Caldas De Reis 14 1/2 miles
Miraculously, I’m feeling great! Last night I slept horribly with a lot of aches all over my legs. I had great spirits and energy this morning, then something awful happened to my ankle that slowed us down quite a bit. Paul gave me his ankle wrap and the second walking stick, we slowed our pace and I prayed. Now we are at the albergue, I have showered and I am feeling great. I saw a french bulldog today and it warmed my heart. I absolutely loved the café we rested at today. It was cozy and beautiful, even the bathroom was pretty (speaking of which, I’m basically a pro at peeing in the wilderness- as long as I have tissue). We had amazing weather today which lifted our spirits. Back to the café, we sat at a table which was at the entrance, enjoyed juice and café con leche and bought snacks for the road. We took our time, enjoyed the view of the countryside , and I actually felt like I was on vacation. We are seeing a lot of pilgrims now, a lot of them were on bikes today. Our first couple of days on the journey we barely saw any pilgrims. I can’t believe we had an albergue to ourselves one night in the beginning. Our goal tomorrow is to go further than Padrón, the next town, so that we have a shorter day’s journey to Santiago. I am excited to see Santiago, but I also don’t want this to end.
This was the first night I remember being woken up from the ache in my legs they were protesting at this point. There wasn’t any way to stretch to fix it, just take ibuprofen and hope for the best. Paul was experiencing the same thing. The only way I can describe the pain in my ankles is that it felt as if a big vein had rolled over onto my ankle bone and that when it pressed against the side of my boot it was a horrible shooting pain. I’d be fine for a few steps and then it would hurt so badly I’d lose my breath, then be fine for a few more steps. This slowed us down a lot, but we worked together and got through. At this point in the Journey the waymarkers were old Roman pillars with a kilometer countdown to Santiago. It was fun seeing how we kept getting closer and closer. We were overrun by bicyclists at this point. You can bike the Camino as well, but have to go twice as long. It was hard because they don’t give you any warning they are coming up behind you and the whiz past so fast. Paul was told by the Portuguese group of Pilgrims that there was an incredible waterfall, but it was a detour off the path. My legs and ankle were so achy and I didn’t want to walk any more than was required to I rested on a bench while Paul went to it. Per Paul, it was magnificent and it came from as far as the eye could see, like fluffy clouds coming down the mountainside.
This town had a lot of old public baths for pilgrims and we saw a few of them washing their feet in a bath outside of our albergue. This albergue actually had the option to wash laundry in an actually washing machine and a dryer (one day without wet socks drying off of my pack) for a small fee, but every time I tried to find the guy who worked the desk to ask for it, he wasn’t there. We ate dinner at the bar next to the albergue and ran into the two pilrgims from Georgia. One of them helped us to order some tapas, that weren’t crazy fish.We explored the town for a bit after dinner and stopped at a pastelería and ordered what seemed like one of everything, but actually about 5 small pastries to share and a couple of teas. Paul ended almost every day at this point with a mint tea. In Spain when you order a drink, they bring you a snack so whenever the woman brought us a tea, she gave us more pastries!
The albergue was crowded. It was mostly bikers and they were so loud and stood around in their undies blocking the way to the laundry sink and bathroom. We had side by side bunk beds again, so we were close which was nice, but our legs ached this night too. We were taking ibuprofen every 4-6 hours just to maintain. It wasn’t a specific hurt, just achy protesting legs. But I’ll tell you, a shower and a change of clothes and shoes, made me a new woman every night.