My Life as a Traveler

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.



7 responses

  1. Brad

    I remember those eucalyptus forests, and how they smelled in the rain. It was such a pleasure just to breathe. G&T’s? No entiendo esto. Explicame por favor.

    July 3, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    • Yes! Gin and Tonics, which, surprisingly, is a popular cocktail choice with quite a few people I met. There are many somewhat exotic combinations of different types of gin and different types of tonic (who even knew there were different types of tonic?). I’m more of a Tinto de Verano (Summer wine – red wine and lemonade with some orange and lemon slices) gal myself.

      July 3, 2012 at 9:52 pm

      • Brad

        Yo prefiero sangria o un vino rojo de mucho cuerpo. In Italiano se dice “un grosso rosso”. Well, at least the tonic will help prevent malaria. Thanks for the explanation. I retire the end of September and look forward to my Camino experience next Spring. I have seen The Way probably a dozen times and given a copy to both daughters and my Mom. Your blog has been very affirming to me that I really need to do this. Having a hard time speeding back up, now that you’re back?

        July 4, 2012 at 7:24 pm

      • Tu hablas espanol muy bien! Just from the blog chats I can tell that you will really get a lot out of your upcoming Camino. Just saw The Way again last night and even though they took some liberties with locations (that’s NOT how you leave Burgos), there were many places that brought back great memories. And yes, it is hard to get back into the groove, although I have basically cleared my schedule for the entire month. One of my best take-aways from the Camino, however, is the thought that, even though I can see the next village from where I’m standing, it will still take one step at a time to get there, and to worry about anything else except for that step is folly.

        July 4, 2012 at 8:44 pm

      • Brad

        I should have said un vino tinto. Before I was drafted into the Army my goal was to be a high school Spanish teacher. I got to use it a lot for the 3.5 years I was the Command Surgeon for US Army South, with trips all over central and south america (too much time in Colombia, thank you very much). In colombia I learned the words “secuestrado” kidnapped, “Blindado” armored as in un coche blindada, and escopeta, shotgun. In front of the Cajas automaticas there is un guardia with a BIG escopeta to make sure you do not get robbed as soon as you take your money out. I also did 2 lab inspections of the navy hospital in Rota Spain, close to Sevilla. Sevilla is my favorite city on the continent of Europe. London my favorite in the world. In a perfect world I would work as a tour guide for european tours, having lived there 9 years (7 years Germany and 2 years Italy), not to mention 18 months in Turkey, another wonderful place to explore. Hope to meet you some time. Come to our fellowship in Newport News. I will be giving a talk on Pilgrimage to our adult RE class 19 august. Nos vemos!

        July 4, 2012 at 11:07 pm

      • Si, vino tinto! Whew, I’m so glad that there was not the necessity to use secuestrado or escopeta (especially together!). I love the flamenco in Sevilla and the neighborhoods in London. Back in the day, I was offered a tour guide gig at Collette Tours, the combination of your experience and passion might be really attractive to them or a company like them. Thanks for the invite – I’m not sure I’m in town then, but if I am, I’d be glad to come – you’re at the UU, right?

        July 5, 2012 at 1:44 pm

      • Brad

        Yep. UUFP. I will talk about pilgrimage in general. In various faiths like the Haj in Islam, then finish with el camino. I will show a couple of clips from.The Way. Your comments would be welcome as well as any pix you would like to share. Hope to meet you soon.

        July 5, 2012 at 2:07 pm

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