Saturday, 29 June 2013

Day 31: Tricastela - Barbadelo

Not much to report today. Beautiful weather, a gentle climb over a low hill and a leisurely 24km to Barbadelo, which is just after Sarria, where the people walking the last 100km to Santiago start. I suspect this means we'll have more albergues and cafés to choose from. The flip side is at for the first time all trip I'm beginning to look forward to the prospect of being back in London - not having people rummaging around the dormitory for their 4am start, and letting my feet recover from the daily destruction. 

Today's walking was mainly with Kim and Rupert, as Kurt had sped off full of beans with his leg finally feeling good. And the boys had spent the day talking to each other and giving us some peace and quiet! When we got to Sarria they decided that they'd stay to watch the street mountain bike competition that is being held tonight, which meant that we (Kurt, Kim, Rupert and I) had the last four kilometres to ourselves, and a quiet supper to boot. And of course tomorrow we will have a mewl-free start to the day. Walking conversation included refrigerator design differences between the US and Europe and prison reform, among other things. 

Tonight we're staying at a lovely albergue just outside Barbadelo. The owner has cleverly put his albergue at the entrance to the town, so that the people staying here can tell the tired peligrinos how good the showers are, and that the place is worth the relatively steep €9 for the night - albergues usually start at around the €5 mark. The supper here was delicious too - home made flan for pudding, rather than the slightly forlorn effort that comes in a plastic pot, which I've specialised in downing in one go. A sort of flan shot, if you like. Tae-Hyum and Sammy, the Korean and Finnish guys we've been bumping into for the last fortnight, ate with us, and we had a lesson in the etiquette of Korean bowing - right hand on the stomach, left hand on the right, then a full 90 degree bow. We practised this, much to the amusement of the other pilgrims from South Korea on the dining terrace. 

Everyone waving at my cousin Richard back in London
Finally, someone asked me where I'd stayed last night. I've lost all sense of where I've been each night, and usually have to ask one of the others, or check my pilgrim credential. I slightly got lost with the name, and ended up saying we'd been at Villabocadillo de los Templarios de la Virgen, which translates as the Sandwich Town of the Knights Templar's Virgin - which in retrospect was a) the perfect composite name for most places on the Camino de Santiago, and b) utterly befuddling. But tonight also marked the first stamp on the reverse of my pilgrim passport - one stamp a night has seen me fill up a full side since I left Lourdes.