Tuesday, June 13, 2018 … 27 km … 17 miles
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”
― Mother Theresa
Today is an easy day, apart from the length of the route, it is easy underfoot and there are no long steep ascents or descents. The Spanish call this section the “leg breaker” not due to the surface, but due to the length. It is a long day, but quite an easy stroll in comparison to what we have already walked. Lots of towns and villages and much of the day is shaded. After Melide, we will walk through Oak and Eucalyptus Forests with the wonderful smell. Melide is where the Camino Primitivo joins with the Camino Frances and also well known for the renowned octopus Pulpo Gallega. A must-stop for lunch today.
Leaving Palas de Rei
We ate our light breakfast and headed out. It was a cool morning but we were all excited about the weather forecast. Sunny and warm. Another day wearing shorts, this hasn’t happened a lot during this pilgrimage. The ground was still muddy in places due to all the rain but luckily, we could always find a way around the mud puddles.
So many options today for breaks and snacks. A long day but you could feel the excitement in the air. We all were getting excited about arriving into Santiago in a few days but at the same time a little sad that it will be over.
We had reserved our beds and just needed to contact them around lunch. Eighteen beds are a lot of beds to reserve, it was kind that they did this for us. The group of 18 didn’t walk together all day, we all walked at our own pace. But for the most part, we were with our original family and Tim, Daniel, Tomce, and Rodney.
We had decided to eat lunch in Melide. You can’t walk the Camino and not try the Pulpo in Melide. It’s just a tradition. So, our little morning breaks were just that, a few stops for bathroom breaks and a light snack. Just long enough.
We passed through medieval villages and crossed arched stone bridges. We walked on pavement and in the woods. It was a great morning.
As we walked, we entertained ourselves as we have done for the last 30 days, but one of today’s entertainment was a sword fight! You just never know what’s going to happen as you walk the Camino.
As we crossed one of the arched stone bridges, we were just down the road from Melide. This little town is called Furelos. A quick stop in the church before continuing.
Once we stepped outside of the chapel, we followed the road into Melide, which is a larger town. But not as large as the big cities like Astorga or Pamplona. Melide is where two Camino routes come together. The Camino Frances (the busiest) and Camino Primitivo (the oldest). Naturally, the place is packed with pilgrims and locals. The Camino leads us straight into the Center and or restaurant for lunch.
As we walked up to the main street, the Galician restaurant where we will eat lunch was on the corner. I first ate here back in 2013 on my first Camino. I had shared that with everyone and told them it’s a great spot to try the famous Octopus, Pulpo. As we arrived at the restaurant the first thing you see is a gentleman standing in a window trying to sell everyone the Octopus.
We slipped inside and settled in for a wonderful lunch. The restaurant has large tables so it was easy for our party of twelve to enjoy our lunch.
After lunch we hit the trail. We still had to walk thirteen kilometers to get to Arzua. But before we left, we made sure to call the hostel to make sure they still had our beds. All is well, they are waiting for us. We gave them the time we thought we would arrive.
The weather was beautiful.
These last thirteen kilometers started off great. We were pumped up from lunch and ready to go. Unfortunately, this energy faded and we all were just ready to get to town.
I fell into my walking meditation. As I walked, I brought my attention to the beauty of our surroundings. Looking at every tree, every rock, and noticing it all. Watching the trees move in the breeze and the clouds move across the sky. Feeling every step, paying attention to everything, and being thankful for it all.
We reached Ribadiso after a steep decline, of course the guide book said nothing about a steep decline. It actually was just a steep hill but my body was tired and my feet were starting to burn with every step. I choose to do a light jog down the hill, this made everything feel a little better.
After Ribadiso it was a short three kilometers, let me tell you, it doesn’t matter how many times I walk this Camino; those last three kilometers are tough. The paved sidewalk shows no mercy and it’s a long walk into town. The sidewalk seems to just keep going. Again, a little meditation helped me make it the last few kilometers. This time I fell into praying the rosary.
We arrived late but glad our beds were being held. We slipped into the Hostel and were very happy to be able to rest and shower.
The little things on the Camino bring you joy. A bed and a shower.
Our Hostel: O Santo Albergue, 22 beds, 12 Euros
Our hostel was right across the street from the town square. Which was really nice. After the usual, I went to a restaurant in the square and enjoyed a nice glass of Vino and tapas. It was a beautiful evening. I enjoyed watching the locals meet and the children playing. Gradually the rest of the gang came out after their chores.
We sat and planned our day for tomorrow. Only two more days! We made some phone calls and all the hostels in the next town were booked completely. We made the decision to walk an extra eight kilometers to a hostel in Lavacolla. Actually, the decision was made for us, it was the first hostel we could find with beds. But after thinking about it, we liked the decision because the next day, when we walk into Santiago, will only be ten kilometers!
Now enough talk lets get to the grocery store to get dinner and breakfast for tomorrow.
We enjoyed a nice dinner with all our friends in the hostel.
Palas de Rei to Arzua, June 13, 2018 … 30 km … 18 miles
Sunny all day!!
Today was a beautiful and sunny day. Not as crowded and very nice. Lots of laughter and quiet time today. It was nice. I am starting to contemplate the end, not sure how I feel. Not ready for it to be over. Seeing lots of people that we haven’t seen in a while. Great stories and great fellowship. It’s getting bitter-sweet.
“Blessed are you, pilgrim, if you utter a word with all your heart.”
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