14 Oct 2019
After a decent breakfast in a nearby cafe, I joined the line of pilgrims heading out of town around 8:40, with 50F. We were all dressed for rain:
And Nature did not disappoint us today. It poured down on us at times and was overcast and threatening all day. What a slog!
The walking strategy gets turned on its head: in dry conditions, we usually look for the least-rocky, smoothest track on the path. But in the rain, that’s often where the path becomes a stream bed, so you don’t walk there. Also, the cow and horse poop we usually carefully avoid is now indistinguishable from the mud. Yuck.
Nonetheless, everyone seems pretty cheerful and keeps on moving.
In another one of those weird Camino occurrences, I was overtaken on the trail by Cherri, whom I hadn’t seen in 10 days, walking with Susan! It was nice to see Cherri again and we all laughed about the Camino joining people together in spooky ways.
Another effect of the rain is that you just don’t have as many places and opportunities to take breaks. In fact, I walked all 14 Kms today without stopping, which was dumb.
Just as I got into Arzua, a cold, hard rain came pounding down and suddenly I was wet right down to my toes. It was too early to get into my hostel so I took refuge in the first nearby restaurant: Cafe Teatro (“The Theatre Cafe”) where opera was playing on the jukebox. Weird coincidence, eh? Rather than being angry with me for streaming water into her place, the owner welcomed me, took pity, and revived me with hot chicken soup. Wonderful!
Later, the staff at my hostel was equally on the ball weather-wise, and in no time I’d had a hot shower, my wet clothes were in the washer/dryer, and I had heat in my room. That called for a celebratory beverage, and I chose a bottle of Peregrina, a craft beer brewed in Santiago. It was a pretty tasty lager.
I’m very cognizant of the fact that the days are winding down. In three days I’ll be in Santiago and I’m trying to process all sorts of feelings. Tomorrow is my last long walk, 19 Kms, followed by two deliberate, make-it-last 10 Km shorties.