It is 4 am local time on the 28th as I am typing this. I typically wake up at 4, check email, Facebook, the news, and then go back to bed. However, yesterday ended at midnight without me having written my “Thoughts”, and as extraordinary a day as it was I felt compelled to record it now before any details were lost from my memory.
The day began overcast and rainy. As if to carry that image inside, we had an unpleasant disagreement with the hotel at checkout. We had been quoted one price when we checked in, but were charged a different price by a different person at checkout. This was a first in our experience and could have just as easily have happened in the States as here in Spain. Language played a part as the morning clerk spoke no English, but we struck a satisfactory compromise, paid, and put the unpleasantness (and the hotel) behind us.
The following images are of a Camino waypost that indicates that it is now less than 100 km to Santiago. The large stone post is a 2,000 year old Roman military waypost!
As if to declare a metaphor for the day, the rain ended as we began our walk. It was pleasant and cool, great weather for a hike! We even ran into our friends from Finland, Kirsti and Sirkka.
Our intention was to make it a short day as we had a steep climb ahead of us and Christine was carrying her pack. We felt that 12 km was a reasonable goal. However, we accomplished that by early afternoon and with “gas still in the tank” we continued on another 5 km to the town of Redondela.
Redondela was a dreary and soulless industrial town. There was only one hotel and it was full… “completo” as they say in Spain. The Municipal Albergue was also full so we investigated a couple of the private ones. They mirrored the town and were totally unappealing except perhaps to the bedbugs.
Our “tanks” were now nearly empty, but a call to a seaside resort another 5 km down the road secured a reservation and we pressed onward. Christine was amazing! She had carried her pack the entire day up a steep mountain, back down an even steeper decent, onward over 20 km, and yet retained her good spirits. We arrived at Hotel Antolin and were amply rewarded for the day’s effort. Our room, the view, fresh sea-breeze, pleasant shore, terrace… every detail was exceptional. And then…
… the Camino friends!!! As if we were the focus of a grand surprise party, Perigrinos we had previously met began arriving. There were 9 in all, Irene and her sister Manuela from Switzerland and the rest from Germany. Eight of us, including Christine and I joined on the veranda for drinks, snacks, and a celebration of our reunion. The “party” carried over to dinner where we consumed huge servings of seafood and vegetarian Paella. The wine flowed freely and everyone, Christine included, became surprised at how my tongue loosened… in German! It had become the language of the table and it was as if the floodgates of a prior life had opened for me. It was wonderfully fun as I freed myself from the constraints of “grammatical correctness” and just joined in. Christine was not left out. She began to acquire a vocabulary at a remarkable rate. By the way, Farris from Germany bought dinner and drinks for all of us!
We have all agreed to meet for breakfast at 8 am, only 3 hours from now. I had best return to bed to catch a little more sleep. So of course,…
Peace Everyone! Pete