We are now in the Region of Santiago. We are approaching the last 100 kilometers of this 800 kilometer walk. It is hard to imagine that we are actually nearing our destination.
Today was a long day of walking with much more climbing than we expected. There are cattle everywhere in the simple villages with their deposits all over the streets. We have moved back in time. We came upon the pancake lady, an older lady, maybe even older than I, who stands in the stone street with a plate of crepes which she covers with powdered sugar and gives to any willing Peregrino. They tasted wonderful. She gets up in the morning, milks the cows, separates the cream and uses it to make the pancakes. Even on the chilly Galician Days she stands out there morning, noon and night.
The walking is still going alright, but the general foot pain from walking up and down very rocky paths day after day is an almost constance presence even with the Ibuprofen. The conversation with each other sometimes helps the discomfort. The views are still breathtaking. We are in the mountains now, so we are able to see for miles the green paddocks, many with a handful of cattle grazing. The fresh eggs from the chickens that roam freely have provided many nourishing and tasty meals. There have been local dishes, from lovely soups to the pulpo (octopus).
There are chestnut trees everywhere including one of the oldest ones in the world. Chestnuts and walnuts are all over the place on the streets and in the grass. Fruits and vegetables are being harvested.
Last night Dragan did not make it out of the algergue common area before the doors were locked. He couldn’t find the emergency exit and ended up trapped there all night. He had come in very late in the past since he spends time each night skyping or phoning his wife. At 2:30am I checked the door to our building (separate from the albergue) to be sure it was still open for his entry. I woke some time before 6am to a still empty bed in the room. I dressed and went over to the albergue and was unable to find a door anywere that allowed entry. I went back to our room and waited until 7am when he finally returned. I began to wonder if he had slipped and fell in the dark. While it was concerning, there was no real problem other than the frightening thought of many dozens of people caught in a locked building. We are keeping close track of him tonight.
There has been so much to experience here. It is late and there will be another long day tomorrow, so I had better call it a day and get some sleep. Five of us are now walking together, three from Germany, one from Spain and me. Saw friend Lois again after a number of days. Paul and Jan cross paths with us often. The friendships are a central to this Pilgrimage and they are often the most spiritual part. Tanya asked more about Mary Ann, especially feelings about her death and the impact of the Camino. I have found it quite therapeutic to talk about her in this context.