Saturday, November 7, 2009

Portomarin to Palas De Rei

Up early, we can see other pilgrims getting ready but we seem to be the first 'out of the traps' however leaving town we meet an older American couple who are glad of our head torches as we descend those steps-steeper than inca temples -I don't want to be an early morning sacrifice to Santa Marie de las Nieves so take it pretty slowly.
Its dark as we cross the narrow footbridge and climb up through the woods but then we get the reward of seeing dawn break over the landscape behind us. It reminds me of two things:-Yeats line "as ignorant and wanton as the dawn" and I know I'll be struggling to remember the rest of that poem all day, and the 2nd thing is the commitment I'd made in SJPP to try to 'look back' at the place I was leaving-and I have remembered to 'review' places as I leave (partly as a result for our need for cunningly designed 'pauses for a breather disguised as pauses to take in panorama' ruse)
The slugs and snails all seem to be heading north east this morning and I do mean 'all'- they cross our path by the hundreds. It makes Frances and I wonder what they know that we don't like the animals all heading up country well before a tsunami strikes?
The American couple have a few walking pals, a Scot and an English girl, and we share a coffee and a chat. Mr American has the oldest rucksack I have seen, he did the CF a decade ago but this time he started from Leon and he brought his wife along. That made me think of Stephen walking with me and that made me smile a lot. If we ever did something like that it would be 'together but apart' during the day and then in the evenings we could meet up and share and contrast our days experiences. However the thought of him cooking up a delicious meal with all the trimmings for a table full of hungry pilgrims, like a sort of out of season Santa Claus, is something I'd like to see.
As Frances and I go through our 'preparing to leave ritual' which we have got down to a fine art-this involves one of us checking the others pack,water etc as the one being 'checked' stands obediently and turns on command like a well trained donkey and then repeating with roles reversed-I notice we are being keenly observed by an older pilgrim I haven't seen before-she catches my eye and smiles and calmly goes on watching our preparations.
The path runs parallel to the road for a fair distance but it's screened by a hedge for sections and that helps a good bit. But then its minor roads and tracks-some lovely walking
This De luxe fully sprung dry stone wall with an integrated cooling system and climate control (shade from tree) proved a perfect place for a siesta. Lots of the 'newbies' walking by gave us very strange looks indeed....... they'll learn to get those feet up every 2 hours.

In Palais de Rei We met up with Vis and Viana again the Dutch 'Galloping Grannies'. These gals know how to party and usually get back to the albergue the latest, sleep in the longest and are usually the first to arrive most days....grrrrr but they are great craic.

Galloping Grannies

Also met up with the Swedish church group who started in Samos. We only found out this evening that the very elegant blond lady is the groups pastor! They told us that we were the subject of their group discussion yesterday and that we are their 'Camino Heros'. Well my mother would have been happy, at last I'm the positive subject of church group.
Someone asked "why them?" (which was a little rude..... though in fairness I had been wondering the same thing)
So just in case you want to know the criteria to become a subject for discussion for Swedish Lutheran church groups in the future its because:- we told them yesterday that it hasn't really got easier for us but that we've just got more used to 'stopping the bitching and getting on with it'; that no matter how long or short the distance the last 4 km of the day always kills us; that we haven't had a 'Camino crisis' but that we felt OK about that; that one of our strongest memories would be of laughing every day -from suppressed giggles to raucous guffaws and, best of all, wheezy exhausted giggles; that (God forgive us) Santiago be damned we were as excited as a pair of16 year old schoolgirls at the thought of meeting our husbands (of decades) in a few days time and that was what kept us going; after 800km and five weeks we had the less than shattering realisation that, if given the time and opportunity to appreciate them, everyone turns out to be pretty much OK, even the bloody cyclists! and finally we had 'fessed up' that we were so deeply envious of their 'pretties' last night (nice blouses and silky skirts) that we had seriously thought about stealing them-the only thing that stopped us (me) was Frances' astute observation that they are svelte Swedish giants and we .....well aren't.

Perambulating Pastors

The Albergue Buen Camio is lovely and serves gin and tonics in bucket sized glasses, which is very thoughtful of them. We sat soaking up the sun, sipping G & T's, writing up the journal and catching up with pilgrim friends.

We have a lovely relaxed evening with Anne Matte who we first in Villafranca through Jozephine and Helle another Danish Pilgrim. Its so odd we have been walking pretty much in synch with Helle, in terms of dates and locations etc, and we know people in common but we only caught a glimpse of her for the first time a day or so ago and never met each other before today-that happens quite a bit so many 'parallel pilgrim universes'!
Anne Matte, Helle and Nell outside Albergue Buen Camino Palas De Rei


Kiwi Nomad 2008 said...

I am sure I have read this post before..... but you have me laughing again. Glad you were heroines for the svelte Swedes!

Kiwi Nomad 2008 said...

And I have just quoted some of what you said on my new 'Camino-spirations' blog.....