Thursday, October 13, 2016

Best Walk Makes Up for the Rest

The Route Of Stone and Water 
A strange little park with life recreated in cement sculptures. 
Pretty spider web with rain droplets. 

I've been drinking my share of Albarino. 

Coming up on Ria de Arousa Bay. Apostle James body was supposedly sailed up this way.

Today's walk started early but not before dawn since we knew we would be walking in the forest right away and didn't want to be fumbling around in the dark with headlamps even though we will have a 24k day to Vilanova de Arousa.  We did fumble around in the dark getting cafe con leche out of the cool but very loud machine at the alburgue for 50 cents. Little stir sticks and everything.  Nobody else was stirring until now but oh well,  that's the downside of alburgue life.  The hospitelero arrived shortly with some men who were helping to restock the soda machine that also contained what? Beer? Wish we would have known last night!  Oh well,  hugs and goodbyes to the other pilgrims and we were on our way in the morning's twilight.  We were really looking forward to today since it has been touted as some spectacular walking.  We received immediate gratification as soon as we followed the yellow arrow that took us off the street and onto the dirt path next to a pristine stream. This is the Route of Stone and Water.  Old water mills rest all along it's banks.  They were used to saw lumber using the current of the stream to power the saws. Dense foliage rich with ferns,  blooms, moss and trees all along the dark forest path made it all such a verdant fairy land. So quiet and alone we were.  I hate to say it but we hurried a little just in case Jost walked fast and caught up. I  rehearsed how I would be honest and tell him that I just wanted to meditate through this part.  The Camino apparently took care of us both in that regard.  It was definitely a highlight of this entire walk. A reward for so many, many miles of long noisy hard road. I just wanted to soak it all in. I will never forget it.

We looked forward to possibly taking a boat tomorrow up the river Ulla that takes an hour. It's supposed to be spectacular and the only thing of its kind in the world.  Since the body of St. James was transported through here, there are purportedly many cruzeros all along the way on little dots of islands in the middle of the river all the way to Padron,  our next stop.    We will have to go to the alburgue when we get to town and ask about tickets there.

Halfway through our walk, about 8 miles in, the twinkie type processed pastry the alburgue so lovingly offered us for breakfast was wearing off quickly. As was the now mushy pear I stole from breakfast in Combarro yesterday with John's contribution of peanuts. We did enjoy those on a lovely bridge we came across as we walked through the Arousa estuary.  Did I say this day was beautiful walking?  The streams are teeming with fish,  crystal clear and the plants growing in them are not algae.  Herons are seen every so often. Beautiful birdsong can be heard. I'm no biologist but it looks extremely healthy like nothing I've seen anywhere in a long time. Makes my heart happy that there is a place such as this.

We needed sustenance soon. Just like that,  there was a café!  We dropped the packs in the outside covered area and ordered a carb replacing cervesa. Hey, that's a good justification for a beer before noon!  And we almost forgot!  A tapa is included!  These were some delicious hot fried hush puppy type of fish balls.  Pelotas fritos de pescados. (I made that up) And what I think was possibly shrimp.  Could have been fish shaped like shrimp and fried for all I know.  I  do know that it was good! Good thing we had these since it was too early according to the bar, for a menu for any kind of real food.  This would become a theme in this otherwise "pristine " day.

Went to the bathroom and to pay the bill. When I came out,  we were in the middle of a rain deluge.  No thunder rumbling to give some warning,  just torrents of rain being unleashed in an instant.  Oh how I remember this from our last Camino!  The men inside all came out to the covered area to smoke and watch the rain with a kind of excitement that felt like what we feel when we notice our seasons changing.  And they were all looking at John and I with such incredulity, like they were trying hard to understand why we doing what we were doing. We bundled up in our rain suits and headed out as the rain was only lightly falling.  We counted ourselves lucky that we had shelter when it started raining so hard. Because it stopped for the rest of the day! Thanks Camino!

Another 7 or so miles into Vilanova de Arousa and to the alburgue where we would ask about the boat tomorrow.  It was basically in a gymnasium.  No one was around.  We shouted hola! And the seemingly very hung over hospitelero came out.  He had obviously been sleeping.  Maybe he was just tired. We asked about the boat.  He asked if there were 5 more peregrinos behind us. Why yes, how did he know this? Apparently word came from Armenteira where we were last night. Evidently they must have called ahead to tell the next alburgue who to expect.  I guess the nuns in the MonasteryP called about George and Tina too. Anyway he said with raised eyebrows that there was only room for 5 on the boat but he was pretty sure it would go tomorrow maybe 11. Well we knew for sure that unless someone was paying for Jost,  he was not going.  (He told us he wanted to go by boat but couldn't afford it ) and the Germans were determined to walk the leg since they had only started a short time ago in Pontevedra. The two Portuguese women were the wild card.  Nevertheless,  come back tonight at 7. (We were not going to stay at the alburgue ).

Went to the bar down the street where we secured our hotel on line and had a great tapa of chicken and rice and bread.  Little did we know that this would be our dinner.

Checked into the hotel and asked why the grocery store was closed.  Spanish national holiday.  Basically Columbus day here.  Everything is shut down.  Alrighty.  Back to the alburgue at 7. No hospitelero and no boatman.  We did see that Jost had checked in. Oh well let's go find something to eat.  We cannot seem to get into the beat here.  No menu at the cafes if you are too early. Menu of the day if you eat between 1 and 4. That's usually when we are walking.  Then dinner is served in the restaurants around 8 or 9  when we are so tired.  Got potato chips as another tapa and then little sausages with bread as another and we called it good for dinner.  We'll try to figure out the boat tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. What an adventure! I have seen many of your posts on face book. Seems like you have been walking forever.