CAMINO FRANCES – DAY 27

SAN XULIAN – ARZUA

23 APRIL

28.5km

Three more days … Santiago is in sight!

We left San Xulian before sunrise. It’s going to be another scorcher of a day and we will have to cover again close to 30km.

It was a quiet morning as we were walking mostly through woodlands. I saw a blind man walking the Camino yesterday – he had a friend supporting him on the road. After all the amazing views I enjoyed on the Camino, it was hard for me to imagine how a blind person would experience a journey like this. But I suppose, just the fact that he was walking the Camino, was something really amazing … and it made me appreciate my surroundings even more!

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Appreciating another sunrise on our third last day on the Camino

We did not had breakfast at our albergue this morning and were hoping we could get a café open for some coffee. After about 3km we noticed a café next to the road. We were the only pilgrims there and not sure whether they were open, because there was no one in sight.

Just as we were about to walk away, someone came running out and spoke in Spanish for almost a minute! We had no idea what she was saying and just smiled. She blushed and then said in broken English ‘You want coffee?’.

The friendliness and hospitality of the Spanish people made such a big impression on us – something we will always remember.

We ordered our usual ‘café con leche’ and sweet pastries that were wrapped … it’s only on the Camino that you can have something so sweet for breakfast and not feel guilty about it!

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Coffee and chocolate for breakfast

Yesterday I had no problem with my (new) hiking sandals, but today was another story. This is the thing walking with new shoes – it just pressed on all the wrong places and I could feel how new blisters were sticking out their nasty little heads! I was reassuring myself that I could certainly hold on for another 3 days …

After we walked through the next hamlet, O Coto, we crossed another medieval bridge. We saw so many medieval bridges these past weeks that you would think by now the sight of these would be just another landmark. But every time we walk over one of these bridges, I can’t help but think how many people used this bridge for centuries … you literally walk in the footsteps of ancient pilgrims.

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Berto is always willing to pose on yet another medieval bridge

After we walked a short distance next to the main road, we were back again in the woodlands. We hardly saw any pilgrims … this, after we thought back in Sarria, that we will meet many new pilgrims.

We were also wondering where our old pilgrim friends found themselves at the moment. Carl from the USA, John from Ireland and our ‘Three wise men’ from Korea/USA … we knew they were all heading towards Santiago and were hoping to see them again.

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Can you spot the yellow arrow on the tree?

Melide was the next big town we were walking through. It was not as busy as we expected – probably because it was a Sunday. After the quietness of San Xulian, we found the traffic and robots (also known as traffic lights) a bit overwhelming.

Javier, our Spanish pilgrim friend, told us that Melide is well known for their ‘Pulperia Exequiel’ (octopus in English)! He said Melide was the best place to try this delicacy. I must admit, I’m not a huge fan of octopus and maybe it was anyway still too early in the morning to be that brave!

As we walk past one of the many cafés next to the main road, I told Berto that I was in need of a bathroom and maybe another ‘café con leche’. We chosen a café and I left my backpack with Berto to visit the bathroom. When I came back, Berto ordered ‘café con leche’ and something I have not seen before … ‘churros’. This is a Spanish sweet snack that is a strip of fried dough and then it’s dusted with sugar or cinnamon sugar. We loved it so much that we ordered more! So, in Melide we did not try their well-known octopus, but rather delicious ‘churros’!

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Spanish churros in Melide – delicious

After the hustle and bustle of Melide, we once again found ourselves on quiet tracks. We crossed several river valleys and got back in the shaded forest. It was getting very hot and we were grateful for a bit of shade.

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Quiet roads after we left Melide

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Another horreo

As we walked towards Ribadiso over (yet) another medieval bridge, we saw the Xunta albergue on the other side of the river. Some pilgrims were sitting with their feet in the water which looked very inviting in the hot sun.

We also walked past another albergue with a swimming pool and by now the cool water really looked nice. But we rather decided to head on towards Arzua … if we do that, we will walk 3km less tomorrow!

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Hot and humid – on our way to Arzua

It was a steep climb towards Arzua and with about 3km to go, I just had to stop and took off my hiking sandals. My feet were hot and new blisters made it very uncomfortable to walk. So, once again, it was time for my flip flops … oh dear, this walk is now getting just too long!

We decided the previous day to stay in Albergue Ultreia, but as we walked in, they indicated that they were already full. This was the first albergue on our Camino that was full … amazing if you think we have walked for 27 days before this happend! Fortunately for us, the next albergue was just next door and we found Albergue Don Quijote almost empty. It was nice and cool inside and we got the very first two beds.

This was another long and hot day! It was nice to just relaxed under the shower and to put my feet up at the restaurant next to the albergue where we had the most welcoming beers of this journey (I might be saying this after almost every day’s walk!)

As it was a Sunday, the streets were quiet and we only saw people at the restaurants next to the main road. Arzua almost had a depressing atmosphere and we were wondering whether it was because it was a Sunday or whether we were just tired of all the walking.

With our laundry done, we relaxed in the court yard of the albergue. Since a week ago, I started to developed a runny nose and uncomfortable cough. Maybe my body is telling me it is time to take a break. But there is no time for that, because it was now only 40km to Santiago and come rain or shine, I will finish this Camino!

Dinner time – a highlight at the end of each day!

We had dinner at a restaurant close to our albergue. There was a live soccer match (or football as it is called here) on the TV and the restaurant was packed with (Spanish) people. We did not know the teams and just enjoyed our food and a bottle of red wine.

We were only a handful of pilgrims in the albergue and it was quiet when we turned into our sleeping bags.

Two more days ….

5 thoughts on “CAMINO FRANCES – DAY 27

  1. I understand what you say about the blind man but don’t forget that his other senses will be far more acute than yours. The body always compensates for the loss of a sense although it is a shame he could not see that lovely sunrise. I love the way you always start at or before sunrise, it is a glorious time of day to walk.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that’s true about the other senses … I’ve spoken to a blind person after our second Camino and she also mentioned that their other senses are much more sharper (she could for instance tell me of all the different smells in a forest that I didn’t even think of.)
      Sunrise … the best time of day to start a walk, absolutely without a doubt!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is like everything in life, it is all swings and roundabouts. I too have met many blind people and they are the most enthusiastic, happy people ever. The loss (or loss on birth) of what you and I would think of as essential doesn’t bother them in the slightest. In UK, we had a Home Secretary who was blind.

        Walking, whether “Camino” or not is certainly a great time to think about things like this, don’t you think?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Long time ago, Berto was doing a cycling event of about 300km over a couple of days with a group of blind people. They had tandem bicycles – the guy who could see was in front (obviously) and the blind guy at the back. And after each trip, the blind guy would describe the scenery perfectly (high trees, cows, rivers, mountains)! I’ve asked them how it was possible that they could describe this in so much detail, and they said they’ve used their other senses – ears and noses – much better than we (with eyes) would ever wish to do! That was quite amazing!
        Walking is our way of relaxing and clearing our minds … I’m sure it can be medicine for this virus as well!

        Liked by 1 person

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