30 The Big Story….Fire!

My little room was fantastic last night. I was able to leave the window open, and crawl under an extra blanket. After 9 hours of dead sleep I woke feeling pretty refreshed. Apparently walking all day, and a couple of glasses of red wine I sleep quite well.

Leaving the Pension not a soul is in sight. There is one streetlight near the Bar, but little else indicating there was life in this hamlet. I left, turning on my little Costco headlamp, and started walking. I thought is was a little odd not to see anyone….but maybe I was just earlier than the average Pilgrim. After all, it was around 7:30 am and the sun isn’t going to rise until about 8:45 am. I was walking at a pretty good clip for about 25 minutes when a car came up behind me. The car slowed, and came to a stop. The passenger window rolled down, and the man inside the car said “Camino?”. I replied in my fluent Spanish…. “Si”.

He motioned with his thumb, back in in the direction I had just walked saying “Dos kilometres”.


I had just walked 2 kilometres in the wrong direction. Great way to start the day…..an extra 4 km.

When I returned to my original starting point the Bar was now open, pilgrims pouring in, and I decided to at least start the day with a fresh orange juice. I think most gathering places, like bars and casual restaurants always have a TV blaring in the corner, ignored by all. Today however, everyone is paying attention….

60 km south of Santiago a forest fire is forcing the evacuation of a small town. Lots of images of people in wheel chairs, old people, and children being loaded into busses. The aerial pictures are horrific. This is nothing less than a major fire, and natural disaster. The authorities appear to be mobilizing every body they can.

There is little, if any risk to the city of Santiago of course. 60 km is a long way away. But it does underline the seriousness of the serious lack of rain throughout this region.

Naturally I check the forecast. I am planning to walk to Melide today, and they say the rain in this area will begin around 6 pm. This turns out to be good for me, and for the region. The forecast continues to show rain until about noon tomorrow. I have walked in the rain before….I’m not in danger of melting anytime soon.

Finally I head out. Today becomes an obstacle….I don’t hurt in any specific place, but I am in a full sweat all day. I keep pouring back the liquids and stay aware I will need salt. After a couple of hours I pass a significant town Palais de Rei, grabbing some salted peanuts, and head out of town. I still have another 4 hours minimum…this is on top of my “knuckle-head” tour this morning.

The route today often follows a secondary road, with a Pilgrim path beside it, and every now and again a real path cuts through a section of farmland. These sections are deeply cut into the landscape. I assume they have been used for centuries, and have been worn down. It is the only reasonable explanation, I can’t imagine why someone would try and excavate the path in this way.

I pass many people today listening to my music…and I’m listening to:

Frank Zappa album Hot Rats

Cat Stevens album Tea for the Tillerman (deluxe edition)

Tom Petty album Wildflowers

Rod Stewart album Every Picture Tells a Story

After what seemed like an eternity I managed to limp into Melide. This is not a significant town except for the reputation of being the “pulpo capital of Spain”. Pulpo is octopus. The standard way to prepare the octopus is to boil it up, cut is into small pieces, and drown it in olive oil and paprika. It is actually really good.

I desperately need to wash clothes. If it is raining tonight….no pulpo. If the rain holds off, it’s pulpo for me……