CAMINO FRANCES – DAY 28

ARZUA – O PEDROUZO

24 APRIL

19.0km

Only another 40km to go!

That was all I was thinking about this morning when I woke up. I did not sleep well – almost coughing throughout the night – and really felt miserable when it was time to start walking.

We met 3 Italians yesterday that slept in the same albergue and one of the ladies heard me coughing during the night. She came to me this morning and gave me a small packet of peppermint sweets to help for my cough. I apologised that I kept them awake, but she said they are now so excited to get to Santiago (they started their walk in Sarria), that it did not bothered them, but she felt sorry for me. She also told me to drink enough water (to stay hydrated) and orange juice (for extra Vitamin C) and not to walk too fast.

It was amazing to see on the Camino how people care about others and their wellbeing. A lesson I would  take with me after completing the Camino

Besides me coughing, I still had to deal with my blistered feet. New blisters formed over the old blisters (that were busy healing) … must be the new hiking sandals and the “emergency walk” with my flip flops …

Before we started to walk, Berto made me sat down and he “plastered” my feet. If it wasn’t for the Leukotape P plaster that we brought from South Africa, it would have been almost impossible for me to complete the Camino. This is at least one item we will never travel without again!

Fortunately, today’s walk is fairly flat – thank goodness that steep climb to Arzua is behind us! It was difficult to get into my usual rhythm at first, but after a while it all went ok. Berto was not walking too fast and I actually enjoyed the walk.

We were still walking through woodlands and the fields were beautifully green. It was not as hot as yesterday, which also made the walk more comfortable.

Still walking through woodlands

We stopped at A Calzada where there was a very inviting café next to the road. While Berto enjoyed his daily dosis of coffee, I ordered orange juice (as per instruction from my fellow Italian pilgrim). The lemon cake smelled divine and I got a big piece on my plate, while Berto had more of the Galician empanada.

We are now seeing many pilgrims – either joining us at the café or walking past. We could sense that everyone’s got their eyes firmly on arriving in Santiago!

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I’m still standing … or maybe the right word is “leaning” against the wall

As I was walking, I realised that by tomorrow all these beautiful pathways we saw the past 4 weeks, will come to an end. Although my body is probably more than happy about this thought, I’m sad that this walk will end … I did not know what to expect of this journey at the beginning, but this experience was exceeding my expectations by far and I learned so much more about myself.

This day turned out to be one where I reflected a lot back on our Camino.

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Another beautiful path on our 2nd last day on the Camino

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A small pond next to our pathway

When we walked through Salceda, we were very excited to see our old friends, Carl and John sitting at one of the cafés. They invited us to sit down and have something to eat, but since we just had our breakfast, we said we’ll slowly walk on and then they can catch up.

With about 4km to go to O Pedrouzo, Carl and John joined us and we walked together. We saw John on our first day and Carl on our second day on the Camino. Every now and then we would see each other somewhere on the road and it was now very special to walk with them towards the end of our Camino.

At Cruce O Emplame, we stopped for another coffee – it was still early and O Pedrouzo was just around the corner. While we were sitting there, the “Three wise men” from Korea/USA walked in … after 4 weeks, our group were together again!

I read the previous day about a hostel in a modern building in O Pedrouzo and we decided to stay at Porta de Santiago. Carl and John also joined us. At first, there were just a couple of pilgrims here, but it slowly filled up towards the late afternoon until each bed was occupied.

The entrance to our dorm of Hostel Porta de Santiago. One more night on the bunk beds

We washed our clothes for the last time on the Camino and sat in the back garden while it was drying on the washing lines. Everybody was reflecting back over the last couple of weeks and we shared many stories.

Later that evening we went to the café opposite the hostel for dinner and a few drinks. As the men were still enjoying their last drinks, I went back to the hostel, to take care of my feet and have a few tablets for my cold.

A new blood blister formed underneath my one foot … I could just shake my head in disbelief! I used a sterilised needle to make a small hole on the edge of the blister and gently squeezed the fluid out. After applying some Bactroban, I put another plaster on.

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I did not post any photo’s of my blistered feet on this blog, but just so you can see I’m not making these stories up about the condition of my feet … it’s for real!

Everyone went to bed early … tomorrow will be our final day of walking and we want to be ready for this joyous occasion!

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