You’d never think that a day that started so perfectly would sink to such misery.
We always knew it would be a challenging day. Anything over 35km has the potential to feel a long way. And when children have mucked about the previous evening instead of going to sleep as instructed, odds are high that tiredness will factor at some point during the day. They also get smart tongues when tired, which never assists in the promotion of peace. Add to all that the fact that I had forgetten to purchase breakfast supplies on Saturday (thinking shops in a tourist town would be open on Sunday – wrong!)….and bars were closed when we set out, so we did the first 13km on a muesli bar. Having to wait quarter of an hour until police came and rounded up some runaway horses from the lane we were walking up gave time for tummies to start rumbling and imaginations to fire up. The decision was made that when we got to Cee, we would go to a particular bar we had seen and order bacon and eggs. But it seemed we’d never get to Cee. The walk which had taken only a couple of hours the day before took over three today, and not because of the hill we had been dreading – we actually flew up it with no trouble at all – in fact, it was easier to go up than down! The problem was that we kept seeing people coming the other way and they wanted to talk. Some were people we knew, and an embarrassing number were others who had heard about us and were happy to finally meet us. The chit-chatting was delightful and gave the return journey its own flavour, distinct from any of our other caminos, but it also made us hungry!!
However, we eventually got to Cee….only to discover the bar was closed. My determination to fill tummies with protein was dispensed with and we chomped our way through 28 sugar-coated churros and downed hot chocolates.
Supermarket stop next – bread and cheese and apricots to consume before taking off. Lunch and snacks to pack away for later.
Lots more meeting people – including a sweet chat with a stall holder on the path, who knew that these must be the kids who could cook – word had got back to him that there were kids cooking in the albergue a couple of nights ago (which, for the record, seems to be totally unheard of here – whenever the kids have tried to help with communal dinner cooking they have been shooed out of the kitchen, and people hover over them presumably to prevent the inevitable disaster that is just about to happen whenever they are preparing food!)
Unfortunately during most of the pleasantries there were un-aniseed-able attitudes that turned to tears after a battle of wills – I’ll leave the details to your imagination; just make sure you include an unbelievable dose of contrariness!
And then the rain started. And got heavier and heavier and heavier. For about three hours.
A child interrupted me for the gazillionth time and I retorted that I wouldn’t bother saying anything else. “OK,” he cheerfully replied. I thought of all sorts of equally immature responses, but just ended up deciding I was having the most miserable wedding anniversary ever – even as I thought it, I knew this was not true! We were wet, cold, hungry, homesick, tired, anxious – but we were blessed.
Just when we thought we couldn’t get any wetter we were forced by oncoming traffic to dive into an ankle-deep puddle in a ditch. Unusually for Spain, the truck driver made no effort to move over and our shower increased in intensity! Good thing, because we wouldn’t get one that night;-)
In fact, judging by the number of pilgrims still continuing on towards Fisterra and not stopping, we wondered if we would even get a bed. We started checking albergues before the one we were hoping for – but all were completo. When we pulled in to the one we had been hoping to stay at, it was already 5pm and our hopes were not too high; donativo albergues tend to fill up early any day and anything fills up quickly in bad weather.
There were four beds left – and a couch!
But not only that, the couple running the place turned on a heater and rigged up some broom-handle lines between tables and chairs so we could get our sopping clothes dry. Not wanting to stand outside in the still-pouring rain to wash our clothes, we simply wrung out as much mud as we could and figured we could wash them another day. Shower water was cold, so we figured we’d already had a long one! We can wash ourselves another day!
Chicken wings, croquettes, fries, five bacon and egg rolls…..they appeared on the table and the host looked a little dubious. When we finished he commented, “You were hungry. I didn’t think you could eat it all!” We then had icecreams;-) (and won three free ones!)
As we were eating, a lone drenched pilgrim came in. Someone helpfully told him the place was completo – but this is the same place that let us top-n-tail for our Spanish friends two nights ago, and we knew how overjoyed we were to find free beds tonight, so we jumped up and explained there was one spare bed – we would share beds again!
And THAT is the actual story of today – the post that went up earlier was written two days ago in anticipation of it being our wedding anniversary. The photos were staged yesterday! Today we didn’t take many photos, but decided to tell the real story anyway.
Destination: Ponte Olveira
Cumulative Distance: 1,348/1,048km
54km to Santiago
Weather: cloudy to abysmal
Dinner: a lot!