The day started with breakfast – typical Spanish breakfast, with toast and jam, coffee and juice. Oh, and cake. When I asked for cheese we were given some, so that was protein for our walking legs sorted. We three and T were in no hurry getting back on the road but the morning was lovely and promised even more good weather. Which was exactly what we got.
As A now forwarded her pack she once again flew along the track and enjoyed the lush greenness of Galicia, while B and I walked in perfect step behind her, and with our sticks we sounded like something quite scary. I enjoyed the walk very much, feeling the anticipation of getting there as well as the excitement of being with good people. I don’t think I was trying to stall or being reluctant to finish like I normally am. It was a brilliant and glass-pretty-much-full kind of day.
We met T again in Arzua and stopped for a coffee to fortify ourselves before the long walk through the woods on the other side of town, one of my favourite parts of the walk. We also stopped at the café on that path in the woods – the name escapes me – where I once sat and talked with M, who is no longer with us. The happy mood around the table allowed past and present to mix in my pretty-much-full glass without spilling any. We also stopped in Salceda, where I normally spend the last night before Santiago, but this time we just rested and refreshed at a café I have never been to before. Something new every time, even after so many visits.
The end goal this day was Pedrouzo, where I have never stayed before, and where we had a room for three booked. Our speedy Sarrian flew before us and checked in, so when B and I came into town, warm and weary and ready to stop, we met her there – only to find out that the room I had booked with a bath actually had a shared bath – meaning not only were we sharing, but everyone else too! This was a big dent in my happy day but the girls tried to assure me it was okay. I kept telling myself that we would have shared with a lot more people in an albergue but I still felt a bit stupid. Honest mistake though.
One benefit of the room was the large window and small balcony where we could leave our shoes and dry some clothes. It turns out extended Pacerpoles make pretty good clothes racks! Also there was a hairdryer available and A wasted no time trying to dry her socks with it. Such is the glamorous pilgrim life!
In the evening we sat at a table outside a restaurant just pilgrim watching. Suddenly there were so many people, so many pilgrims, everywhere. And all of them, whether they were dusty from weeks of walking or still lively and clean from a Sarria start, had that strange buzz about them – excitement at being one day away from the cathedral, sadness at ending the journey, joy at being with friends old and new, regret at having to leave them so very soon. I thought I would hate Pedrouzo, I have always avoided it, but now I remember it with an odd fondness and wouldn’t mind staying again.
Our room, though without a bathroom, was lovely to come back to and I went to sleep looking forward to another sunny walking day with my peregrinas and trying not to think about what that would mean: Arriving and then inevitably leaving.