Now most Camino veterans or just pre-walk nerds will notice that this was not an 18 km day, far from it! As we left Eirexe on a beautiful cool morning on gently sloping tarmac, 25 kms looked like a good idea. Melide not being a typical Brierley stop also sounded like a good idea. Unfortunately it started getting very hot as the day wore on, and even though some of the trail goes through shady forest, most is out in the open.
As we sat down for a break and a drink outside an albergue and restaurant just outside Palas de Rei we were sorely tempted to stop for the night, like everyone else around us seemed to be doing. However, a short day now would mean less time in Santiago which S really wanted – and who can blame her? – so we pressed on. Luckily we found a little hole-in-the-wall bar along the way where we could stop for a cold drink and a racion of about half a wheel of cheese! but it was good walking food and kept us going.
As we got closer to Melide we decided to try to book a room so we didn’t have to go from place to place which might already be completo. I booked at a place that the German pilgrims we met at Morgade had told us about and which had adverts along the road and looked alright. Got a room, was told to be there before nine or lose it. By now the long day and the heat was starting to affect us both and we were not exactly zipping along. Luckily there were some laughs along the way too (I guess you had to be there …)
I suspected S had started getting blisters but as we didn’t stop to examine them, I couldn’t be sure. In the end I went ahead to make sure we didn’t lose the room. I was getting really hungry too, and a hungry peregrina does not a happy companion make. S knew the way, the route is well marked, and so off I went.
It turns out the hotel/hostal was not as close to the trail as advertised – and the room wasn’t even in the same building! When you are tired and worn and just want to stop for the day, having to walk a block and a half to the place where the bar and food is, and then back to the room, can seem a very big ask. It might also mean putting walking shoes back on, depending on your second footwear choices. I did manage it though, was shown to the room, showered, did some bits of laundry and hung it to dry on the radiators as there was no more heat in the sun by this time, and dragged myself back to the hotel bar just in time to order a meal before the kitchen closed. It was clearly mostly a drinking bar in the evenings and the football was on, so all was well. S showed up and went straight to the room to shower and chill, she really had had a long day but she got there!
We didn’t decide on where to go next day, but decided to leave it until we had woken up properly and taken stock of any aches, pains and blisters. It does take time for the body to adjust to this daily long distance walking, and Day Three is generally known as Pain Day as this is where your muscles and tendons and your head have to have a serious talk about what you are doing and why, and come to some agreement on how to play it from here. Normally this means the body demands more protein, more water, more stops, and the mind agrees to not get too carried away and keep the distances within reason and gradually increase them. The camino is a shock to the system and it tends to come to a head on Day Three. I figured the best thing we could do was try to get a good night’s sleep.