PEDROUZO

Excitement is building.

I can’t help feeling the excitement of the thought that we are going to do this. We are going to finish this task of mine. I don’t think it was Ann-Marie’s task until she got here. I think she has taken it on, she has felt the warmth of the peregrinos. She is a peregrino.

We are two stages away from Santiago. You can feel the mood of the other peregrinos changing as they are nearing their goal. Some, the ones who have done this before, know exactly where they are and what lies ahead. For us it is new land, new paths, new sites.

Today we leave Ribadiso in the early hours of the morning, darkness broken by many starlight torches bobbing through the trees and the dark winding lanes.

We stop a couple of kilometers from Ribadiso for breakfast. My mind dwells on my feet, quick kick against the ground – there’s still life in them. Toe pain seems to be just a constant, which is ok – it’s not getting any worse at least.

We don’t linger long after our coffee and croissants with more of the lovely freshly squeezed orange juice. Quick smoke and we’re off. Climbing into the twisting lanes. We have mastered the rhythm of the hills. We stomp in perfect harmony, neither of us looking at each other, just marching our way up and up. Then, as if we had been carried up that last hill, we were levelling off. Our legs started to ese and we started to enjoy our walk again.

We walked through tree lined paths, eucalyptus trees on both sides. Wooded areas gave us plenty of cool shade. It wasn’t particularly hot but I find it a lot easier to walk when it is cool.

We were in another of those good places where we didn’t really feel hungry so we didn’t want to stop for lunch just for the sake of it. We walked around 13 km and then decided to stop at a roadside café at a place called Salceda. Another Tuna bocadillo between us and a couple of cervezas. While I was sitting drinking a real proper pilgrim passed by. It was a young monk, in full heavy woolen habit in dark brown. I really felt for him as it was getting pretty hot in the early afternoon sun.

We were off again. It seemed we both had slotted into our pace fairly quickly after lunch and, before we knew it, we were coming into Perdouzo, our last overnight stay of our walk.

We walked up through the town past the cafés, already tending to the peregrinos who were already there. We bumped into David, the Scots/Canadian with the short attention span and the fondness for cats.

Our albergue was right at the end of the town. This was ok as it meant that tomorrow we would have slightly less to walk. Funny how you fool yourself with this sort of stupid logic.

The albergue had a bath. I think AM nearly cried. The thought of relaxing in a bath at home never really appeals to either of us but here – stand aside, I’m going in.

Being the perfect gentleman I decided to test the size and comfort of this bath before AM. If fitted perfectly. One of those little half-baths but I must say it was lovely.

When I had finished I must say it took a bit of effort to remove the line that appeared in the bath from somewhere. Surely that wasn’t all me was it.

AM followed me and, as far as I know there must have been the same sort of ring around the bath. You do tend to get rather dusty and dirty just walking. She said she absolutely loved it. We hoped our hotel in Santiago had a bath as well.

I met a couple of Irish ladies who, again, were as obsessed as the other female peregrinos with my kilt and the under apparel. I felt used and just like a piece of meat. Still I kept my dignity and gave nothing away.

I must say I might have missed some sleep that night. Like a kid waiting for Santa, tomorrow was going to be a special day.

About CJ

Setting out 1st September to walk El Camino. I am walking the French Way and starting at Logroño. My wonderful wife is joining me at Sarria to finish the walk with me.
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