Saturday, November 7, 2009

Palas De Rei to Ribadiso

I love the way they leave the cabbages grow and just keep plucking the leaves they need for Soupa Galago. The 'standard cabbage' is a much more aristocratic thing than the regular cabbage

Of cabbages and Kings-Galician Cabbages

Take a 'foot break' at the bridge at Ponte Velha just before the climb up to Melide - pilgrim after pilgrim trudges past and there is real sense of a substantial body of pilgrims-I don't get time to look at each face in a group because they are so many of them. What must it have been like with the Camino at its medieval peak?- an unbroken chain of people between and through the towns.
The Swedish pastoral group goes by two by two and we nod to each other-the gracious energy saving nod of the truly knackered. Its a steep climb up to Melide but worth it I like the place and the people there. In a paneria a substantial older lady asks why we do 'it'-I indicate what the journey has done to our waistbands- impressed she pretends to pick up my pack and hit the road herself and the lassie behind the counter Frances and myself and the 'Peregrina' all laugh- a lovely moment shared.

There was something a bit 'disco' about the pose but I thought I saw the figure of christ moving as we passed by the crucifix in Melide- it was very hot so may be addlepated

Neither of us feels up to 'pulpo' Melides speciality so walk through to the far side of town. Here we meet up with the singing French party who have been revived by a mostly liquid lunch it seems. They are very jolly and long after they have passed us we hear their songs fading into the distance.

Last of the singing Randonneurs at Melide

Church door Santa Maria de Melide

Just outside Melide met a pilgrim with a donkey returning from Santiago the poor donkey was heavily loaded.
Decide to go for lunch and a siesta 'en plein air' and Frances sources yet another fine spot under a large leafy tree-the light flickering through the leaves is hypnotic and I'm out for the count in seconds.
Paused in Boente to go into the chapel, got some welcome shade and a final pilgrim blessing from the priest there-he was very taken with Frances and gave us little prayers with a photo of the statue of Santiago in the church.
Pretty hot and dusty going so we stopped to have a cold drink in a little cafe with wonderfully shady awnings taking the opportunity to do some blister repairs at the same time. As we're sitting outside with our feet up a very fit looking pilgrim arrives, sits at the table next to us and gets a drink so-we smile at her and raise our glasses to a fellow Peregrina.
She scans us and asks curtly "so where are you from them?" before I have finished saying "Irelan..." she states in a dismissive manner "Ah started in Sarria then ALL the Irish start there". Before I can draw breath Frances comes in with " we started a tad further back than that actually in St Jean Pied de Port ...its in France"! Our presumptive pilgrim tries to compute this information with her preconceptions of 'the oirish' and the image before her of two dusty old ones and fails. But then she throws in "Yeah well I was going to do that but I didn't have the time so started in Pamplona.... and anyway its only 3 days difference". Frances takes off her shades 'fixes' on the woman and, with the 'gentle' smile normally reserved for 'the benighted or terminally bewildered', says "yes its only 3 days..... and the Pyrenees in snow....."
then almost imperceptibly shakes her head, sighs, puts on her shades, settles into her chair, picks up her drink and takes a sip.
I don't know who is more gobsmacked the 'presumptive pilgrim' or me! Our new friend finishes her drink without a word. As she leaves I wish her "Bonne route" and really, really try to mean it......however this induces so much suppressed snorty giggling in the pair of us that I inhale the rest of my drink and nearly choke (which ain't fair as in this instance I was just a support act). When I ask Frances what came over her she replies " I don't know she just got up my nose" and we're off again laughing like eijits......On the basis of today we are now a pair of 'Camino bitches'- I don't think Pilgrim Pride is a quality that Santiago values somehow.
Quite a bit of 'up and downing' for the next couple of kms glad to arrive into Ribadeso a shady river valley and stay there rather than pushing on to Arzua, though it does mean starting the day with a climb tomorrow.

Igrexa Santiago at Boente. Nell with the priest who gave us a (much needed) blessing.


Eva Gallant said...

Lovely and interesting photos!

Rach said...

Hey Nellaunt, I haven't read it all yet. I will do it installments but had a look at the pictures. I really loved the old lady walking past you. Its a great sequence, really evocative. You have had quite an adventure. Rachael and Cormouse, who is asleep on my lay :-) xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

brenda said...

Hiya Nell
Im very impressed , i must show you some photos from my crazy walk up the canal recently. The kids will find your blog very interesting. great stuff Iveagh x woof!

Kiwi Nomad 2008 said...

So was she an English-speaker this acid peregrina? I only once struck someone so dismissive- a German lady a fortnight or so out from Le Puy. She was incredibly self-righteous about the fact I had needed more days than her to reach this town. Next morning, I had a real surprise to see her walking towards me at one point. Turned out she had 'cheated' and not walked all the way. She did have the grace to look a little embarrassed!!!

Pilgrim Nell said...

Margaret I guess we just didn't fit her image of what or how a pilgrim should be? She was very young,very fit, very opinionated and in fairness just happened to be English (we met so many lovely English people-she was the exception that proved the rule). Whatever it was her attitude got up our unfit old Irish though probably just as opinionated noses. Not a pilgrim worthy response I know .........