June 8, 2019
My plan today is to take it easy and probably walk about 15km, then catch a cab to Caldas de Reis. The total journey is only 23 or 24 km….but my right foot was really feeling it yesterday. The taxi ride might just make the day and my foot a little better. Knocking off 7 or 8 km at the end of the day will make a big difference.
So I set out from my luxury accommodations (please allow me to have my fantasies) around 7:45am. Slightly behind my original plan.
The day will be clear of rain, but it is cool, so I have my jacket on. The forecast for the day is 16c and mostly sunny….what? Is this true? Lots of suspicious minds on this one today.
My lodging was off the Camino by about 300 meters or so. As I round a corner on my way to the real Camino arrows I see Miriam from Germany. She is digging her jacket out to try and warm up. I ask if I can walk with her for a bit….at least until she becomes intolerably bored with my conversation. Miriam is one of my “Camino Family” and we have been bumping into each other on and off throughout this whole journey……
Oddly, Miriam doesn’t object to my request…and off we go. Walking out of Ponteverda is not a long event….the town ends and we are walking again on narrow roads, avoiding cars, and generally yakking about a lot of things.
And as if by cue we come across Anna from Germany, another of my Family….and Saskia from Germany….yup….another of my Family. So the four of is start walking, talking and generally keeping each other entertained. Stopping to grab a bite for breakfast, or a cafe con leche is quite spontaneous and it is easy going.
At one point I had been walking and talking with Anna when we decided to hold up and grab something. Shortly after Miriam and Saskia show up and stop as well. When we resume we have completed almost 10km and my foot was feeling really good. Well, maybe the cab ride will have to wait……
The roadways turned to crushed stone paths for quite a while and the kilometers burned off. We stopped as a group again around noon and I bought a type of tortilla and decided to have some wine with lunch. I typically as for “vino tinto bueno, por favor”….which is to say a good wine. The lady selling everything called to an older gentleman to get me my good wine.
I took the wine back to the table with the intention to share. This is where the wheels came off. I poured a modest amount of wine into the bowls they give you to drink from….yeah, bowls…. One sip and I almost spit it across the table we were sitting at. This was the most horrific hooch I had ever tasted. I gasped for air, the inside of my mouth felt like it was under assault. How is this possible? It looked like wine, it smelled like wine….but it was gawd awful. Miriam wanted to try….so I poured her a small amount in another bowl, all the time looking to see if this substance was dissolving the porcelain surface. Miriam gaged as well….this stuff was simply undrinkable. Lesson learned. I jug of wine for 4 Euros should be suspect at best, possibly avoided.
Before leaving Miriam tell us she has booked a room in a small hotel in Caldas de Reis. Sometimes the accommodations are a bit tricky with the numbers of pilgrims we are experiencing. I decide, since things are going so well I will complete the day and will make a reservation for the same hotel.
Off on the way we went.
Anna and I were walking along together on a gentle road when a tiny mole ran out of the scrubs on the side of the road….directly towards us. It wasn’t hard to see, definitely not threatening, also, definitely sort of amusing. It ran straight for us, in fact it ran directly at me. We stopped walking, looking directly at this tiny creature, and as it came right to me I lifted my left foot so as to avoid stepping on it. At the last moment it veered to the right and ran right into the toe of my right foot….then scurried back across the 3 meters of road into the scruff. It was at this point we could see a tail in the scruff scurrying. Moles don’t have tails…this was likely a predator looking for dinner……
Ultimately we don’t know the end to this story….but I think I speak on all our behalf’s…..hope you are OK Mr. Mole.
Late in the walk, about 30 minutes or so before we came into town we met up with Fred and Kay from Phoenix Arizona. Fred was tending to his foot issues while Kay was looking on. (Oddly enough it turns out Kay is an RN amongst other professional accreditation’s…..and was leaving Fred to it) They joined up and we started talking as we made our way to the city. It turns out Fred was a career Army man (lieutenant-colonel…..none to shabby) and Kay had switched careers and become a teacher at one point. Really such a wonderful couple. Fred, Anna, and I we talking as we walked and were creating a bit of distance between ourselves and Miriam, Saskia, and Kay. Fred at one point said he was going to wait for Kay…..he just wanted to be with her, despite our magnetic personalities and engaging conversations. I was touched by his wanting to be with Kay….and not wanting to be separated. His demeanor and expressions were not a suffocating at all….. quite the opposite. He just loved his wife.
At this point it is obvious I can make it to Caldas de Reis, and eventually Miriam and I find the hotel. Anna and Saskia are staying in the Municipal Albergue. Later I meet them both and they report this little town’s Albergue is pretty dismal…. fair warning.
I go to my “luxury hotel” and proceed to have a long, hot soak in the bath….just what the doctor ordered. The day turned out to be as predicted…..very comfortable to say the least.
Only two days to go……