Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Almost Too Close…

Wednesday July 22nd: I realise that my pilgrim days are coming to an end and I am in a mixed mood about getting to Santiago now. There is an albergue half way at Teo which allows me to postpone my entry for one more day and so this is my plan for today.

A noisy lot are up early. They are downstairs from the loft where most of us are still sleeping having already woken everyone up with their phone alarms anyway.

Just a little word: You don’t need to wake up exactly at 5:30 but even if that is your choice, please, remember, you are not the only one it will wake up. You would think that this would be obvious, but apparently no. It seems to be a 21st century pilgrim thing as I don’t ever remember anyone doing so in 1999. Plastic bags, yes, but… Try this instead, tell yourself “I will wake up at….” And you will. Seriously. And everyone else who doesn’t want to join you in the dark (no need on the Camino Portuguese anyway) can carry on having sweet dreams of flower-trimmed and shady pathways beside dancing streams glistening in the silver rays of a sunlit morning…

It is tipping down with rain. I know better by now. It will clear once the sun comes up (it does, more or less). I hear some of them complaining about the weather and someone suggests catching the bus (from Padron to Santiago....!) I am the last to leave as always but the rain has settled to a drizzle.

As it is, I have to say this was by far my best day walking. Not in spite of the rain, but because of it! I have wrapped my feet in the plastic remains of the sheets they give you in Galicia (serious bedbug protection, but seemingly not recyclable: something very seriously needs to be done about the state of recycling in Galicia as the only place I saw it done was O Porrino and there it was too much: i.e. where do you recycle used tissues, rather nasty toe plasters etc...)

The plastic feet solution works very well. I am walking alone and singing in the rain the whole way. I pass through tiny "aldreas": villages of a sort where there are perhaps 10 inhabited houses. People are remarkably friendly, perhaps more so because of the rain. No doubt they think I am crazy and perhaps I am. I splash my face in El Esclavitude (a Holy Fountain my guidebook says) and pray for sun tomorrow - today is fine as it is (I get my wish).

It is quite possible to walk directly from Padron to Santiago but if you don't have to rush, why? The albergue in Teo is lovely and well kept and from there you can still walk and catch the Pilgrims' Mass the next day (though they won't read out your starting point and country until the day after you receive you Compostela, so take your time).

Karen is being entertained by Yugo from Italy. Katrina is nursing her bad knee upstairs. I claim a bunk in the corner by the window (I am told later that Yugo has delegated that "this side" is for the snorers, so I have chosen well).

Now, with the rain coming out of Padron, I have forgotten to top up my coffers in Padron and find that after a coffee in Esclavitude I have 3 euros to my name. I resolve to bread and water once more but it is not to be. While Yugo is making Karen laugh at who knows what - he speaks 5 languages), dinner is being prepared. Once it is completed, Yugo announces to all that they are to come to eat. I tell him that I have only 3 euros and he shrugs his shouolders in a "somos todos peregrinos" gesture. The Big Supper Build Up is followed by the Big Supper: tortilla, (stuck on the pan but who cares), salad, potatoes, wine. It is wonderful to be part of a group again, something I have really missed on this Camino. We are three Spanish: one, Fernando from Mos in Galicia, where I have recently visited, two Vascos; three Italians from the south of Italy, the irrepressible and International Yugo from Milan, two Austrians, and me from.....?

Fernando, who initially seems very reserved, experiences a metamorphosis after dinner. He says he loves the Ferias. He explains in great detail how he loves to dance and will dance with anyone. Yugo takes great pains to get this translated into Italian. I lean over to Karen and say: "In other words - he's a "party guy"!

This needs no translation and makes everyone laugh.

Since I have no money, I do what everyone jokes about: I do the washing up and refuse all offers of help. When I go off to bed, and quite late, Yugo is teaching Katrina some sort of card trick which requires she has to leave one hand behind her back. This turns out to be a lot more difficult than it seems and makes Karen laugh as she has been caught with a similar sleight of hand trick involving a pen (don't ask me) some time that afternoon. I find out the next day that Yugo had begun his pilgrimage the same day that I did from Porto, only his was from Lisboa!!!

The Vascos are getting ready to leave early and are apologetic as they don't want to disturb me. I tell them that I will be thinking of them walking in the rain from my nice cosy sleeping bag. It has been a very good evening of the sort I have only too rarely experienced on this Camino Portuguese.

No comments:

Post a Comment