DAY 27


SAN XULIAN – ARZUA

23 APRIL

28.5km

Three more days … Santiago is in sight!

We’ve left San Xulian again before sunrise. It was a quiet morning as we were walking mostly through woodlands.

I’ve seen a blind man walking the Camino yesterday – he had a friend supporting him on the road. After all the amazing views I’ve seen 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 very special for him … and it made me appreciate my surroundings even more!

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Appreciated another sunrise on our 3rd 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’ve noticed a café next to the road. We were the only pilgrims there and not sure whether they were open … there was nobody in sight.

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

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

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

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Ahh, coffee and chocolate for breakfast – nice!

Yesterday I had no problem with my (new) hiking sandals, but today it was bothering me … 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 heads! I was reassuring myself that I could certainly hold on for another 3 days …

After we’ve walked through the next hamlet, O Coto, we’ve came to another medieval bridge which we’ve had to cross. I’ve seen so many medieval bridges the past few weeks that you would think by now the sight of these would be just another familiar landmark. But every time I walk over one of these bridges, I can’t help but think how many people walked here 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’ve walked a short distance next to the main road, we’ve once again got back in the woodlands. We’ve hardly seen any pilgrims and this, after we’ve 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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The yellow arrow always indicates which way you should go!

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

Javier, our Spanish friend, told us that Melide is well known for their “pulperia Exequiel” … in English that would be octopus! 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 still too early in the morning to be that brave!

As we’ve walked past one of the many cafés next to the main road, I’ve said to Berto that I needed a bathroom and maybe another café con leche. We’ve chosen a café and I’ve left my backpack with Berto to visit the bathroom. When I came back, Berto ordered café con leche and something I’ve never 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. I just loved it … and we’ve ordered more!

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Spanish churros – how tasty are these!

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

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Quiet roads after the busyness of Melide

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Another horreo

As we’ve walked towards Ribadiso over another medieval bridge, we’ve seen 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’ve also walked past another albergue with a swimming pool and by now the cool water really looked nice. But we’ve put our heads down towards Arzua … that would mean we will walk 3km less tomorrow!

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Crossing the road on our way to Arzua – hot and humid

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 just getting too long now!

We’ve decided the previous day to stay in Albergue Ultreia, but as we’ve walked in, they indicated that they were already full. We’ve walked to the albergue next door, Albergue Don Quijote and found it almost empty. It was nice and cool inside and we’ve got the very first two beds as we’ve walked into the albergue.

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’ve 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 you could only see 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.

We’ve done our laundry and relaxed in the court yard of the albergue. I’ve started to developed a runny nose and uncomfortable cough … I suppose the cold I thought was over, was still present. Maybe my body was telling me it was time to take a break. But now it was only 40km to Santiago and come rain or hail, I will finish this Camino!

Dinner time … always a highlight at the end of each day!

We had dinner at a restaurant close to our albergue. There was a live soccer match on the television and the restaurant was packed with people. We did not know the teams and rather enjoyed our food and a bottle of red wine.

We were only a handful of pilgrims in the albergue that night, and it was quiet when we’ve got into our sleeping bags.

Two more days ….

Categories: Camino Frances (April 2017)

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