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.
“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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
Cumulative Distance: 1,269/969km
31km for the girls to get to 1,000
Weather: sunny day and evening showers