“Even though we’ve not worried about getting a bed other nights, somehow it’s nice to know it’s not a concern on the Primitivo.”
I had spoken too soon. We arrived and there were only three beds left. In fact, we didn’t even get up the hill to the albergue. A guy who has been walking the same stages as us and hence staying in the same places told us not to bother going up and suggested we go to the bar up the next hill in the village and ring for a taxi to take us back to whence we had just come.
Kind thought, but we don’t give up so easily. The kids suggested walking on (even though it would be another 8.8km and we’d already done 31.4). I suggested going in to see if we could top and tail or find some other arrangement.
A very kind Dutch gentleman took control of the situation and urged us to at least nab the three remaining beds before someone else turned up! He then found a couple of mattresses stacked up against the wall and urged us further to get up to the bar as quickly as we could to register. The kids fair ran up the hill!
There we met our first laid-back don’t-follow-the-rules Spanish lady. She even told us we didn’t need to fill in the pilgrim book and could stay for free seeing as there were not enough beds. We paid anyway – we’ll get a mattress on the floor, a shower, use of the microwave and a roof over our heads, won’t we? When Ella-Rose and Levi went to the bar later on an errand, she gave them each a big bar of chocolate!
These were not the only kind people we met today.
As we were peacefully ambling along a forested path, the almost-silence was broken by the revving of a tractor coming straight towards us. As the path was not wide we bashed the long grass with our poles to alert any snakes and then jumped into it and out of the farmer’s way. But the farmer slowed his machine and then turned the key and when all went quiet, he spoke.
Hello. How are you?
Hello. Very well thank you. And you? (Levi was quick off the mark with good manners and impeccable Spanish!)
Very well. Are they all your children?
Hmm, four. Where are you going? To TIneo?
Yes. And Santiago.
That’s a long way. Tineo is three kilometers.
Thank you. (coz what else do you say to someone who has stopped their work to share a kind word with you?)
Then when we got to Tineo and found a panaderia where we could buy two loaves of bread, the lady gave each of the children a biscuit and threw an extra in the bag for me. She also rapped on the window and pointed out that we had turned the wrong way out of her shop and missed the camino sign.
On the other side of town – when we had not stumbled across a supermercado or even a little grocery store – I asked a guy where I would find one. He must have been thinking about the fact that we wouldn’t possibly want to backtrack, because his directions were for the next town, 12km away! We, however, were rather keen to pick up provisions to eat on the way and so we followed instinct back into town!
Food purchased and toilets used, we had only to refill our water bottles, and that we did at the fountain at the edge of town. As we were filling and sampling the delicious spring water, an elderly man shuffled up with his bottle to fill. He would have been born before this town got a piped water supply (1929 I seem to recall the sign said) – it is not inconceivable that he has been filling bottles from this spring his whole life. He, too, wanted to know where we were walking. The answer seemed to astound him. It’s actually only a couple of hundred kilometers from here. It made me wonder if perhaps he has not travelled very far in his lifetime.
And so the day continued with chance encounters and conversations, both we people we have never met before and others, like the Venezuelan couple or Veronica from the Czech Republic or the Italian guys, who are becoming camino-friends. We talked, too, about mutual camino-acquaintances – the kiwi couple we met last night (who lives only ten minutes away from us in NZ!), the French lady who advised us where to stay on this route, the big group of Russians we’ve all got ahead of.
It was a day of immense beauty in the landscape and kindness in encounters.
Distance: 31.4km (although I forgot to turn strava off and noticed it was up to 34.5km after a bit more wandering around!)
Cumulative total: 978/678km
That means 22km to go until the boys and I reach 1,000!! Anticipation really started growing this afternoon, and they were almost as excited as before we even left home!
So we decided we need to do something special. We expect to reach the goal sometime between noon and 2pm local time (it depends how quickly we walk – everyone is saying tomorrow is he hardest day on this camino so maybe we will slow down). We will be in the middle of nowhere, but IF we have a phone connection we will try to post a photo on facebook. So if you love us and live in NZ, you’ll have to stay up til midnight to jump about as excitedly as the boys at the exact moment that we are! Grandpa is excused, because he’ll be on a plane winging his way to India!
Weather: 10 degree start, brilliant sun by mid-morning and cooling breeze – todo perfecto!
Dinner: microwaved pizza, then bread and jam – adequate, even if not healthy or tasty