Looking back on a good day one may be blessed by the gift of an unexpected kindness. By that measure, today was exceptional. If kindness were rain, then we were soaked by a day-long cloudburst.
The treatment and “Buen Camino” that we received upon departing the Albergue this morning was filled with fondness. Once into our walk we passed a lovely home with a mother tending her yard, a young son in tow. She had fastened a small basket filled with fresh fruit next to her driveway gate. There was also displayed a Camino symbol and paper sign with one large word printed, “FREE”. The fruit was her gift to pilgrims walking past her home. I enjoyed a banana and Christine a succulent orange. We tried to pay her but she was adamant in her refusal to accept payment, wishing us another “Buen Camino”.
Later on the path we were the focus of a stampede of children with scouting neckerchiefs. One of them carried a covered pie pan sized aluminum foil container which she presented to us. It was a meal that the group had prepared for passing Perigrinos. We were deeply touched by their urgent sincerity, but had to decline the offer as we had no way of carrying the gift throughout the day. The disappointment in their eyes changed to excitement as I asked if they would pose with us for a picture. I explained to their leader that I would feature the kids and their generosity on my internet post for the next morning. Again, we received a chorus of “Buen Caminos!”
This was a long day. I clocked 22 km at day’s end (a little more than 14 miles). Not so much for some, but the most walking in a single day that I have done since reconstructive surgery on my ankle in 2013. I was tolerating the walk well, except for the start of a blister. A fellow Perigrino gifted me a plaster from her kit to prevent further irritation.
About three-quarters of the way into the day a large insect decided to fly into Christine’s mouth and down her throat. Her choking turned into retching and then uncontrollably “dry-heaves”. This then triggered a massive headache that effectively ended her walk for the day. We entered a nearby cafe where a waitress deciphered what had happened. She contacted a rural cab driver for us and within 20 minutes Chris was on the way to our next Albergue where rest and a glass or two of wine served by the host brought relief.
I continued the walk to conclusion with Dorta, an expatriate from Poland, now a US citizen and scientist residing in Maryland with her husband and 3 sons. She elected to stay over at the same Albergue with us as she was growing concerned with foot pain. Upon removing her boots and socks it was apparent that she was the victim of a number of serious blisters. Our host phoned the local pharmacist and arranged for him to open the pharmacy tomorrow at 10:30 am to treat the injured feet. Tomorrow is Sunday and the ordinarily closed shop is opening only for her. Here in Europe pharmacists are a bit like nurse practitioners. They can diagnose and treat minor conditions, and even prescribe medications if necessary. In Dorda’s case, this is the next best thing to a “house call”.
Today the music of songbirds has been our constant companion. It was a mild 72 degrees with overcast skies, and a constant downpour of kindness.
Peace Everyone! Pete
PS. I almost forgot to mention that Antonio, our host at Albergue Pedra Furada, gave us a private room, ensuite, 25 euros for the night! He also served an excellent 3 course pilgrim’s dinner for 6 euros each, plus beverages. Tomorrow will be a much shorter stage as we wish to spend some time in Barcelos, a small but popular town.