The plan for today’s walk calls for a relatively easy 24km stroll over mostly rolling countryside. Expect many smaller hills and few villages by the description in our guides. We have made a reservation in a private Albergue so our bed for the night is secured. With the increased number of pilgrims on the Camino this has become a precaution worth taking.
Our departure from the Albergue in Melide is a just before 8am and we head over to the little hotel for breakfast, and to return the umbrellas loaned to us. Nancy and Tomas join us. A TV is on in the corner of the room. The same type of morning news programming you can find in any country. Lots of commercials and a single news reader with video clips for “Today’s Top Stories”. The only difference is the language.
The weather report is easily understood by looking at the graphics. The North West corner of Spain will have dark clouds and winds from the South. You must assume the dark clouds on the screen will include rain.
We finally set out around 8:30 and the landscape is pretty much exactly as described. A light drizzle begins within the first hour and the rain gear comes out.
We run into Steve and Ann and walk with them for a while. If you read the blog yesterday you will remember the slippery rock warning. When Steve and Ann were passing the same spot a woman had just taken a very serious fall and an ambulance was responding to the call. Steve said the woman appeared to be in shock and she was definitely being taken away for medical attention. Terrible news.
After a couple of hours walking we decided to have a morning snack and a short break. The rain had ended but it was obvious there was potential for more rain.
Our progress was slower yesterday and today. Normally we are averaging about 4km/hr with breaks. Yesterday we have dropped to 3 1/2 or 3 km/hr. Perhaps our energy is a bit low? Regardless, our job is simple, walk 24 km today.
Ann and Steve are keeping a slow but steady pace, accommodating Ann’s injury. I bid them a farewell for the time being. We had shared a room together in Orisson and by chance have a flight out of Santiago on the same date. We will no doubt be meeting up again.
The rain today I sn’t amounting to much more than an irritation. Just enough to make you put on your gear….but intermittent, and light-ish…….
Just before lunch things start to become a bit more serious with the rain. We decide to get off the path, maybe the rain will lighten up. We meet Dave, sans Katrina. She had decided to start a little later today and so he was on his own. As we enjoyed a rather good meal the rain continued to intensify, and then lightening up. Our luck appeared to be holding.
Just before leaving, Mary and Cathy from Waterloo come in. They look a little wet but full of energy. Shortly after this Frank from Portland came in with his walking friend Helen. I haven’t seen Frank since meeting on the train from Bayonne to St. Jean Pied de Port. We exchanged a few stories about the people we knew in common, and finally bid farewell to complete the final 12 km for the day.
The rain wasn’t as bad as it had been before lunch and then it actually stopped. We managed to take off our rain gear yet again and started to dry off. The clouds around us were ominously, dark, and threatening. The wind joined in and was becoming quite violent. I was cautioning everyone to watch for falling tree limbs. Something big was going to happen with the weather, I think everyone had a sense of foreboding.
Much of today was walking on tree lined country paths. At times we were in small forest settings. On one occasion we came to a crossroads and we could see a short Camino sign post and a pair of legs and feet pointing up in the air. We came across a woman who explained this was a good way to rejuvinate and refresh. She also explained she was channeling her Chi……. (I’m sorry, but I was tired and wasn’t interested to hear about her Chi)
I looked skyward and said ” We had better put our rain gear on right now”. The sky had suddenly darkening serously, and the sky looked like it was about to open up.
I may not be much of a weatherman…..but I got this one right.
Fortunately the tree lined lanes afforded protection from the wind. The rain was continuing to intensify for the next hour. Simply relentless. Around 2:00 in the afternoon we decided to take another break. We haven’t seen any bar to seek refuge until now. We met up with Maria and Sean. They had been here a while and were thinking to push an additional 10 km from here. We sent them on their way and wished them well.
After our break we suited up and went back at it for the last 5 km.
This is when the wheels came off once again. The rain was now torrential. My glasses were completely useless and in fact making walking more dangerous. They were of course covered with rain and were fogging up constantly. I stuffed them in my pocket and negotiated my way out of focus.
At times the wind would seem to inflate my poncho and blow rain up inside my protective layer. I could hear Susan laughing at one point. I thought I must have looked quite funny. No, her laugh was a reaction to how ridiculous the rain had become. Just when you thought ” How could more rain fall out of the sky”…. it did.
We caught up with Bene and I pointed out her footwear to Susan. Poor Bene had decided to wear her sandals…and her feet were completely drenched.
We finally made the Albergue/hotel and by way of Susan’s generosity checked into a room for 3. Tomas was here as was Dave, Sean and Maria. Eena, from Germany also decided to seek refuge here. Enough is enough. Everyone was saying the same thing to themselves…..I’m not going one step further today, at least not without a boat.
Our supper was one of the best I have enjoyed on the Camino, all the while our hotel sprang leaks around us….. the rain was relentless. Power at the Albergue went out at least dozen times while we were awake.
I am so exhausted and barely made it back to the room. This had been a very difficult day.
We have heard from many of our family. It is likely we can meet Ebbe and Jytte in Santiago. We’ll be joined by Pete, Kate, Tom, and Patrick as well as Sean, Maria, Steve, and Ann. With any luck Mark and Zeb will finally catch up as well. We are certainly going need a big table.
On the evening news report, that looks like every evening news report around world, the weather headlines said “despite what you think about the rain for the past couple of days, now it is going to really start to rain…..”
If it rains any more I expect to see a guy named Noah running around yelling “run for your life, every man for himself….”