I hope you will forgive the Orwellian reference, but we escaped from room 101 at about 6:45. I hope that the room number is not an omen.
We followed the road for a while out of Palas de Rei and also followed Hanni and Peter. Funny how we enjoy seeing them, even though we hardly speak.
Now, on the camino there are those who fail to fully enjoy the sounds of the country because they are listening to their I players as they go. I can ignore these but the twitterers just get on my nerves. A couple of days ago there was a french woman who simply would not shut up, fortunately we could easily outpace her. Today, however, there was a Spanish couple who talked inccesantly at the tops of their voices. You simply could not hear the birdsong for their row. We tried to outpace them but they kept catching us up. There was nothing for it but to stop, they went ahead, peace at last. That was, until they stopped for something and we were back in front of them.
We continued leapfrogging them for 6K until Casanova when we finally stopped for a coffee. (Had there been anywhere else we would have stopped sooner).
Richard and Tina arrived while we were there and so then did Peter and Hanni. We are turning into quite a family group.
We found out something that has been bugging me for a while, from Tina. At almost every house and farm there is a very narrow building on stilts running roughly north – south. They are built with open bricks and all have a similar roof and often a cross on the roof. I thought that they were osiaries, Viv that they had offerings to the Saints. It turns out though, they are much more prosaic; they are to dry corn for the chickens, built on stilts to keep the rats out.
We continued on through mixed woodland for another couple of hours until we decided it was time for a break. We had some of our remaining juice, that we had bought the night before and some nuts. We also had a comfort break behind some trees.
Now refreshed, we sprinted off at a fair old pace. We must have covered a kilometer when Viv realised she did not have her camera. Now, all things mechanical are replaceable, what was not replaceable are the 1100 pictures she has taken. “We can’t go back” she said. What I could not do, was go on with her in this state, so I headed back to our last stop. It was fairly easy to find, as someone had broken a walking pole and left it there, as a marker just for me. I could find no trace of the camera, nor had anyone I asked seen it. So I waited there for Viv. Fortunately she recognised the exact tree where she had stopped and there it was, it must have fallen out of her pocket right there.
It was getting near to lunch time and for once we happend on a good spot before we collapsed from hunger. At a place called Carballal there was a cross surrounded by concrete benches. We found one in the shade and got our yogurt out. Then a cat came, it sat there meowing and pleading. Then his brother came, next was big brother. They knocked over our sticks rubbed our legs put their best pleading faces on. They just did not give up. Fortunately I have years of practice staring cats out, you’re on a loser here sunshine.
We stopped for one more coffee, it was getting hot and we were seriously behind time. So when we arrived in Castaneda, Richard and Tina were already there and settled in, they told us about a hostel, and I was seriously tempted. We wanted to be within 40k by tonight and were not for stalling.
The road was hot and so were my feet. At every opportunity I put my boots into water to cool them. Viv had wet her buff and that was keeping her neck cooler, but we were struggling.
Viv was in constant hope because of the way markers, but they were 3K out according to my map. I don’t know who was right, but it was a mute point, Arzua was 3K further than they would have us believe.
We came down the hill to Ribadiso and there was a bridge, underneath were people in the water. Too much for me, I had to dip my boots, Viv, not to be outdone went knee deep. In for a penny, there we were with our boots on, standing knee deep in cold water. Boy was it nice!
There was an albergue here, and again we were tempted, but we carried on. One German guy said you will not enjoy soggy boots after 2k, but the cool feet were a joy until we reached Arzua.
There is a hostel on the outskirts, but I wanted to go a bit further in. We had three opportunities to avoid Arzua and now we were going to regret not taking one of them. Three hostels all complet and we soon ran out of town to explore. The park benches looked nice, but we followed the camino. Now they even had notices in the windows “Complet”
I really thought this time we would sleep under the stars. We followed the road back towards town and found an albergue. All they could offer us was two top bunks. With neither of us on the bottom, where do we put the bags? I did not fancy this at all, so we walked “I would rather sleep under a hedge” I said.
We sat on a bench and ate some of our provisions. I made a decision, we would walk back into town a little, get a meal and head off down the Camino. Tonight we would sleep under the stars if neccessary.
At the bar I asked “hay comida” “no” was the very informative answer. I said to Viv “Great town this, no food and no rooms”.
This is purely for the Kellogg people out there; sat in the corner was Kieth Ahmen. It was, of course, not him, as he spoke to me in Spanish. I am sure that there was a look of recognition in his eye though.
He directed us up the road and to the left. Not only was there food but four hostels to choose from.
We got a room, on the fourth floor with no lift, but it was good, clean and had plenty of hot water.
So, once again we were saved from the brink, and I really wonder how much truth there is in what they say about not being able to get accommodation on the Camino.