Day Whatever… Is it Five? Arzua to Armenal. 24 km.

  Being the travel professional I am, I made a mistake on the itinerary I created for myself. So today was not 13km, but 24. No worries, the body is less stiff and with little soreness so it’s just one step at a time, and see what happens next. Susan’s feet are a hot mess but she is being a trooper and her new trekking sandals have saved the day.

Last night at dinner we made two new friends; a gentleman from Miami – originally from Cuba – whose name we never did get, and Louise from the UK. Louise also hikes in a Macabi skirt though hers is black and she looks very chic. Conversation over dinner was great. This morning we got a ride back to town to re- join the Camino and Louise took off on her own pace, but we did cross paths a couple of times in the day, and once for cafe con leche at one of the many places along the way. Then there was Patty from NC and her friend Susan from the UK, we had met before and re-met a few times today. Richard, the gentleman from the UK who is on his second Camino, but he does the whole thing, all 700 km. He says the first time was about getting it done; this time it’s about seeing what each moment brings. It’s nice to walk and talk for a few minutes, then continue at your own pace and find the next compadre. Everyone has a fascinating story.

Other than some time alongside the highway in the blazing sun, much of today was delightful wooded paths with eucalyptus and oak trees, birds and farm animals. It’s hot and we’re grateful for any shade we get. We stopped once for the bathroom, and once for coffee. We decided on our lunch stop but the town was so small we blew right past it. Once we realized our mistake we were a brief 3km from our goal so we just kept going. It’s interesting how we just don’t feel hungry. There were a lot of downhills today, and my right knee is starting to feel it. I’m just holding out til the end before I declare a problem.
There were some crowded times; the huge bunch of Irish students appeared, and 6 Italians who sound like a mobile party.but we moved past them and in the end had a long stretch with no one else in sight. Then you worry you’ve lost the path!

Once we got to Amenal we sat and enjoyed our usual pimientos de padron and ensalada mixto, plus cerveca for me, and a tinto de verano for Susan. Delicious red wine mixed with soda water and a slice of orange, Very refreshing; Leo had taught me this from his time in Madrid and I had forgotten.

 Unfortunately when I went to check in there was no room for us. My irritation was high – I was looking forward to an evening with the same fun group I had played cards with a couple of nights ago. But really, whatever happens on the Camino is OK – we were transferred to a nice hotel about 4km away. I’ve showered and settled in – something else will be here for us. Mistakes happen, and no one did this purpose. So important to remember!

Tomorrow is our last day walking. It’s about 5 hours to Santiago with three big hills to traverse. The pilgrims’ mass is at noon, but they say you have to be there by 11 to get in, it is so popular. I doubt we’ll opt to leave at 6am. And anyway, there is another pilgrims’ mass at 730p. Mostly I want to be sure to greet those I’ve met along the way as we arrive in Santiago so I don’t want to be hours behind them. And David, the guide who is not our guide but has been such a good friend throughout. I want to say goodbye, but in Santiago. Plus I’ve promised him my way cool collapsible water bottle as thanks for his help. The guide is everything! And we’ve been lucky to benefit on the side.

It’s all gone so fast! Our only regret is we did not do more than the 6 days. Keep that in mind when you plan your Camino.

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