Friday, July 03, 2009

Day 37 - Palas de Rei - Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Portomarin -> Palas de Rei = 26K (Only 66K to go – Wow!)

I was out of the albergue at 0715 and walked across the high bridge, trying not to look down.

It was 0900 before I found a place to stop for breakfast. I was disappointed there was no toast available. Small disappointments seem big sometimes. I really love my morning toast. (Maybe the disappointment is disproportionate because there is so little one actually has control over - expecting something as simple as a piece of toast and then being refused takes on larger meaning in that context.)

I walked through eucalyptus trees today. The perfume intoxicates me.

I stopped at the old municipal albergue (3E) in Palas de Rei about 1300. The private albergue up the street was already full, so I consider myself fortunate to have my daily bread here. (Private albergues will often take phone reservations and many pilgrims call ahead - I usually do not stay in private alburgues for a number of reasons, cost being one of them.)

The municipal albergue has a sign on the door saying it will be closed to pilgrims the next few days. I wonder if there is a local holiday. Or could it be for an annual cleaning (purging for bedbugs) before the actual tourist season begins on 1 June?

This albergue is really Spartan. It seems dirty, but it is old and old places tend to look worse. For 3 Euros, I share the room with about ten people, mostly men, and the shower arrangements are not good (no privacy). I decide to forgo my shower. I spend most of the afternoon sitting on a park bench (my leg hurts so walking is out) soaking up the spring sun.I can hear the pilgrims at the private alburgue laughing in the bar.

As I sit soaking up sun in the local plaza, a couple of pilgrims walk past with their two young daughters. The children look to be about 7 and 9. I am not sure where their Camino began actually, but I am impressed by the parent’s patience and good nature as they juggle the logistics. Just walking the Camino is no easy task.

I have heard these young girls have learned to deal with some of the attention they receive, by saying “You can take our photo if you buy us an ice cream!” A little scary actually!

Other Camino tales: The Prime Minister of Ireland recently walked the Camino along with a large group of friends. Bruce Springsteen will walk the Camino in August (2009 or 2010?). At one stop, I was told Anne Hathaway was among the pilgrims staying the night.

One of the women who runs the Pilgrim office in Santiago is getting married this weekend in Santiago. Pilgrims are invited to attend. It would be fun to participate.

The afternoon and evening stretch out before me. I have no plans and the town does not offer much diversion. My aching leg keeps me from walking much. On days like yesterday and today I wish I had carried a good novel with me. I will no doubt spend the time sitting with other pilgrims who are also biding their time till we can all sleep and wake to another day.

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