We began today with breakfast at the bar owned by the guy who owned the rooms we stayed in last night. He got up early to make us the famous Euro continental breakfast. I think I’m beginning to be hooked on cafe con leche.
Now that we’re into Pontedeume and beyond, we are getting greetings of “buen camino” more often by people in the towns we pass through. Yesterday we went quite awhile before the first one— the first guy was out for a vigorous stroll and hit us with another buen Camino again in his way back— thus earning him the perpetual title of “The Buen Camino Guy”.
When we started we were greeted with rain, but not so heavy that I couldn’t get a pic of the famous bridge I have no memory of— other than as I crossed it I felt like Lancelot storming Swamp castle in Holy Grail. No matter how fast I went I made no progress. Here it is:
Went STRAIGHT UP for about 3 km in a very heavy rain. I thought of titling this post “Puddle jumping in Pontedeume,” but the weather later cleared. Learning from yesterday I had my full waterproofs on, which work very well but look like an infant had a bowel movement and someone somehow sewed it into a suit. After that climb the rain suddenly stopped and gave us some glorious views. Galicia is very beautiful. Very. I can’t recommend it enough to any peregrino or tourist.
We passed near a golf course where I discovered that in Galicia the sand trap and the water hazard can be one and the same.
Walking was good and we saw the only other pilgrims we have met these two days, a trio from Zaragoza. Then began the first of many killer descents.
As an aside, I was not ready for how hard downhills are. I mean gravity does it, right? But they are killers with sore feet and knees, and pack on your back.
After a great and much needed meal in the charming town of Miño, we hit the usual afternoon slog. The terrain was a killer, massive climbs, steep downhills and changeable weather. Sometimes rain, sometimes sun, lots of wind.
Physically, it was extremely hard. I left this whole Camino in Mary’s and Santiago’s hands, but I have a hard time reaching anything resembling contemplation; there’s too much fatigue and exertion. In the mornings I’m philosophizing away; in the afternoons I’m too exhausted and trying not to be cranky.
We remember our intentions for the Camino each day before we start. We pray at least one rosary and try for all fifteen mysteries. I offer up prayers throughout but as usual I expect my wife is far better at it. We hit Mass if there is one.
Just walking it is what I seem to be barely capable of doing. Tonight I feel serious pain. I barely hobbled into Betanzos and told Sharon that anyone who earns the Compostela on the Camino, on any route, has my profound respect. It hasn’t been easy.
But just as we entered, the sound of church bells all over town made us feel as if we were home at last.
Tomorrow we go up, up and up.
Santiago, pray for us!