Camino Diary Entry # 36

601#36 Portomarin to Palais de Rei 24 kms We CAN and we WILL do this.
Emails home from the Camino
We ended up walking much of the day with Ann and Theresa having met up at the first drink stop.
Again there were the rural paths today. Some of the villages showing small signs of life such as the bread lady driving her white van (everyone has one!) along and tooting persistently to bring out all the wizened apron-clad women to claim their daily bread stick. If you’re not going to be home you just hang any old plastic bag on your front door instead!560
It appears that it is largely the responsibility of the women to move the cows along the road for milking time. Yesterday I was confronted with a herd of just 8 coming up the path at me to take a left turn at the corner. Sure enough, there behind thrashing a long switch at their rear was Ma Farmer – dress down to her ankle boots, floral smock apron on top, a white ‘mopsy’ showercap hat on and a face all scrunched up into an unhappy raisin.
I don’t think she even saw the 4 of us standing quietly so as not to distract the beasts as she drove them along.
562Wandering a little further behind and in absolutely no hurry came Pa Farmer, clean trousers, warm cardigan and smart hat – nodding and beaming at us all and at the fine job Ma was doing!
There is certain sense of ‘the end is nigh’! The paths are now getting cluttered with keen young things on university break. You can pick them a mile away! The girls all have shorts that scarcely cover their cheeks, their packs are way too heavy. Their lovely slender legs are begging for some sunscreen and apart from hiking boots already being discarded for ‘trainers’ you can tell by their jaunty swagger that they are just a day or maybe two, into this. They are cheerful and pleasant and we are a little envious of their enthusiasm – that is until at about the 4 km mark where we round a corner and there is the first bunch, now melted into a sweating heap, packs abandoned in the middle of the pathway! Growing up is tough and experience can only be earned! From there on, they start the shade-tack-walk (Gwyn’s specialty!) where you zig and zag from one bit of shade in desperation to get to the next!
Today was a doozy! 34 degrees and not a lot of shade!
We have only just been enlightened about the criteria to get your compostela on arrival in Santiago. We understand that many of these ‘100km only’ (call themselves pilgrims?) may not realize that from Sarria onwards you must get 2 passport stamps a day.
There is a little concern that Gwyn only has one from yesterday but in discussion with her and responses of several one syllable words, I gather her care factor is not that high!
We were mighty pleased to ‘make camp’ again today – 7 1/2 hours after departing from Portomarin.
At 6.30 pm it was still 34 degrees out there and 2 hours later had fallen to 29 degrees!
632There is no aircon tonight! We have the windows thrown back and the screen shutter down which is good for a bit of air and bad for listening to all the locals chat and hoick!
Ann and Theresa happened to have booked the same hotel and are pushing themselves on tomorrow – they are just desperate to get there!
We have a rest day and shall indulge in laundry and rest!
We showered and dressed in our shorts (ready to have a second showers before we even got down the hallway) and went up to their room to see if they wanted to join us for a meal. Oh it was a sad sight! Not only are they dealing with new blisters but in the extreme heat today and some recent weight loss while walking their knickers had given them chafing so bad they couldn’t get dressed again! Too sore to wear knickers and no change of clothes that weren’t going to hurt them!
I remembered leaving my unused tube of chafing cream behind in Atapuerca – hoping to make someone’s day way back then and assuming that when you haven’t needed it in the first 2 weeks then when you only have 3 days to go all this aggravation is well behind you!
Fortunately I had another tube of something and while happy to share I wasn’t prepared to give them the whole lot! It offered some relief to their symptoms and an hour later they shuffled gingerly into the cafe next door where we were dining.
To add insult to injury Ann has since been back up to ‘borrow’ some Diastop tablets for the violent disturbance that is now afflicting Theresa! (No, I absolutely did not give away my whole supply!) So we may just see the girls again tomorrow!
Funny, we really did think that by now throbbing feet, hotspots on your toes and muscle cramps would be replaced by a phenomenal level of fitness and feeling of extreme well being (I’m not even going to talk about self righteousness!), but I have to tell you that it is all a load of old cobblers! Instead the wheels are falling off left, right and center!
I am sorry that again this is long winded, but you have now all become the means of our personal recording of this bizarre and possibly daft experience! So read it, or delete it – we really don’t care any more!
Less than 80 kms to go! We CAN and we WILL do this!


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