I get up early well before sun rise. However, I am not the first to wake up and several people have already left by the time I get my self together. Several of us leave together and start walking. It is dark and raining lightly. Glad for my raincoat, it is hard enough to also wear my poncho. As we walk down the dark country lanes a bread delivery man arrives and I buy a loaf of bread from him to munch on as we walk.
We get lost in the dark and meet a Dutch lady who is also lost, a lady out walking her dogs guides us back to where we missed a turn. We thank her, and are sent on our way with "Buen Camino!"
It takes a very long time to find anywhere for coffee this morning. It seems like every mile we have to grind it out, plodding along. No one is very talkative today, the energy from last night takes a while to be left behind. Everything hurts, muscles, ligaments, knees. I truly feel I earn every mile today. We walk into a town over a bridge and this house above is beside the road with the water running under the building, not sure but believe it is a mill of some sort.
Everywhere you walk you are surrounded by history, we cross another Roman bridge as we get towards the end of town.
Only just under 41 km to Santiago de Compostella. Not far at all.
We meet up with Kirsten who is sitting on a wall resting when we come around a corner. It is good to see her. I ask if she has seen Ulrika, but no she hasn't. We all walk on together and I have brunch at a cafe we find. I needed something to pick up my spirits and it goes down well.
We walk beyond our goal today of Pontecesures and the albergue is so different to last night. But I am getting ahead of my self.
We pass fields of pumpkins which surprises me as I never thought of the Spanish as eating or using pumpkins much.
As we walk on the weather has cleared up and we pass some lovely terrain and churches.
The trail is now fun to walk, good friends always lift your spirits. The mood from last night has lifted. and the walk in the afternoon is fun.
We pass a church with a figure of Saint James which has been adorned by multiple pilgrims over time. Everywhere we look there are things we want to photograph.
I loved this view with the three crosses and the hills in the back ground.
Next to the church was a large cemetery, each family had a box/mausoleum where ashes were kept, although some of the boxes, mausoleums I guess were deep enough to take a body I think they only used them for ashes.
Every mile marker is decorated now as pilgrims feel the end is in sight.
We all take photos of almost everymile or rather kilometer marker.
Last night the albergue we stayed in was overbooked, in fact some people had to get a taxi to reach the next albergue arriving so late.
Today, we reach an albergue that is clean, and almost empty and has a much nicer atmosphere.
Kirsten and I walk into town, while a couple of young women decide to cook dinner at the albergue. We find a restaurant and on asking what time they open for dinner are told not till 9.00pm, this is Spain. We look at each other and explain we are pilgrims and we will be asleep by then. They tell us to wait, then come back and wave us in and feed us a most wonderful meal alone in the restaurant.
We then walk back to the albergue where we enter into a long discussion with an elderly American gentleman who has arrived and the two young women who have cooked diner. They offer some to the American but he declines. He tells us all about his family and that he is from Kentucky. One of the young women explains she is transgender, and we talk about what that means and how she feels as she goes through the transformation process. I am waiting for him to make some comment, but at some stage he merely gets up and says "I think I will take that glass of wine now." This is what I like about the Camino, this openess and willingness to listen.
I am not sure if the thought of the end being in sight that allows pain that you have suppresed to come out and be more overwhelming. We decide to book ahead to a hostel for tomorrow so we can walk slowly into Santiago the next day. I walked just over 20 miles today and have now covered 427 miles since starting. Every day I am amazed at how far I have come and what I have acheived.
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