Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Day 38: Negreira - Santa Mariña

After yesterday we did make an effort to get away early, and we were on the road by 6.45am. The heat really has picked up, and while the first hour of walking was rather balmy, I could feel the temperature shifting from 'lovely' to 'not so lovely' before we'd stopped for our first breakfast break. Now that it is just the two of us our first meal of the day tends to be a bit faster - we just have coffee, orange juice and a croissant - but even so the difference in temperature by the time we're walking again is noticeable.  

More like  40°C or more in the early afternoon
The Camino after Santiago has far fewer accommodation options, as apparently only about 10% of people carry on walking to Finisterre. This meant that we were facing either a long 32km or a shorter 21km day, and by the time we arrived at Santa Mariña we realised that it'd be much more sensible to stop early and spend the rest of the day sitting in the shade and drinking cold beer. It does leave us more to do tomorrow, but we'll be closer to the coast so hopefully there will be a bit of a breeze to cool us.

The Casa Pepe albergue was lovely:  a really remote location (Rupert thought I was lost but I assured him we were going in the right direction!) and very modern. The dormitory even passed the crucial test of whether the owner has bothered to install a decent number of electricity sockets. 

It did feel a bit unusual to have a full afternoon in hand, as by the time we'd showered and washed our clothes it was still only 2pm or so. Much earlier than our normal routine. The roasting sun meant our thick socks were dry in an hour, so our only concern was the amount of ice cream we could decently put away before supper. Last night we bumped into James and Cahir, a couple of guys from Ireland, and we ended up talking to them for most of the evening. They had a wicked (and typically Irish) sense of humour. James was quite reasonably riled by the number of people who had pulled out their cameras and phones to photograph the botafumerio in action, and we had to guiltily confess that not only had we done just that, but we'd also given each other a stealthy thumbs-up when we realised the whole thing was going to happen. Oops!

The heat really has been oppressive. I don't actually mind walking in it so much, but it is the inability to escape from it in the evening that makes it so hard to deal with. I took a quick shower before I went to bed (my third of the day) and was sticky and sweaty before I'd climbed onto the top bunk. Fortunately things tend to cool down during the night - assuming someone hasn't unilaterally closed the windows to recreate the Black Hole of Calcutta, which I've experienced a couple of times since leaving France.