We felt like the legs of a caterpillar. Indeed, we looked somewhat like a caterpillar, a human one squirming our way along the path. We, the five of us, had set off fairly late having lingered over cups of medicinal tea and taken silly photos. We were just commenting on how nice it was to be walking alone without anyone else in sight when suddenly a group of about fifty people marched up behind us. Within minutes we were swallowed by them and found ourselves marching along in step with them – the human caterpillar out to catch other unsuspecting pilgrims.
(this is but a teeny-tiny portion of the group, just overtaking two backpack-wearing pilgrims, who valued their lives and waited for traffic to pass before crossing the road!)
Which reminds me….yesterday as we entered Sahagun Levi had excitedly called out, “Snake, it’s alive!” A car mechanic raced over to see what the fuss was all about and called his colleague to view “Una cobra!” Well, if he was about to call it a cobra, I decided not to question whether it was actually just a large worm or not! 😉 It was about the thickness of a pencil and a bit longer, and it writhed and wriggled about, so the snake count increases to 4 alive, 1 dead.
Back to today. For ten kilometres we walked as part of the insect. Our curiosity overtook our poor Spanish skills and we discovered this group was walking to the same destination as us, then taking a bus to the next place they would walk from. They would cover a good distance this way. Actually, truth be known, for a group of evidently retired folks, they were covering a good distance under their own steam – they were walking in excess of 5km an hour – in fact, their little legs (this is not being rude – it is merely being descriptive – they were all short!!) were going at a fair clip and if ever one of them stepped off into the bushes (or the middle of the picnic area – sigh) to relieve themselves, they ran to “catch up” again. And they talked non-stop.
At the first bar we came across, we took a break and let the horde get ahead of us. Unlike some pilgrims, we don’t object to sharing the path with non-backpack-carrying, bus-taking walkers, but we just didn’t care to join them!
It would be fair to say that by lunchtime we were starting to understand the bus-takers better;-) However, the problem is you don’t know that a section is going to be downright boring until you’ve finished walking it – so how would you know when to take the bus? And if we had taken the bus today, we would not have seen a big green lizard or heard frogs croaking or marvelled at the long line of trees.
It is also likely we would not have noticed the mountains in the distance – no longer just far away to the right of us, hazy silhouettes, but some now appearing much closer and clearer. We suspect these are the ones we will be climbing in under a week as we head northwards! We doubt we’ll be up as high as the snow that still lingers, but the kids remain hopeful!
When the frogs and lizard have failed to really make up for three hours of admittedly mundane walking, there’s nothing like a bit of self-made celebration to break the monotony and hitting the 400/700km marks seemed a good reason to do so.
Cumulative Distance: 702km
298km to go to 1,000km (which we should reach somewhere round Grandes de Salime which is a middle-of-nowhere spot in the mountains)…..then there will be another 200km or so to make it to Santiago depending on which route we decide to take, and a further 100 or so to walk to Muxia and Fisterra on the coast, the sea being an appropriate ending for a walk-for-water (doing this extra route would also mean that the girls walk the full thousand as well as the rest of us, which understandably has some appeal for them)
Weather: cool wind blowing, but not howling all day