Distance: 21.6kms, Steps: 29,026, Time total: 7.5hrs.
We had a well rested sleep, I woke up once as my hands felt so unbearably itchy. And we over slept, probably what our bodies needed. We joined Adriana & Mario for breakfast where Mr D said, “I could easily stay here another day & just rest! It’s so quiet out here!” This accommodation had originally been a Pilgrims hospital way back & been renovated into a private retreat accommodation. We shared more laughs & funny stories. Mario loves to talk, Adriana is a very honest & lovely lady. She told us when they did the Portuguese Camino that she acted like a child one day. She dropped her backpack on the ground, sat down & refused to walk anymore so Mario had to organise a hitchhike ride into town. She did not have a repeat episode on this trip. They were carrying their backpacks, but since Leon, decided to get them transported daily. We have seen those vans that do the transportation of backpacks go pass, they drive very fast speeding around the road bends to get these backpacks delivered to their destinations. Almost taking out walking Pilgrims in the progress.
We shook hands with the hostal owner as he wished us Buen Camino. It was cool with heavy mists again. As soon as we stepped out onto the road, Sioux, David & their new female friend, Montserrat, were coming up the road. Sioux asked Derek about his allergies & he explained our little dilemma. She said to me, “Those bugs must of thought you tasted delicious!” as I’m covered in bites. We walked a little with them, but Mr D wanted to walk at a slower pace so we left them to go ahead of us.
It was a fantastic morning, the mists make walking on the road more enjoyable. We headed down into surreal looking woodlands of mist & green trees. It was so enchanting & beautiful, the camera cannot capture the place, you had to be there. This was Mr D’s favourite spot as well. The mists cleared as we headed into Palas De Rei, quite a nice looking town. We stopped in the church to get our first sello & David, Sioux & Montserrat were there also. The priest was a warm friendly man he stamped our passports & then wished us a Buen Camino as we left. Then we followed the 3 into a bar where we had tea & coffee. A very nice bar it was. David & Sioux hadn’t even had breakfast yet & it was 10am! So they veered off to a restaurant & never caught up to us during the days walk.
Galicia had put on a perfect day of blue sky with some clouds. But the wind was freezing cold so we kept rugged up. The days walk was pleasant through towns & pastures & woodlands. There were a few locals about. One lady was meandering along with her little pooch for a stroll. There was an adorable older Spanish couple slowly walking through the woodlands admiring the trees & plants. We caught up to Adriana & Mario that were sitting having a break. So we chatted as Mario can talk! Along came a Pilgrim man heading the opposite direction to us with his two dogs. Both wearing scallop shells on their collars.
Well, we walked briefly with Adriana & Mario then went ahead as we were walking faster than them & we had our backpacks on! We stopped in at Casa de Somoza cafe at 12.30pm for lunch. There we met an Australian older couple from Darwin. They were only doing the 100kms from Sarria to get the compostela certificate & they had been everywhere! The lady was telling us all the places in the world they had been to since August & where they were going after the Camino. And she was struggling – unfit & overweight carrying a light tiny backpack & going, “Geez! That hill climb out of Portomarin was horrible!” We had steak sandwich with our cokes. Mr D did not finish his as the meat was too tough again. I have an appetite like a horse! Then Mr D sneaked some red wine he was carrying into our empty glasses – to help with the last 8kms you know!
Those kms seem to stretch out as our feet were getting tired. We just needed to stop for the day. We went through the noisy industrial part outside of Melide before crossing down into more woodland & emerging outside an old part of Melide. Over the narrow stone bridge I went & a bloody car came driving over so I couldn’t stop to admire the views! Damn those cars go EVERYWHERE in Spain – on footpaths, they don’t care! The old part of town was pretty but we still had another kilometre to the town centre. We saw Adriana & Mario ahead but didn’t catch up to them. We had to find somewhere to stay – a private room preferably.
We ended up doing a useless wide loop finding Albergues closed before we came to the Pension we had passed at the start! The Pension Berenguela. We saw the American couple from the climb up O Cebreiro & said hello. But the man was a soot & ignored us, the wife looked like she was having a bad day. The lady at the Pension was so lovely. She showed us right up to our room, put up the blinds for us & turned the heater on as she knew it will get very cold. Even though I couldn’t understand a word she spoke, she was a gem! So we decided to kick back, rest & drink red wine in our room until it was time to head out for dinner.
It was so bloody cold outside, the Pension lady was correct in saying we would need the heater on. Our room was very cold as well still. We went out to the Farmacia & supermercado stores first, bumping into David & Sioux whom were heading out for dinner. Mr D said we would join them if we saw them. We wandered down the Main Street but the restaurants looked very quiet. In Melide, they specialise in Octopus dishes but Mr D didn’t mind not having it. We headed back up & saw a nice cosy little eatery. David & Sioux were there as we joined tables with them. The not sick man was with them too. We found out his name is George, from America, he has had some bad luck on the Camino. He tripped & fell head first into a ditch and had severe concussion. He had to stay in a hospital where no one spoke English for 2 days. Then they released him to get on a bus & find his own way back to the town where his backpack was. He said he couldn’t walk straight & had to walk 12 kms to the town. Poor fella. And we were trying to avoid him like the plague. We had a good evening, chatting, laughing, telling stories. Mr D couldn’t finish his burger. I wolfed down my steak & chips, then Mr D’s wedges & a dessert! We all said goodnight, Mr D & I stopped at the bar adjoining the Pension for a nightcap. Mr D had two shots! I had one Irish cream on ice. He wanted to sleep well tonight. The Pension lady served us, she is a real gem I say again! Can’t understand her as she only talks Spanish fast, but she is very helpful & friendly. I have enjoyed my stay not in Melide so much, but the Pension! Such a good day today & this epic adventure is soon coming to an end. Hard to believe thinking back how far we have come, how many places we have been through. Feels surreal….