We did indeed manage to get going earlier today - we were up at 6am, and on the road by 7am. There was a minor diplomatic incident when at 6.20am we decided that as everyone in the room bar a solitary Australian girl was up and packing, it was reasonable enough to switch the lights on. Indeed many of the albergues switch the lights on at 6am. Anyway the Aussie kicked off, and told us how inconsiderate we all were - apparently everyone in the room should have packed up in the dark so she could sleep in peace. Clearly she is one of the walkers starting at the 100km mark!
The good news about hitting the road at 7am was that we had the Camino to ourselves. By reaching Gonzar yesterday we've managed to get ourselves 'out of sync' with the itineraries of the major guide books. 100km is the minimum distance required to earn a Compostela, hence the floods of people turning up to do the bare minimum in their walk to Santiago. I'd have a lot more respect for them if they'd chosen to walk one of the more interesting mountain stages.
Poor Rupert has been struggling with the common Camino complaint of sore shins after a week of walking fairly fast with us hardened peligrinos, so this morning Kim gave him some of her ibuprofen stash. Given that Spanish pharmacies sell the 600 milligram pills (three times the strength of the pills in the US) Ruups was out of the blocks like a champion greyhound, tail wagging and full of beans. It was great to see him on such good form. As we raced down the path alongside the hilly road we were occasionally passed by taxis, which we assumed were ferrying tired and broken peligrinos. The local taxi firm has cleverly opted for tinted passenger windows, allowing the passengers to hide in shame.
After a couple of hours Kim and Kurt emailed me, asking if they should wait, as they assumed we were behind them, when actually we were in Brea, 40 minutes ahead of them. We'd been walking with a lovely guy from Vienna called Werner, who lives in London in Battersea, just down the road from where the Plummer clan is based. Werner decided to stay at one of the villages along the way, but we later doubled our German quota when Helga and Emma joined us.
I was walking along with the boys and Emma when suddenly we saw a small horse with an enormous erection. Cue much shouting and excitement on our behalf, and some awkward looks from our five-legged friend. Rupert and Helga were a little behind us, but Helga quickly realised why we were so animated, and explained to Rupert that 'the horse is in a sexy way'.
We stayed at a brand new albergue in Melida - they'd opened in mid-May. We were all laid out on our beds when the Aussie girl from this morning was shown into our dormitory. She took one look at us and did a swift about turn, much to the manageress's confusion!