heard the news that Grandpa’s brother had died overnight. People are dying every day for want of safe water. Today death feels close – and we feel so very far away.
Even before we had heard the news, we had taken a wee detour this morning to a stone wall that we remembered and we had taken a photo especially for Grandpa:

20140625-170906-61746433.jpgNow we give thanks that in recent years Uncle chose life, eternal life; he chose to “vaya con Dios”. His celebration is just beginning.
And we joined in a celebration too. A large part of the Primitivo family has reunited over the past days and yesterday we planned a farewell lunch. Even walking up (or *running* up in the case of my four kids and my new kid Alberto) the Mount of Joy this morning we bumped into some who we had not seen for days:

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So we invited them along too….quite a party we ended up.

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After our delishimoso lunch, we returned to the albergue where everyone was in party mode after finishing their caminos. Our plan was to rest before plodding on tomorrow, but we had one more drama to navigate. The phone died.
Faced with the prospect of no blogging, no pictures, no strava, no books, none of our online documents, and most difficultly no messages home just when we are feeling very far away, we decided to trek across town to the iphone store (even though it was 6:30pm and they weren’t answering their phone). An hour later we arrived. It only took five minutes to discover there would be no magic solution. So we walked despondently home again. An extra 10 or 12km on what was to have been a relative rest day (under 20km).
We gratefully despatched messages to family and friends on the albergue’s computer……then my knight in shining armour appeared in the inbox with a solution. We should have just waited for him to wake up on the other side of the world! The good news is the phone has been revived. Magic!

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20140625-230351-83031429.jpg Destination: Santiago
Diistance: 18.5 plus another 10 or so!
Cumulative Distance: 1,212/912km
88km for the girls to go

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Weather: overcast 21 degrees
Dinner: again, it was lunch that was memorable at Casa Manolo’s

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24 June: Melide to O Pedrouzo

20140624-163929-59969349.jpgTwo years ago we left Melide in the drizzle after Rob had bought some yummy treats from the bakery next to the albergue. We ate the big buttery croissants at the top of a steep climb.
This time the bakery was closed, but the weather was almost as threatening. The steep climb seemed to have been graded away and we flew up it, overtaking a couple of pilgrims without even trying to! In fact, a few times someone would say, “Oh I remember after this bridge is a climb” or “There’s a big hill into this town”….only to discover that this time the hills seemed like little bumps!

20140624-162840-59320086.jpg Last time we took an early morning pic at this marker – we had to do the same again today. Then each time we saw somewhere we had taken a break, the kids marvelled at how often we had stopped and they called for another photo in remembrance!

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20140624-163603-59763681.jpg Big siblings, Daddy, Grandpa – do you remember any of these? How about these water crossings?

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20140624-171943-62383417.jpgOr this albergue we stayed in after a whole day’s walk? Today we were there before ten and walked on to do what we had done the next day last time!

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It is encouraging to see the growth of just a couple of years – and perhaps particularly of the past two months. When we arrived, we hoped to manage 15-20km on average, and at that rate we would have been arriving in Santiago in a couple of weeks. As it turned out we have managed much more, and ought to be in Santiago tomorrow. When we thought we would try to not exceed 20km in a day, we did not dream of the girls making it to 1,000km. 800 sounded like a commendable achievement for them. But they are now just over 100km from reaching the thousand.
We have learnt they are much stronger than we would have imagined and they have grown so much. At first, they carried only their clothing, sleep sack, toothbrush and water, but now they beg to be allowed to take some of the food supplies as well. At first, even the shortest legs were strong, but her mind would yell out that she’d done enough after a few hours. Now she can tell herself to not be grumpy even if she really wants to be. This is no mean feat – being grumpy can be quite a performance. She starts off asking how-far-questions, then increases the frequency with which they are asked. Then she sighs and humphs and slows down. She insists she does not want a break, but walks so slowly she’s barely moving. Then the shoe scraping starts. At first just a gentle scuff of the sole on the path, and if no one pays any attention to that, she can increase the intensity and give a good kick with every step. Or maybe a stomp for a change. Don’t forget very audible sighing continues all this time.
Mostly this is under control now. If she wants to, she can choose to be positive or tell us if there’s a problem.
This youngest child made a startling discovery of her own a week or so ago. I looked back down the hill and she was walking bent over clutching her calf. Five minutes later, she was still doing the same thing. Then she spurted forward calling out to me, “Mum! I’ve got big muscles. They’re bigger than Levi’s. He doesn’t have any, but look you can feel mine are hard when I walk.” And it’s all true!

