Friday, August 10, 2012

Day 36 Camino de Santiago Aug 10 Palas de Rei

I can't believe that I'm within 65 K of Santiago.  Bit by bit, step by step.  Someone said that it is over a million steps from St. Jean Pied du Port to Santiago.  The other day from Vega de Valcarce  to O Cebreiro, was straight up a hill.  I looked at a map and there were four towns along the way.  I decided that if I could only focus on the first town, then the second, and so on, I'd compound effect my way to the top.  The only problem was that I couldn't remember the names.  All I knew is that one had a bunch of R's , and another needed some consonants.  So I remembered them like this - Ronnie Harrison and Firechief  Lovell.  Once I got to the R town, it was on to the H town.  That is how this whole trip has been.  It is tempting with the end so close to try and bull rush it, but nope, I'm going to continue as I have.
      This is the front of the South African's Albergue.  Behind the giant doors it opened into a beautiful courtyard and then a very well done rehab of a farmhouse!  Gorgeous.  The owners, Gordon and Judy ran a very clean, easy going and spacious albergue!!
     You can tell the people who are relatively new to the Camino because their feet still hurt.  These two  are from Leon and the older man is from Valencia.  The young guy is an engineer and she is a piano teacher.  The older man is a saxophone teacher!

    For dinner we had homemade chicken curry, compliments of Gordon.  The two on the far right are from Slovakia and the older man on the far left is from France.  The two to the front right are from Venice. He's and engineer and she is a student.

   I complimented Gordon on having a menu that was flawless, which is a joke because English is his first language.  He was telling me that many of the restaurants rely on Google Translate but it doesn't always translate accurately.  For instance, in local jargon, "pulgas" means small sandwiches.  But on Google Translate it means "fleas"  So this menu of a restaurant nearby has not only hot fleas, but cold fleas!!

   Okay now for a trip into scatology.  After dinner I went for a walk and what did I see (and smell), but the biggest cow pattie of all time.  That's a size 12 shoe folks and this pattie dwarfs it.  But what amazed me is that, if you look at the scatter pattern, it looks like it fell straight down from... a helicopter??!?!
     From the ghastly we go to the glorious.  I left about 8:00 this morning and the early morning was beautiful.  The cool air tends to keep the cow smell down considerably!  There is a river nearby which helps to contribute the moisture in the air!
        Everytime I walk through the farm area, I think, how can this country be going broke??  It seems as if every arable acre of land is being cultivated.  Something is wrong, very wrong with this picture.
      The town of Portomarin may look like a new city... and it is.  It's what I call a TVA town.  The original town was completely buried under water when the dam was completed.  the government rebuilt the town up on the hill.  Wasn't that nice of them!!
   I don't know how long the bridge is but it had be practicing all kinds of maneuvers to avoid getting scared.  I do not like heights, but I know that I'm safe as I'm walking, but I keep imagining weird things happening... and it was a long long long way down to the river.  I'd look up from time to time to see the other side and it never seemed to be getting closer.  What's up with dat!??!!?
     Once I got to the other side, I went to a restaurant of a friend of Gordons and had bacon and eggs, but no cake or coffee.  I felt better as I walked today, but I will be even better when I just have fruit!
The river was gorgeous as it snaked it's way around the bend.  Made me want to have a canoe and paddle to wherever it was headed.

    Lot's more families on the Camino now for the final few days.  These two kids were hopping and skipping...little brats!!  No, they were cute.  At one point one had his arm around the other's back and I thought, "After a couple days that arm will be around his throat!"  But for now, they like each other.  They had exact matching outfits, down to the canteens.  Parents - don't do that!!!

    The trail went in and out of the sun today, but sometimes the shade was so thick that it formed a tunnel.
     I came to one little town and there was a grumpy man working behind the bar.  I know why, he has an ant problem!!!

   He has an ant problem and I have a wifi problem.  No wifi in town except at this little hole in the wall store that only has vending machines and stools bolted to the floor.  I sat for a minute but the connection was horrible.  I did find a better wifi connection at a bar, so I'll type until it's time for dinner which is at 8:00PM.

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” 
 Oscar Wilde