May 21, 2016 Saturday 11.2 miles Left at 8:30 Arrived at 3:30 with several breaks
This was my and our last long walk of the Camino. Rain was forecasted in the late afternoon, and if we hurried we could possibly make it to Lavacolla before the rain started. Optimism prevailed and we left without our rain gear on – but we couldn’t seem to hurry; still too much to see and enjoy.
The Alberque Turistico was hard to leave Saturday morning. We kept waiting for the dining room to open for our free breakfast; it was supposed to open at 7:00 and here it was after 7:30 and no sign of life in the gorgeous glass dining room. Lee and I walked out to check on things one more time and noticed someone had a cup of coffee. Ahhh- coffee alert, where did he get it? We discovered breakfast had started without us just fine in another part of the facility. Joke was on us. It was the typical peregrinos breakfast, juice, toast, coffee.
As we left we felt the chill of the moist air and wanted to walk quickly to warm up. This was going to be a day of little towns every coupleof miles. Our route was close to a highway most of the time but also was cloistered in country lanes sheltered by trees. Early in the day we passed pilgrims having coffee with a group of Italians signing opera.
Opera singers on the right
Note the sign to Santiago
And then we met Walter and Flan. Walter is one of these people you meet and instantly know he is a gentle soul, a good person and would love to spend more time with him. He was from Argentina but has been in Spain 10 years ago. His van was parked near a little pavilion. The doors were open to the van and we looked inside as we passed – it was clean and neat and colorful, hippie beads tied to one side. It was definitely a view from the 60’s. Walter himself was a throw back, wearing colorful loose clothes, clean and neat with his hair tied in a short pony tail. Five years ago he did the Camino with Flan, his dog and wrote a memoir, “My Solidary Companion,” or something close to that in Spanish. He gave Lee and I flowers and hugs and kisses when we left – that is Lee wearing the flower above.
The groves of trees that we entered looked different to me today – I felt like I was in the redwoods, but they were actually eucalyptus trees, perhaps a different variety than we have inSo. California.
A cyclist whips right by us
And then we catch up with him as he stops for something
I see a Galician lady weed whacking with a cythe and I ask and she lets me take her picture, my confidence is building for people pictures.
Coming down a hill we see an older lady in the distance near a Camino marker walking with two canes,, struggling up a slight incline. I wanted to take a picture as it was such a contrast – the Camino marker and this person walking with such difficulty, swaying back and forth as she leaned from one cane to the other,right to left , bearing her weight as she could to keep her balance – but I was too far away to photograph the moment. Instead I said a silent prayer for her and thanked God again for the healing of my shin splints and the fact that I have not had a MAJOR injury on the Camino. As we got closer we waved and greeted her and she called out “Buen Camino” to us. I took this as I walked away:
I hid behind a tree to get this one. AmI becoming a paparazzi?
These flowers were everywhere!
I come around a corner and what do I see but California poppies for the first time:
The wind is starting to feel like rain, but we are still dry. Even though we are ten or twelvemilesfromSantiago, we are close to the Santiago airport. A plane flies overhead and it is so close we think we are on the landing strip, til we look to our leftand see we practically are!
Near the airport we are again in a little tree-covered area and come across a waterfall.
Lee, Brian and I
No siesta forthem – they are tending the garden
We were so lucky. We had a little trouble finding our pension for the night, but our hostess came and picked us up and drove us to the best pension yet – so classy!
Tomorrow is Day 39 and God willing I will walk into Santiago with my two friends, Lee and Brian. Thank you for sharing the journey with me also.