We arise as usual, with roosters still crowing. And as usual it is pitch dark outside. There are already walkers heading off on the trail. They have head-torches on to see their route as lampposts are not that common out in the sticks and those that are around, their radiance isn’t that strong. We prefer to wait until day light before setting off as the trail, being uneven in parts, would be tricky to negotiate with or without a head-torch. Day light gives you a better view of what is in front of you. There are no first aid stations and we wonder how we would deal with a serious injury out here … plenty of signs for taxis though!
At breakfast we meet a group of girls from all over Ireland and who are walking the full 31Km to another stop. We wish them well … Buen Camino!
My feet are badly blistered but the plasters and bandages are great and allow me to walk. It gives rain for all day and the morning is quite damp but warm. We pull out the waterproof coats and put them on before we leave. The walk is short, 14/15km to Melide. We are splitting the full route to Arzua in to two days of 14/15Km each.
We are passed by loads of Spanish youth all singing and generally having a laugh. It is uplifting to hear them. It really does seem to be some form of a ‘right of passage’ for these young men … something to accomplish before stepping into manhood. Many cyclists pass us too and they seem to be handling the route much better today … loads of Buen Camino from them.
In the quiet of a wood we pass a small group saying a Rosary as they begin a hill climb … is it for the Camino in general or a prayer to help them to get up the hill! Their prayer brings an air serenity and calm to the wood. We didn't join in.
The rain has started and it begins to pour down but the trees provide protection from the brunt of it. Suddenly we have a Chicken Licken moment. An acorn is dislodged by the rain and it hits my wife on the head. She lets a yell out of her and rubs her head … I turn away!
Our coats keep us dry from the rain but the heat leaves us damp with sweat. It is very uncomfortable and the bandages on my feet are saturated and have lost their value. My feet soon begin to ache and I take very slow and careful steps. I feel every little pebble pushing against my blisters. It’s quite painful but we soldier on. Each encouraging the other.
By the time we reach Melide we are soaked and we head straight for the hotel to change. My socks and bandages are stuck to my feet from the glue of the blister plasters that has weakened due to the rain … very painful in removing these. It is at this point we realise there is nowhere for us to dry off our clothes and also at this point my wife informs me that that is why shoes and boots are tied on to the backs of backpacks … to dry and air in the sun!
I hang our wet clothes up in the wardrobe hoping they will drip dry over-night. Later that evening I purchase a poncho as these will cover the backpacks and don’t sweat you as much.
Melide, is a town similar to Glengormley or Dundonald … not very nice … a more functionary town than historical tourist town … not much to see at all.
We are sitting in a tavern later that evening and outside it is still raining. Pulpo (octopus) and filete (steak) are the regions popular dishes. Having previously tried octopus and disliked the texture in my mouth it is definitely off the menu for me. It is crowded with Camino walkers and we recognise quite a few faces. All those walkers like myself are resting their feet by wearing flip flops. Despite the rain and blistered feet we enjoyed today much more than yesterday. My wife is in much better shape than me and has no blisters at all. Perhaps women’s shoes with their high heels harden their feet over the years or being on their feet most of the day has hardened her feet. Whatever, she is in much better shape than me. Wine and coffee are served in little Chinese style bowls and bread is dipped in both. The chorizo sausage is magnificent though and shares no similarities with what passes for Chorizo at home …. and they have potatoes on the menu and that is exactly what you get, a plate of potatoes!
A middle-aged Spanish couple that we have befriended from afar are just arriving in to town and they are inebriated but jolly. It is after 7.30 in the evening! They are all smiles in the rain, wave at us and then head on to their hotel. I had noticed that they stop at every café and have a drink … perhaps that’s the way to do it!
After the meal we ask for the bill and the waitress looks at our table and roughly estimates the cost in her head and writes it on the table cloth … never saw that before.