This prompted me to ask the others what they have learnt.
Micaiah is astounded he can actually walk 37km on one day and that many days of walking can result in such a distance covered. He has also noticed a maturing in managing his emotions. A week ago he was reprimanded for rude speech – once he would have either got angry or sulked about this. This time he told himself that it was actually well-deserved and he should not be grumpy at me.
Levi’s observations have been more concrete: snakes can jump, hail hurts when it hits your head and is the size of a golfball, and he likes clams.

20140624-163218-59538294.jpgHere are the leftovers of the hail storm that made such an impression – fourteen hours later! It was one serious storm and we were out in it! We thought someone had thrown a cup of ice cubes on us from a second-storey window when it started!
Tessa discovered she loves to sleep in – but let’s face it, when you’re ten years old and you’ve not gone to sleep until after 10pm and your mother wakes you at 6, you’re going to think highly of sleep-ins! She has also noticed that there are times when your legs fel like a machine that is not part of you – they just keep working even when you don’t think about them. They keep moving and moving even when you are thinking about other things and you have to tell them to stop if you don’t want to go on.
Destination: O Pedrouzo
Distance: 34km without complaint
Cumulative Distance: 1,194/894km
106km for the girls to get to 1,000km
Weather: nice and cool…..rain held off
Dinner: well, seeing as lunch finished after 5pm, there really wasn’t much need! We ate at the same restaurant we ate at last time – lentils, vege puree, Russian salad, sausages and eggs on rice for first plates…..lasagne for all for second, and various cakes for dessert

ADVERTISING: our charity: water campaign has just one week to run….I’d hate for you to miss the deadline if you were thinking of giving! Thanksxxx

23 June:San Roman to Melide

20140623-145042-53442904.jpgFor most of the group we are walking with, Santiago is the end….and Santiago is in sight. Well, not literally. Actually, speaking of “not literally”…..yesterday Ella-Rose was disappointed that we had a gentle uphill walk the whole day – after the last big climb the other day she had heard someone say, “It’s all downhill from here to Santiago!”

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So Santiago draws near and everyone is winding down. It would be so easy to stop and celebrate with them…and not start up again! But Santiago will be just one more night like the others for us. The next morning we will get up again, put on our walking clothes and keep going. Our goal is the 1,000km mark for the girls, then we’ll walk back to Santiago to celebrate!

20140623-145459-53699544.jpg We had been planning a little cross-country jaunt to join our friends on the Norte route today at the monastery in Sobrado. BUT I sensed that we needed (psychologically, at least) to move towards our ultimate goal, and not detour away from it. So we stayed on the Primitivo route….not only did we stay on it, but we got to the very end of it.

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20140623-150037-54037939.jpgAfter a cool misty start largely on wooded paths, the sun came out and heated things up. Excited energy emerged, too. In spite of the rays beating down, we bounced into Melide.
Unlike the rest of the Primitivo walkers, who had been muttering for a few days about getting back to the busy, crowded, noisy Frances route, we were happy to be here. As well as marking the end of one stage, it is the beginning of the next, which seems to give a lift in spirits – so does walking with memories of having been here before. We spent the day reminiscing.

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I remember seeing these grain stores last time.
I remember the empanadas and biscuits daddy bought at the bakery next to the albergue.
Do you remember how we arrived just after shops were shut and you ran round the market getting strawberries and tomatoes as the stall owners packed up?
Do you remember how it was raining and we watched the raindrops slide down the window? (Little did we realise at that point that by 4:30 we would be being pelted with hailstones, some the size of golf balls, and that the rain would follow!)
I remember how cold it was in the dining room, we all wore our jackets – oh it will be nice to be cold in there this time!

20140623-152640-55600227.jpg And here we are. (Do you see Melide in the distnace?)
Back to telling our story, back to people counting the kids, back to meeting lots of new people, back to hearing English, back to listening to how amazingly far and fast an American has come (sorry to all the nice Americans, but there is always one skiting about his distance – usually an ex-military bloke, and today he found me within fifteen minutes of arriving!)…although some of our Primitivo-ites are here too, and there is a strange comfort in the camaraderie that exists between us.

