|Two among many|
We had a very nice stay at Casa Brandariz. Our hosts couldn't have been more accommodating. It was clear they enjoyed being in the hospitality business. I thought it was a nice touch that they shuttled pilgrims both from and back to the Camino without any additional charge (10 kms each way). We finished a very substantial breakfast, packed up, and found our ride back to Arzúa waiting in the driveway. We were off into a morning of heavy mist, just shy of rain. Arriving in Arzúa, we slung our packs, popped open our umbrellas, and pushed off on the Camino. It was just after 9:00, and the pilgrim herd was heading out of town. We slipped in, and adjusted our pace to create a little space for ourselves among the many others stepping along towards Santiago. It always seems that the pace picks up once you are a couple of days out. It is as though the long anticipated arrival cannot be put off for another moment. Robin and I fall victim to this as well, particularly on arrival day, when we are almost at a trot (don't want to miss the pilgrim mass at noon). The mist of early morning finally converted to a continuous light rain by midday. It was warm enough that a rain jacket would have been too much, but the combination of rain pants, and an umbrella was near perfect. I can't recommend the use of an umbrella in warm weather enough. It really is a great solution. Enough said.
We stopped at one of the two bars at the top of the hill in Santa Irene. It was time for a bite to eat, and to get out of the rain for a bit. We had been walking for a solid three hours, at a good pace, and it felt good to get off our feet for a few minutes. The bar was a teeming mass of wet pilgrims that created a hothouse like atmosphere as food and drink orders were passed in a variety of versions of Spanish to harried waiters. Somehow it all worked and orders were filled. One thing that is quite noticeable is that our legs are pretty strong. The hills we have been walking up the last couple of days don't seem to phase us at all. We have been up and down so many hills, for so many days, that I guess we are finally "in shape." I wonder if we will ever feel this way again. Leaving the bar we crossed the road just behind a large group of school kids. The trail narrowed and we became a captive audience for a variety of "camp songs" as the throng moved along. This was not going to work if we had to follow this group for anther 3 kms. We looked for opportunities to find a passing lane, and eventually scooted free. We were not going to stop in Arca so we avoided the walk through town. All the school kids, and most others, headed for town as that was where they would spend the night. We pushed on for another 3 kms to a small hotel in Amenal, the next town down the road. This location would chop off a few kms from tomorrow's walk, which is forecasted to be rainy as well. Robin and I have just returned from the hotel restaurant where many mud splattered cyclists, and walking pilgrims have been seeking shelter, and something to eat and drink. Tomorrow will be a wonderful day for us regardless of the weather. One thing Robin and I have agreed to do is that upon arrival in Santiago, we will change from our (now tattered) hiking boots to sandals, and drop the boots in the first rubbish bin we pass. They have done what they were purchased to do (thank a God), but soon it will be time to look for some other footwear. What a treat. More tomorrow from Santiago. We are so close.
|Bars filled to overflowing|