There are times on the Camino where you can walk for a very long time by yourself; then you get collected by a person or a group and you just flow along with them, the proverbial twig in a flood. Today saw a lot of both, and I’m grateful for it.
The Camino has quite the grapevine, and many of our friends were aware of Paula’s Covid diagnosis. They all said to tell her they were thinking about her. We’re only a few days away from the finish line, and some of these people have been on The Way for weeks. To have it end so late in the game is inconceivable, it’s unfathomable. Peter and Maritta from Ireland walked with me for a while. Cindy from Germany asked about her. I sped up a bit and walked for a good couple kilometers with the Tiny French Woman, who is in amazing shape, appears to be running this thing and the only reason we ran into each other is probably because she stopped to climb a mountain or something (not even kidding there). Our Italian Squad chatted for a while. They even came back and walked my last kilometer with me. I don’t know if there’s anybody more friendly on the entire Camino than Alessandro from Italy (although the New York Yankees cap has to go).
After Sarria, I’m seeing more dogs on the Camino. It’s a major topic of discussion on the message boards because people Re bound and determined to bring their dogs along. I think it’s a mistake. You can’t find a place to stay with a dog, the dog has generally been miserable, and the working dogs on the Camino have been known to attack them. That being said the little black and white dog in the below pictures was having a whale of a time.
Lunch was in Melide, at a little locals-only pulperia. Pulperia means the regional specialty, octopus. And boy it is really good. I sat outside at an empty table, but apparently it was somebody’s regular table, because three 60-something Spaniards took the other three chairs and sat with me. They talked around me as if I wasn’t there, but they were having fun, smiling and laughing, and it was good to be around. I wouldn’t even have minded if they were just making fun of me. Leaving Melide, I ran across a farmer’s market. Two Euros buys a lot of cherries.
Serious walking after that. At 29 kilometers, much of it uphill, this was my longest stage. Adding in the city walking, and I’m over 19 miles and 42,000 steps today. The sad news is, I left my FitBit charger at the albergue two stages back; they are mailing it to our place in Santiago, but I may lose out on steps the final day. We shall see if the battery holds!
In Arzua, I met Suzanne from Canada. She’s 68 and on her third Camino. And I had dinner with one of our favorites, Maria from Germany. She was one of the very first people we met on our Camino. Her patience with us on that day won’t be forgotten and she has proven to be a good friend throughout these stages. She will be missed.
Tomorrow is a relatively short stage to O Pedrouzo. Then, on to Santiago. It’s weird to think, with only two days left, there’s a chance I won’t see some of these people ever again. And you have to be really close (or haha pretty drunk!) to trade contact or even social media information. Part of the Camino is the “living in the now” aspect and these people aren’t really a part of our normal lives. On to O Pedrouzo. Buen Camino.
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