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).
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.
charity: water campaign….four days to go
Distance: 29.2km (but five was round town, so doesn’t count)
Cumulative Distance: 1,236/936km
64km to go girls!
Weather: humid afternoon