‘Este es el camino. Caminais.’
(This is the way. Walk in it)
This morning we set out in darkness under a heaven of bright bright stars. We had a long day ahead of us, but there was no way we were going to rush this one.
At 5km we stopped for coffee where most of our our fellow pilgrims had stayed the night. A young guy called Juan, who has been walking the camino with his dad (Juan Senior) from Tui, spotted us and came in to say hello. We’ve nicknamed them Los Runcadoros because they both snore very loudly – Runcadoro Mejor and Runcadoro Menor. This is the kind of community we’ve come to love on the journey – the unnecessary sidetracks people take to stop and say hello.
There was an albergue around 20km from here in a place called Padron, but we had decided to push on a further 11km to Teo, so we could have a short day into Santiago tomorrow and maybe make it in time for the pilgrim’s mass. But we sat out the heat of the day in Padron and watched the pilgrims coming and going from the hostel there. Sitting beside the river eating ice cream, FF spotted four guys on the other side and said ‘You can spot a pilgrim miles off, even without rucksacks and boots, by the way they kind of hobble.’ These four guys really were hobbling. They hobbled over the bridge towards us and as they passed us, she started some banter with them about their limping in Spanish and we laughed together.
An hour or so later, we set out on the road again, this time walking with a Spanish man called Jaime who we made sing with us to make the journey pass more quickly. I’m not sure he really knew what he’d let himself in for when he asked if he could walk the last stretch to Teo.
Never has there been so much jubilation over an arrival – the Belgian brothers were here, as were Juan and Juan and others we recognised. Most importantly there were still beds available for us.
We showered and ate and then a couple of hours after we arrived a group of four Spanish guys hobbled in – the four guys we had seen earlier in Padron. It turns out we were the first people they had met on the journey who they had seen laughing and who had engaged them in proper conversation. They’d pulled their boots and bags back on and followed us.
That night they took us out for tapas – we ate pulpo and calamare, and drank vino blanco, and two different types of liquors before we went back to the albergue to sleep. At 2am…