Day 25 – Surprises

Another day begins with the well rehearsed routine. We are out well before dawn and walking away from town when we meet Annette and Clair. The way is poorly marked, or at least we are not able to find the yellow flashes or arrows, so we continue down the road Hoping this is the right way. According to our guide books there is a path crossing the road but no one can find it. After trying a “dud” path we head back to the road and continue. The road at least eventually passes the next town, this is a safe bet.
Eventually we do come across the real path. Clair and Annette decide to take this while Bene, Eddie and I decide to stay our course on the road. There are good sidewalks….and arrows marking the way. According to Eddie’s guide book the road is a legitimate alternate.
After a couple of hours we enter Ponferrada. We stop for breakfast at a some larger shop serving up indifference. This is basically a big city “what-da-ya-want” shop. The pastries are pretty bad but the orange juice is freshly squeezed….it passes for breakfast on the basis of the juice only.
Just as a side note: freshly squeezed orange juice in this part of Spain is the norm in my experience…..very nice.
Our path out of town is very confusing. I was complaining the previous couple of days at the lack of arrows, now arrows are pointing in all directions. I suspect these are pointing out alternate routes through the city. We ask a group of elderly ladies, and they start talking, and talking. Finally one turns and points. I’m good with that. Offer up my appreciation in Spanish….”gracias”, and we head down another street.
Eventually we are passing through old section of town and come to a castle. This castle is right out of a “Robin Hood” movie. I am pretty sure the Sheriff of Nottingham is in there, apparently he doesn’t open the doors, or the gift shop, until 11.
This castle would be well worth the effort to see I suspect.
Continuing out of town Eddie says “I need to tell you something. This is my last day on the Camino”. I am saddened by this but try not to show it. He feels he has achieved the goal he set out for himself. This is a deeply personal objective and the Camino has given him the courage to face this back at home.
Eddie’s Mother passed away 5 years ago and he has never been able to visit her grave. Eddie now wants to go there.
Bene had been told moments before me and says “Susan just has to be with us tonight.”
We walk into the next suburb and a bar is conveniently located close to the path we are on. While drinks are arranged and turns in the bathroom are taken I am send a message to Susan. “Meet us in Villafranca without fail, Eddie’s going home”.
This is where this really get weird.
Five minutes after I send this message Susan comes walking up the path. Bene jumps up and runs over to her screaming!
Last night Susan had stayed in an Albergue 10 km short of where we were staying. One of the people there was being forced to take the bus to Ponferrada. Susan decided to take the bus to make up lost time and therefor be back on track. Eddie’s news hadn’t even been delivered to her phone.
The rest of the day was too precious to waste. I talked with Eddie first for at least an hour convincing myself this was the right decision he was making. I am totally satisfied Eddie is doing the right thing.
The town we were going to is quite small and there are only 2 Albergues. It was a group decision to call a cab, and get there a little earlier (ahead of the crowd) to assure a bed for the night. After a 10 minute car ride we arrived in Villafranca. Walking up to the Albergue we meet our other family members Ebbe and Jytte! They arrived today as well. We would also meet David and Emily from Canada. Ebbe and Jytte have adopted them as their Camino family….so we are cousins!
Our Albergue Fenix is an eclectic island, and in some sense a throw back to the days of a hippie commune. Art is  all over the place and pieces of a tree are used as a banister. Towels are stuffed into cracks to prevent drafts, and artifacts are nailed into unlikely places. Quite a bit different from the typical municipal Albergue. After showering we head out to find some food and who comes down the road but Clair and Annette. I am embarrassed suddenly for having jumped in the cab……
Some time after this we are enjoying a lunch in a cafe in the Plaza Mayor and Angela appears. This is becoming a reunion for Eddie’s farewell. We were all together in Orisson the first night!
The rest of the afternoon is spent chatting and catching up.
After siesta, I go to a supermarcado and buy time for my phone. It appears to have run out of data. Hence the reason I was not able to get a message to Susan. I don’t seem to be able to receive messages either. Now I need to understand how I can apply the credit to my phone…..
Dinner is served in the Albergue and Angela joins us. This looks like a wonderful meal but I am still full from lunch.
Tomorrow’s forecast is for rain….and we are starting our last major climb…..without our friend, and family member, Eddie.

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6 thoughts on “Day 25 – Surprises

  1. Hi Ya Rubber Legs!! I will assume that by the time you read this, the best/worst of the climbs is well behind you and I hope all your planning and training pays off for you in the final stretch.
    I speak for all readers when I say ‘OH EDDDDIE!!!”..We just finished dealing with Benita’s exit – but we understand and wish him God Speed. He ( and she)were a big part of the story and the family . Warn Bene and Susan they better stay with the tour or there will be more tears!
    We were Thankful this weekend…. too much dirty bird and not enough golf… and now it is straight on to Christmas…gak

    • Thanks Tomas. I really appreciate your email. Hearing from you is a very big inspiration for met to finish.
      Love you and can‘t wait to see you again soon.
      As Always….. Papa’.

  2. Hi Cam I heard about your blog from someone along the camino grapevine. It’s a great read and pleased to hear that you guys are all well even if I don’t get to bump into you anymore! I’ll be in Santiago on the 26th I think..having some rest days..like tmrw in Sarria:) Take care and ” buen camino! !”

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