Time to answer some questions:
Is it lonely? Are there many other pilgrims?
Yesterday we met ten other pilgrims over the course of the whole day out walking and four of them were in one group. So, yes, it’s quiet. Today we walked a while with a guy from Brazil….and later with a Polish guy who is with three Polish girls – he’s been to NZ, we’ve lived in Poland – there were stories to exchange. They were the group of four we passed yesterday. Pilgrim camaraderie is growing – faces become familiar and you start recognizing which backpack belongs to which person. We’ve chatted with Germans and Swiss and South Koreans and Colombians and Canadians and Australians…no, it’s not lonely. But it is much quieter than the Frances route through Spain. (It’s also only our third day)
We heard today that there is a Finnish family ahead of us – the father is blind and has a guide dog, the mother pushes their two children in a stroller. We met them last year on the Frances – maybe we’ll see them again!
Mum, are you wearing a yellow shirt? Actually it’s a high viz vest. In the words of one of the Swiss gentlemen, “Portuguese drivers are fast and don’t give a damn.” That sums up the situation well; the drivers DO hurtle along at speed and as there is a fair bit of road walking, sometimes with barely any shoulder, being seen is a priority. In fact, a fellow pilgrim was run over yesterday, and we don’t want to become yet another statistic.
Is it cold? After last week’s mid-thirties, the temperature drop to 18 today is decidedly fresh! Additionally, we set out in drizzle this morning (which added “slippery” to our cobblestone antics!!) We are certainly grateful to have packed longs and fleeces – and my sleeping bag.
Have you seen any rabbits? Yesterday one darted out from a hole in a stone wall. It was just a young thing, not even as old as Peter Rabbit. It ran ahead of us, then stopped. It darted back and forth across the road, clearly agitated and as desperate as Peter was to get out of Mr McGregor’s garden – only this one wanted to get back IN the garden! In an act of sheer desperation the ball of light brown fur bounded past us, up the road and back through the wall. It was all over too fast to get a picture for you Tessa, but I snapped these goats this morning:
Have you seen any snakes? No, but there are a lot of squashed frogs on the road.
Rob, were you ever actually walking with Rachael? Haha 😀 Photos are proof right?
Actually, we seldom walk side-by-side. Rob has a psychological thing going on that requires him to be in front. And when he’s in front I tend to drop back so that I get a view of more than his backpack! Besides, if you’re on a narrow track or on the road, it’s best to not be holding hands – funnily enough, when we were staging that photo, we had to jump off the narrow road because a truck full of calves came along! And when you see scenic shots with no people in them, chances are, we are standing together;-)
PS details about the day to follow