Today was an interesting day for a number of reasons. The Young Danes were making a bold dash to Santiago, I was going to visit the church that cures dropsy(I didnt know this at the time) and then i had booked a quiet room in a rural pension 17kms out from Santiago in order to relax before arrival in Santiago again; the Old Young One was only going to have to walk 5 kilometres and she would be in Santiago; and Fräulein was going to walk the boat distance of the spiritual route to Padrón alone.
I hadn’t planned on leaving early as I only had 10 or 12 kms to walk to Areal so I was no where near ready when the other pilgrims started shuffling about at 6:30. the Young Danes very kindly waited while I packed and prepared my feet and left with me for our last day walking together. Just as we left however the Fräulein messaged me saying she was scared as a man seemed to be following her and she had called the police. She was on a different camino to us now so there was not much we could do as we had no idea where she was. After a few exchanged messages she said she was okay and we headed out on our way. For me this also meant out of wifi.
It was a busy trail this morning as it seemed every man and his dog wanted to get to Santiago. We chatted away and I particularly enjoyed hearing more about Denmark from these very nice ladies who were clearly slowing down significantly to keep me company.
We stopped at the first bar opened to have our cafe con leche etc and logged back into wifi to find out Fräulein had been escorted to the railway station by the police. It seemed the man who had been annoying her had been driving back and forth in his car even getting out and trying to be a bit too friendly! I was horrified! The Fräulein was very upset but unharmed thankfully.
Apparently she had a photo and was able to identify him from a police photo so he apparently was known for something else. They wanted her to formally report to the police in Santiago and provide them with copies of any photos she had taken.
She was clearly shaken and in need of some friendly company after a very scary encounter. As luck would have it I had booked a twin room in a relaxing village and she could walk from Padrón easily after her train journey.
We were all pleased to hear the police were so helpful and available on such an unpopulated track and that Fräulein had had her wits about her. I looked forward to hearing the details when she arrived In areal.
We soon realised it was time for us to part ways. I said goodbye to my danish friends outside the cafe and wandered up into a large church with very loud bells ringing. It wasn’t until later one of the Aussies from Brisvegas informed me that this was the church known for the miracle of curing dropsy! How wonderfully appropriate for me! I can only assume my visit will prove i too have been the subject of this miracle cure!
Anyway I arrived very early to the pension in areal – before the limpiar de chica had even been! I gratefully accepted the owners offer to drive me down to his bar on the main road to sit and wait. While I was there drinking coffee the spanish men from the mountains dropped in and said goodbye, the French couple from Brittany and a host of others I’d been meeting. It was quite a pleasant rest actually. Then the owner drove me back and gave me the best room in the house with a picturesque view of the countryside from the window.
Fräulein arrived an hour or two later and we headed back to the bar for dinner- what do you know- there were the Aussies from Brisvegas! The camino really does become a very friendly big family after a week or so!
I even enjoyed chicken and vegetables again! We went to sleep early ready to get into Santiago before the crowds.
The unfortunate harassment incident somewhat clouded an otherwise exciting solo adventure for Fräulein! Thank heavens she was still in the suburbs and smart enough to call the police, photograph the man and his car and, hide in the shadows to avoid being harassed again while waiting for the police – apparently he even drove back around a 4th time!
There are very few pilgrims who actually walk the espiritual variant camino with most taking the boat. Solo travellers should consider this incident before deciding on their route!
Hasta mañana my friends- tomorrow we will walk into Santiago together!