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Destination: Melide
Distance: 28.4km (for once, shorter than the guide said)
Cumulative Distance: 1,160/860km
140km for the girls to go to get to their 1,000 – eagerly urged on by their brothers
Weather: apparently 25 degrees, but it felt hotter!
Dinner:

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22 June: Lugo to San Roman

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How’s that for a great painting?
You should see the one inside by the front door:

20140622-153834-56314233.jpg Can you work out what is real and what is not? As I type, I’m sitting inside that very building. There are tables and chairs and even an inviting corner of comfy armchairs arranged around a fireplace. These kind of spacious communal spaces are generally few and far between in albergues where every spare nook and cranny is crammed full of bunks. And at the end of a long day, if you get the last bed, you are happy that they squeezed one more in the corner!
Actually, the albergue where we are staying tonight is just through the trees from here – we’ll not be sleeping in this fancy private one. We’re sleeping under a slate roof and big wooden beams riddled with borer. It is one rectangular room with three bunks at each end and a small kitchen in the middle. While there is sleeping space for twelve, there are only five stools at the bench. On a day like today it is no problem – we all sat outside in the shade of a tree on a low stone wall and ate potato chips.

20140622-211231-76351263.jpg In the pouring rain, I’d be inclined to stay at this artistic place. It had been recommended to us, but when we arrived there was room at the cheaper establishment and our Korean and Canadian friends were there as well as a group of Italians who have joined our Primitivo-family. Others from our “family” who came later and are stopping in the creative building, wandered through the trees to visit us! Then we all gravitated to “the private”.
The hospitalero, who knew we were staying over at the public, invited us in, offered bread and cheese, and gave the kids the remote for the television. Even though we were not staying here we were warmly welcomed.
We did, however, eat dinner here. There’s a menu with the usual first plate, second plate, afters and bread and drink. You place your order and it arrives from Lugo at the designated time (thankfully early by Spanish standards – 7:30pm) We ordered and the hospitalero insisted the portions are enormous and we should only take four portions and share them – though of course he would do five desserts! We were grateful he was willing to forgo a little income as we would not have had a hope of eating five – as it is, we have a.mountain of cured ham left over for lunch and cheesecake for breakfast!

20140622-211922-76762383.jpgdinner arriving!

20140622-212246-76966975.jpgfirst plates….followed by ham and cheese stuffed crumbed schnitzel and turkey with fries….followed by

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Destination: San Roman (was supposed to be via Santa Eulalia with it’s fourth century Roman paintings…..but we missed the turn…..then heard tonight that someone else went there, but it was closed today in spite of what is written on the website and what the tourist office worker said yesterday)
Distance: 20.2km
Cumulative Distance: 1,132/832km
168km for the girls to go
Weather: early 20s, late afternoon showers

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20140622-213048-77448619.jpgafter-dinner-antics….very adult!

21 June: Castroverde to Lugo

20140621-180043-64843144.jpg We continue walking for water.

20140621-180132-64892175.jpg The girls reach 800km. The boys have stopped counting!

20140621-180304-64984419.jpg It’s another misty morning.

20140621-180415-65055231.jpgWe pass the older Italians from Genoa having their breakfast. Later we walk with them and one offers to take a photo of ALL of us.

20140621-180634-65194238.jpgFor almost two months life has consisted of walking, finding the albergue, registering, unpacking sleeping bag, taking a shower, doing washing by hand, finding food, eating, journalling, blogging, talking, looking at maps and sleeping. But life has gone on in the rest of the world. The All Blacks thrashed the Poms. Iraq is on the verge of a civil war. 183 are condemned to death in Egypt. Spain has a new king. And the rubbish collectors are on strike in Lugo.

20140621-181352-65632769.jpg Thunderclouds gather all over the globe as life goes on.

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Destination: Lugo (where Tessa had her arm put in a plaster cast on the last trip and we saw none of the old Roman city! This time we walked round the walls)
Distance: 23.4km
Cumulative Distance: 1,112/812km
188km for the girls to go to 1,000
Weather: cooled down to 25 degrees and another thunderstorm breaks when we are in the cathedral being awed by the paintings on the ceiling and listening to the organ

20140621-211800-76680949.jpgDinner: empanada and salad, rice pudding