Reunion II and a Half
June 21, 2012
It's raining. It was raining last night pretty hard and it's still coming down this morning. No early risers in this room of four; I'm surprised when I wake up that it's almost 6:30am. Christiana says she wants to go back to bed, but I'm up and getting ready. The one thing I've been carrying that I haven't used/worn is my rain pants, a lightweight shell that keeps my pants underneath from being soaked. Today, even though it's not pouring, I'm wearing them. As I'm taping my toes on the patio, I see Kathy and Lyn go by and wave.
Last night, Mary was only 12km ahead. I text her and ask if she wants to meet in Arzua, only a 15km walk for her. When I catch up to Kathy and Lyn, I find they're heading to the same place. Reunion tonight!
In the meantime, I'm walking in the rain through the green countryside reminding me of Oregon… except for the eucalyptus trees. The trail goes through forests of them. They're not native to the area but were brought in for lumber. When I reach Melide, a larger city, I see truckloads of them rolling through town. The stands of trees have a wonderful, fresh scent and I am breathing deeply this morning.
The sun is coming out when I reach Melide. I remove my raingear and have a coffee. A couple of pilgrims come up to sit next to me. These guys (actually a man and a woman) have a kind of wild-woodsman-Rip-Van-Winkle-I've-been-to-Hell-and-back kind of look. They tell me they've been on the Camino Primitivo, a route that parallels the Camino Frances that we're walking. For some, the Camino Primitivo is the “true” Camino and is generally regarded as the most difficult for walking, going up and down hills and avoiding the cities instead of through the “easier” passes of the Camino Frances. Supposedly, there are amazing views and different and beautiful monasteries and churches to visit. This couple told me that they had walked the Camino from LePuy in France three times and once from Seville in the south of Spain, but after this, they were done. A guy I met later in the day said, “There are three types of people: 1) those who have never done Camino, 2) those who have done Camino, and 3) those who have done Camino Primitivo.” Bravo, Ironmen and women, but I'll stick with Group 2.
Mary's ahead of me and we text back and forth in the next few hours as to where we should stay. I suggest a private albergue from my guidebook and she will head that way. I text Lyn and Kathy and tell them our plan – maybe we'll see them there, too.
After Melide, I've been feeling my shoes rub on the back of my heel. I'm smarter, now, though, and stop to apply a little tape to the red spot. I am NOT getting any more blisters! In Arzua, I find Mary has reserved a bed (lower bunk!) for me and while I'm laying out my stuff, who walks in by Lyn and Kathy. We all shower and then go out to a Pilgrim Menu lunch at a recommended restaurant. It's always good to go to a place where it is not just pilgrims, but locals eating there. We share fried fish and pork knuckle and bites of each other's dessert. I love a group that shares!
Lyn and Kathy move on and Mary and I go to the local panaderia (pasty shop that serves coffee and drinks) and have um, coffee and drinks and catch up on the last week since we've seen each other. This takes about three hours and as we walk back, we see Lyn and Kathy having G&T's in the square. I bow out and head back to the albergue to do some writing before bed. I'm the last one to bed in our room of eight. It's all girls, though, and the attached bathroom just for us is a luxury. No snorers tonight (well, Kathy snores a little bit!) Tomorrow is our last full day of walking before we arrive in Santiago.