Distance to go: 92.8 Kms
Yesterday, whilst sitting having a beer in the evening sunshine by the church watching the world go by a German lady called Sylvia who we have met on and off for the past 5 weeks wandered by and Mark our marine friend. So we sat and had another beer until the sun went down behind the surrounding buildings and it got rather chilly. We talked about the thrashing of Brazil 7-1 by the Germans. Sylvia gave me a wristband in the German colours to wear instead of my Brazil football shirt. We talked about what to do in Santiago. We all agreed a soak in a bath would be a high priority.
It was a warm and humid night. Neither Debbie nor I slept particularly well. With some reticence we got up at 6am and left our accommodation at 06:30 in search of a cafe for breakfast. We found one populated by noisy Spaniards. Why do they have to shout so much?
We left and rejoined the path down by the reservoir descending the steps we climbed at the end of yesterday. This morning it was abundantly clear that a great many more pilgrims were on the path having joined yesterday in Sarria. We did not see them yesterday as we were ahead of them. They caught us up in Portomarín. As far as you could see the path was very busy. There was no peace or quiet. I think those days of walking alone are over. I preferred the tranquility of the path a few weeks ago to this. Some carried radios playing music whilst others talked incessantly. I like to hear the birds. Not today.
The path started a long and steady climb up into woods. Dappled sunlight lifted our spirits and for a brief 10 minutes we were on our own. It was wonderful. A stiff North wind kept the day cool. It was a walk of 7.8 Kms along woodland paths and roads to the first tea stop at a cafe in Gonzar. What a little goldmine that place was. It was packed full of pilgrims.
We walked alongside the road and on minor roads for more than half the day passing the hamlet of Castromaior and into the aptly named hamlet of Hospital. So called as it used to have a pilgrim hospital here in ages past. Nothing is left except a large dairy farm.
We continued only 1.4 Kms to the next hamlet of Ventas de Narón. Here the strangely named Casa Molar provided sustenance in the form of tea and a bocadilla Francesca. This is basically half a french baguette with an omelette stuffed into it. The freshly made omelette was hot and slightly soft and was simply divine. Simple fare for simple pilgrims. It fortified the spirit and powered the legs onwards. Just as we were finishing, our german lady friend Sylvia turned up, took one look at the bocadillo and ordered one herself. They really are good these bocadillos but you do tend to get a bit fed up of them after a while.
We walked on and met Peter and Lynda, a Canadian couple slightly younger than us and started chatting as you do on this Camino. It turns out they are going to take a first cruise on the Queen Mary 2 out of Southampton for his 50th birthday in a few weeks. Small world.
We reached our accommodation. It is a small B+B in the even smaller hamlet of Eirexe which consists of our B+B, a cafe/restaurant and an albergue. Our place is called Pension Mesón and is lovely. It is clean and tidy and we were warmly greeted by the owner. It is miles from anywhere and that suits us just fine. The masses will be staying at the stage end in Palas de Rei. We will avoid the stage ends. Thats where all those starting in Sarria will head for. By stage ends I am referring to the guide books. They break the Way up into stages A to B to C and so forth. From Sarria to Santiago there are 5 stages and that is where the crowds will be. We will stay at half stages that are passed by and thus tend to be much more peaceful. We dont have the facilities the large towns have but we can pick up what we need when we pass through on our way.
We had a basic pilgrims dinner in the cafe across the road from us for €10 each. It was OK. It would not win any culinary awards but it did fill some gaps.
Finally, I have been a bit remiss with my dog of the day. Partly due to the ill tempered nature of the pooches in these parts. Most bare their teeth when I approach and are mostly alsatians. This one stayed put and posed nicely for me. There is no wifi here so you will get this a day late. Until then toddle loo.
Distance walked today: 17.1 Kms