Day 43 Portomarin to Eirexe 18.07km – All quiet on the Western Front

A late start meant we missed the crowds – it also meant we could meet a few stragglers like ourselves. People who were clearly not in a rush and happy to stop and have a coffee or a cold drink in between meals. I am sitting outside another albergue listening to Bonnie Tyler would you believe? Yesterday I marched along to Bon Jovi outside one place. Occasionally we actually hear local tunes but moreoften not.

Most people walk from Portomarin to Palas del Rei – a 24 kilometre journey. We have decided to limit our walks this week and hopefully I will not arrive in excruciating agony every night and husband can enjoy the strolls. Today is still around 17 kilometres. To a pilgrim coming from France or further afield that is a short day. To anyone back home it could be considered pure torture!

We stayed in a hotel of sorts last night. The idea was so we could sleep in. Funnily enough because it is a place filled with pilgrims they assume you leave early. We were woken by the cleaners at 7am because they thought we had gone. Admittedly we left our door a little open so a breeze would get through but luckily we put a chair near it to deter any rushed entries. The bang was a little sudden though for the start of the day.

The walk itself was quite pleasant. It didn’t really start getting hot until a few hours into it. In fact I even started the day with a coat on again. Its much nicer to walk when its cool. Because we were leaving after 9 the locals were out in force preparing for a fiesta of some sort. They were covering the streets with leaves in readiness for something exciting. We weren’t going to hang around and find out but maybe it meant something big as we hadn’t seen that sort of preparation before.

We wandered over the water and up the hill on the other side and enjoyed a pleasant walk through the forest and the countryside. We spotted a few more of the strange little huts we had been seeing since arriving in Galicia and had lunch on a terrace with a nice outlook across the valley. I asked a Spanish man what they were and he said they were for storing corn but no-one grows corn here much anymore.

One of the most interesting things we were seeing in these parts was vending machines placed out on the street and even seemingly in the middle of paddocks. Quite convenient for pilgrims who had developed a thirst or needed a bite to eat but we couldnt work out who controlled access to land in these parts. Obviously that is of significant interest to me as I have spent most of my life negotiating agreements to use land. It seemed anyone could run a power lead onto the street and stick a machine out if they felt like it.

Finally we arrived at Eirexe and a couple of Kiwis who we kept bumping into were staying at the same place and so were the two American ladies who we had first seen at the albergue a couple of days back during the heat wave. They were the onnes sipping cold drinks watching us leave after lunch when it was 42 C in the shade – you know the first day I started singing on the road again.
Anyway we all went across the road and had a decent feed and everyone went to bed early – these guys all get up early so we thought we’d give it a shot. When its complete daylight its hard enough for me but, I also found it difficult to sleep in the oversized single bed which was classified as a doble matrimonial. Husband had a couple of beers and was out like a light. He was still recovering from heat stroke.
I went downstairs to do some reading and writing and Kim, one of the American ladies, was down there as well. We had a nice chat and I called a couple of places to reserve beds for the next few nights as things were so busy it felt as though we might miss out because we walk so slow and leave so late. Kim said they had not been game to sleep in the Albergue dormitories like we do because she was frightened of bedbugs and things. Ironically that night when I went to bed in the nice clean pension I was a little itchy and found it hard to sleep.
Husband slept like a baby! We both woke up with a couple of bites! Aargh…


Buenos noches.

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