Saturday, April 20, 2013

Day 30:Melide- O Pedrouzo(34.6 kms)

It is only 50 kms left to Santiago! I cannot believe I have been walking for 30 days now. The goal is so near.

As usual, we are one of the last to leave the albergue.  We are out of the door at 8 am, say a prayer at the church of Melide a few meters away, then after a pan neapolitana and a coffee, start our walk at 9 am.

Old laundry stop

From Melide, we reach the next town of Boente at about 10:30 am.  We stamp our pilgrim credential at the church as we found out that once passing the 100 km mark, which is around the Sarria area, one needs to have two stamps per day to get the Compostela certificate that you have finished the Camino.  At the church, we find that a pilgrim has left his credential-- not good as you need it to sleep at the pilgrim houses and as proof of finishing the Camino. We look at the name and see it is a man from Hungary, a pilgrim we had met before. We met him first when we saw him having problems, sort of dizzy and totally exhausted one day.  We asked someone to look out for him and told him to just hitch a ride to the next town (which we found out he did when we saw him later at another stop).  This morning we had seen him just outside the albergue and we had asked how he was doing and where he was going this day.  We brought the credential to look for him and we found him after about a kilometer of downhill trails, actually looking through his bags and remembering he had left his credential at the church. When he saw us waving his credential, he said -- you are two angels.

Galician landscape
Long and leafy trail

I leave a euro - the price for a small pack of strawberries at an unattended fruit stand along the Camino. Honor system here. They are delicious. We arrive in the town of Arzua and look for a place to have lunch. We are lucky to find the Restaurant de Peregrinos where we share a pilgrim menu of spaghetti carbonara, ternera asado (beef stew) and the super best blueberry cheesecake ever.  The generous servings were more than enough for the two of us.

Roadside fruit/food store - honor system
Rock crossing

Later, after more trails going through rolling terrain and through farmlands, we pass the Cafe Calzada at 3:30 pm and have a coke.  There are 2 men sitting outside who have gaitas, an instrument that looks and sounds like bagpipes.  I ask the man who looks like the leader if he could play something and he did. It was great! The music sounds Irish but it is actually Galician folk music. He tells me that some other people will come to play in 10 minutes or so as they were practicing for a fiesta for los gentes mayor in Arzua.  They do arrive in a few minutes and play some music which I record on video.  I ask the name of the band. They are called "As sobreiras do ulla".  The leader says it is in Gallego, the language of the Galician region of Spain.

 Gaita music by the group As sobreiras do ulla

Cafe Calzada with the gaita music players

After staying about 30 minutes there, we continue on to O Pedrouzo another 12 kms away.  We arrive at 7 pm and check in at Porto de Santiago, a very nice private albergue.  We put in some laundry at their washing machine then go for dinner at O Boi pulperia.  Dinner is a shared menu of pulpo (octupus), churasaco (grilled meats), a bottle of wine and an apple tart.

We need to sleep early for our last Camino day -- a 20 km walk to Santiago.  We want to get there in time for the 12 noon pilgrim mass.

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