It is amazing how many people a German comedian has inspired to walk the Camino.
I’ve had a light breakfast and a peek out the door. I’m not optimistic. It is bright enough but the hazy, low hanging clouds are there waiting to pounce. I gamble and dress in normal clothes but leave my rain gear on top of my pack ready for quick deployment if needed. I’m off then.
I’ve met a German lady twice on the trail, once back in Rabanal and yesterday afternoon when walking into Palas del Rei. In our quick discussions the age old question arose: “So how did you find your way to the Camino?” It is amazing how often Hape Kerkling’s book “I’m Off Then” comes up as the answer to that question. She had read it about 10 years ago, forgotten it and now found herself with some time and when deciding what to do, the Camino story came back to her memory. Myself, it was the movie, “The Way“. I watched that and became instantly interested/enamoured. Hape’s book came second for me. I wonder how many non-Catholics like me have started their journey this way.
Again outpaced, I amble along alone through some small hamlets and come upon a quaint church offering a sello. Normally not one to stop I decide to duck my head in today. An old man sits smiling at a small desk as I approach. He is happy to stamp my credential and I in return am happy to leave a few small coins in the offering basket. I know times are hard for the Catholic Church in Spain. Fewer and fewer young men are entering the Priesthood and in many of these small villages in rural Spain there are no Priests on a regular basis leaving the older people left in these areas without their normal services. What I had heard some time ago was that a single Priest would attend to a collection of small Churches over a 4-week rotation. I can’t verify this but can at least leave some gas money behind.
Over the last day or so I have started seeing the unique grain storage buildings in many yards I pass. I was mystified about these my first Camino but was fortunate to hear some interesting facts about them on my second. Now I look forward to seeing them since it means I’m getting close to Santiago.
Today’s trail is peaceful, removed far enough away from the roadways, it is mostly nice dirt tracks going through trees. I wonder if it will ever stop feeling like I am walking through a postcard?
And it’s about now that I walk through my first Eucalyptus forest. I love these giants with their peeling bark. So many of their trunks look like a ‘Paint-by-Numbers’ project for kids. The fragrance isn’t strong this time of year but occasionally I get a nice whiff.
14 kms has come quickly and I’m crossing the beautiful bridge just before Melide. I’m not sure why this one sticks out in my mind but there is something very alluring about it for me.
Up the hill and into Melide, it is time to take care of some important business. Pulpo! As luck would have it, I pass a local Pulpo connoisseur and get confirmation I am headed to the right place.
Mrs. Peregrina and I had an absolutely wonderful lunch here a couple of years ago and I am walking with fingers crossed that the restaurant will be open this time of the year. Many have not so I am anxious on approach. Success! Casa Alongos sits right on the Camino before you hit ‘downtown’ and is the perfect combination of fantastic service and great food. My Pulpo need has been fulfilled, along with a tasty salad with tuna.
Re-energized I hit the trail with 11 kms to go. The profile doesn’t look too tough but looks can be deceiving. Out of the city and back into the trees it’s not long before I reach a very recognizable bridge. I am alone and have time so decide to have some photo fun! I present my version of a ‘selfie’.
Passing through the last town before my destination I see something that catches my eye. This is something I’ve not seen before and quite surprises me. Across the street is an Orange tree… filled with plump, juicy looking oranges… in February! I guess I just always figured the oranges that made my fresh juice were sent up from Valencia. Maybe not?
A few more very steep hills, up and down, and I’ve reached Ribadiso and I am tired. It’s been a couple of long days and I know I will sleep well tonight. A quick meal of Dia’s finest cold cuts, cheese and white chocolate washed down with a some delightful ‘Agua de Mesón Frio’ (cold tap water) and its lights out at 8:00pm.
Distance walked today: 25.7 kms
Total distance walked: 552.5 kms