Camino Countdown: 50.5 kilometres!!!
I will begin by admitting that yesterday’s walk was a hard one. Sometimes I feel like my asthma has gotten worse, not better, which seems incredibly bizarre after walking for four weeks. I was reading last night about spiritual disciplines, and how Paul talks about self-control and “mortifying the flesh”. Yeah, I thought, I know how that feels. Just. Keep. Walking. Even when you don’t want to.
Today, by contrast, was a great day! I felt like I could have run all the way to Santiago. I didn’t run, because of the hills and the stones and it would be really dumb to end up with a broken ankle only 50 kilometres away, and I’m also wearing a twenty pound backpack… But I felt like I could have run.
Despite the heat and the 32 kilometres I covered, I was powering up and down hills and I was actually passing people. I am so used to being the one getting passed that it was really odd to be passing people now!
I passed two groups of school kids. I think they were in church-affiliated groups, because both groups had men with clerical collars, and all the adults had hats with a parish name on them. Besides the fact that they liked to walk beside their friends and were hard to pass, they were really cute. There were cries all around of Buen Camino!, even from the youngest.
There is an Italian trio I keep seeing. I saw them first in Foncebadón, and was at the same albergue as them yesterday. This morning they were delighted to meet me at a bar in Palas de Rei, and wanted to know where I was headed. They were happy to know it was the same place they were heading. One of the men accused me of running to best them…
As I said, it’s hard to find solitude on the way now, as there are so many more people. It’s also hard to keep track of the day, so I was astonished to look at my watch and realize that I have been walking for 29 days. Today was the beginning of week five. Wow! It’s also Sunday, which I didn’t realize. But I was glad to find some solitude in a little church and some time for prayer and meditation. (It was only later that I realized it was Sunday, which made me wonder what time the have mass. Probably the evening, though. Just so used to a morning service!)
Melide is famous for its pulpo dishes, which is octopus. Yes , octopus. I actually had pulpo already in Sarria and wasn’t delighted, but a German lady who is my roommate tonight told me you can get pulpo served in many different ways, so I think I’ll be going out to try a different variety tonight.
Finally, as I said in my countdown, I am 50.5 kilometres away from Santiago. I have now booked a hotel, since I know when I’ll be arriving. This is amazing, since it seems just a few short days ago that I had my first day hiking across the Pyrenees. I didn’t know how many days it would take to reach my destination, and couldn’t book anything. And now I’m so close…