Day 37 Palas del Rei to Melide
30 May 2014
Not a Day That Invites Walking the Camino
If you weren’t on the Camino and didn’t have a flight booked, you would probably stay in bed with a good book or go to the movies today. It was our wettest so far. While it seemed to deter the tourigrinos the rest of us were out in full force.
There was a constant stream of people in their colourful rain ponchos dodging the rivulets of water or hopping from one side of the path to the other to avoid the thick mud made worse by hundreds of feet.
I was about to photograph a group ahead of us in their ponchos but they abruptly turned right into the local village church. Either to get a stamp or to pay their respects (or both).
As we’re getting closer to Santiago we now have to get two stamps a day – a strategy the authorities use in an attempt to prevent ‘cheating’ but many manage to get their two stamps and still take a taxi or the bus.
Walking the Camino with Children
Not a great photo but I was taken by this couple who had their five and two year old in the ‘buggy’ being pulled by the father. A difficult task in the best of times but really hard in the mud. Mum was singing and playing ‘ I spy’ to distract them. Bronek wondered how long it would be before the first cries of ‘are we there yet’ would be heard.
We stopped for coffee at a place where it was very clear from the signage that the WC was only for the use of customers. I was taken aback by the number of people who came in, dripped all over the floor, asked for a stamp and walked out without buying anything.
I mentioned this to the owner who said people using the toilets was more of a problem for him. He explained that it costs him €50 per week for a pump out of his septic system. He has to sell a lot of coffee at €1:30 to cover that, not too mention replacing the paper six or seven times a day. No wonder locals are not always fond of peregrinos.
But then on arrival in Melide, a local led us 100m down the road to the door of our pension when we asked if he knew where it was.
Disturbing Animal Treatment
This man was returning from Santiago on his horse with a dog on a lead running behind. The horseman was struggling to control the horse which was interested in the five other horses, a pony and a donkey all tied by 4-5m rope to pegs about 10m apart on the other side of the road. Again I was disturbed by the way animals are treated here.
The End is Nigh
We arrive in Santiago on Sunday. Less than 60km to go. And then (according to Bronek) the holiday begins. Jim from Leichhardt put us in touch with Garry from Young (who lives in Santiago).
Garry has worked out how we can walk to Finesterre (the end of the world according to those who believed that the world was flat) in the days we have left before flying out. Our proviso was that we stay in Pensions and don’t do more than 25km per day. So a few more days of walking remain!