27, 28 and 29 Oct – On being a Pilgrim…

We’ve enjoyed another three days of wonderful walking. Some ups and downs and into the coastal hills from the dunes of the shoreline. Through farm land, forests and charming old villages. This part of Portugal and today into Spain seems quite affluent and some of the homes we’ve passed by are palatial. Swimming pools built into rocky outcrops by the ocean, lush manicured gardens, high walls. Farm fields are well kept and prolifically producing vast quantities of fall veggies. We’ve walked along quite a few cobble stone lanes between high stone walls interspersed with intricate wrought iron gateways between stone pillars and archways. We’ve crossed ancient stone bridges over burbling brooks. We’ve popped into tiny smoky cafes for water breaks. We’ve enjoyed delicious bakery concoctions and coffee for breakfasts. (Well Pat and I succumb to the sweet baked delights – Jan shows restraint and eats a dry bread roll with her coffee. I know – the model of dietary decorum.) We’ve enjoyed balmy breezes off the Atlantic and walked to the sound of waves crashing upon the beach. The churches are numerous and all quite ornate – both large and small. There are numerous stone crosses along the route as well. “Our” yellow waypoint arrows and shell markers – guide us along this diverse winding route of the Compostela seeking pilgrim. This walk is a much easier endeavour than the Via Egnatia! It is also rather more friendly. Here people we pass wish us well on our pilgrimage. It’s friendly and our quest understood.

We have also continued to stay in Albergues – some of dubious comfort. Yesterday evening we were in a damp basement room that could accommodate 64 pilgrims in bunk beds. All in one room. Not my idea of pleasant but – we three have the place almost to ourselves so despite the dampness it was marginally acceptable. The other two occupants were a pair of fellows from Hungary. The showers were hot and that makes up for a lot of other comforts that at lacking. The mattresses are often thin and plastic as are the pillows. There are sometimes no towels. Now the previous night we had flannel sheets on the equally thin mattresses, towels and sheets but the shower was fairly dismal and mixed gender so one never knows. The night before there was a tap – just like Nepal for a shower. 
Tonight our albergue is outstanding! There are comfortable mattresses with sheets, a blanket and pillow with case. All clean and dry! We had a delicious dinner served to us because there’s no where around that’s open…. Really the best place so far. But also the most expensive – 10 euros each! And the water was hot. And there is a place to hang our clothes. Life is good. Internet is generally abysmal. Mostly non existent. With luck this will eventually be sent from an Internet enabled Cafe……
It is our custom to wash our clothes in the evening. This entails a scrubbing and rinse while we shower or in a sink afterwards. We hang them somewhere to sort of dry then in the morning we pin the still wet items around our packs so they finish drying as we walk. A usual scenario is to have a pair of socks, a pair of knickers and a shirt plus a towel draped on our packs as we walk. As the day progresses and things dry they get tucked inside. This evening when Pat went for her shower she had a terrible fright. Her clean knickers that had been drying on her pack were gone. Vanished. Somewhere back on the 25 km trail presumably. We each have two pairs of this essential item. One to wear and one to have drying. So this left Pat in a rather desperate situation. This story ends well. She did eventually find the missing garment hiding and dry at the bottom of her pack! The pilgim’s trials and tribulations know no bounds! 

Back to the scenery – it is lovely here and this is why I walk. Pictures are worth 1000s of words so here are a few….

2 thoughts on “27, 28 and 29 Oct – On being a Pilgrim…

  1. Oh Brenda you are so right about our smalls blowing in the wind. We do tuck them in out of sight when going through towns. In Jan’s defence it must be said that she does not participate.

  2. Your pilgrimage has definitely taken an upswing.Scenery sounds and looks delightful. I feel better knowing you are perhaps safer over all? To me the BEST scenery has to be you 3 ladies trotting by with your unmentionables, blowin’ in the wind, pinned to your packs. ah yes..must be seen to be appreciated! Travel well and safely.

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