Tuesday 9th October
“If you’re going through hell, keep going”.
….. Winston Churchill
What a day?
My early morning wake up call set at 6.15am was my earliest yet. My intention was to get an even earlier start and so it was. But my early exit of the “pension” was not only shrouded in pitch darkness but greeted with relentless rain.
I so knew that today’s trek was going to be difficult!
Thankfully I was accompanied by a French Canadian couple who quietly passed by me while I cursed in very fine Castilian during my wrestling match with my oversized poncho! Getting it on was fine, trying to cover my whole self with it was proving a monumental challenge in the blistering rain.
Like every morning I set off at a fast pace hoping to cover as much distance in the first couple of hours and I was almost shocked, paralysed even when I asked a young peregrino for the distance covered at that point. He smugly unhooked a pedometer from his jacket and almost jokingly told me we had covered just 4 km. My jaw fell and I almost dropped to my knees. This was unbelievable, how could we have made so little progress?
I continued along my way almost in shock knowing full well that I would not be able to make it, so by the time I reached the next “watering hole” I couldn’t but help myself and ask the waitress what distance we had covered.
Almost 10 km!! Great news but my greater satisfaction was telling the young man that his pedometer was crap!
The rain continued at regular intervals and the walk, although less hilly was becoming a muddy affair especially when we crossed through woods and countryside. If the weather hadn’t been so bad, I would readily admit that today’s scenery was a lot more appealing. There were several moments which almost jolted me out of my reveries especially when I was confronted by a herd of cows coming towards me marshalled by a trained Alsatian that actually made the cows go almost in a single file by running alongside them and expertly directed by the shouts of the accompanying “pastor”. (I must admit that at that moment I was more scared of the bloody dog than the cows themselves!!)
And so the trek continued, past Melide, a small bustling town, which in hindsight should have been my stop for the day. But my eagerness to get to Arzua was getting the better of me. Unfortunately I miscalculated and my planning was not well planned! I had not foreseen that my resting place for the night would be so far off the peregrino way and far from Arzua. That being the case and following advice from some locals I decided to veer from my route a couple of kms from Arzua and head “sideways” – map wise – to the idyllic location I had chosen.
The tiring day was more or less forgotten here in Casa Brandariz, a rural lodge with immensely beautiful surroundings. A countryside oasis where all that one can here is the melodious chirping of birds, the cackling of hens and the rustling of the trees as the the gentle breeze picks up. (Oh yes, and the clang of somebody loading a tractor with logs!)
A bit of paradise for a change!
Anyway to cut a long story or should I say trek short, this stage will be remembered mostly by the rain, rain and more rain, although I must admit that whilst I write here in the patio area the sun is making a showing and is making my writing all the more pleasant.
Tonight I am really looking forward to some Galician home cooking and if lunchtime is anything to go by I am in for a wonderful treat!