Barbadelo - Morgade - Ferrerios - Vilcha - Portomarin - Gonzar - Castromaior - Hospital
When we signed off last night, it was almost dinner time at Casa Carmen. With about half an hour to spare, we wandered back down the path to the small church. With its overgrown garden, you would not expect to find anyone there. But a service was underway, in Spanish, with just 5 people in attendance. We sat in the back pews and listened.
Though we have no Spanish to speak of, we heard the word peregrinos many times and soon understood that the priest was giving a pilgrims' blessing. He motioned for the members of his 'congregation' to say where they were from. The priest ushered a Spanish lady to come to the altar to read the blessing in Spanish, then a German man, then a Frenchman, and finally, asking us where we were from, he gestured for me, Jenny, to go up to the altar, where I read the pilgrims' blessing in English. Soon after, he gave a final blessing to the 7 of us, and the service was over. It was an unexpected and special experience.
Arriving back at Casa Carmen, and into the dining room, our fellow peregrinos were already seated - 10 in total, with 8 of us staying in the albergue and 2 in a private room in the Casa. Our dinner was superb - we both ordered Galician soup, roast chicken and the freshest salad, followed by homemade cheesecake (more like a flan than what we know as cheesecake). With bread, wine, and what seems to be an obligatory shot glass of Orujo to complete our meal - our total bill for dinner for two was 20 euros.
Galician soup (we are told turnip leaves, potatoes, beans and some type of meat stock) is a specialty of Galicia, and a definite favourite. It's just delicious. The roast chicken was juicy and tender, with the meat falling away from the bone. The skin was light and crisp - no seasoning required. We agreed it was the tastiest roast chicken ever. Our French friends judged the meal 'superb' so it wasn't just that we were hungry, as always.
One other highlight of Casa Carmen we forgot to mention in our last update. While the Casa farmhouse and other buildings date back to the 17th century, the grounds include a small 15th century chapel (Capela de San Silvestre). The son of the family (who was also our waiter at dinner) was happy to open the chapel so we could take a peek.
After our special afternoon and evening at the Casa, we made an early start today, setting out around 7am, with four French peregrinos just behind. We passed each other at various times throughout the day, as we stopped in one cafe and they the next. As often happens we have ended up in the same private albergue tonight in the small village of Hospital, offering twin rooms with shared bathroom for 33 euros.
As anticipated, the weather was much cooler and the skies were overcast, but for a few patches of blue sky finding their way through. We walked mostly through country lanes, and were grateful for the cooler temperature as we made our way back to our 'usual' distance after our shorter walks of the past two days. Though a cold wind arrived this afternoon, there was no rain. So, in our view, the conditions were just fine!
It was an uneventful day, as we ambled along. But even the most uneventful day on the Camino is likely to bring special moments. We came across a delightful gentleman who has created a resting place for pilgrims across the path from his Casa. Or we should say, he came across us as we were investigating, introduced himself and insisted on photos all around. Another highlight was the table of goodies outside the home of Fina and Daniel, offered gratis to peregrinos (photo included). We chose two bananas and left a euro. Just two examples of the kindness we have been shown by the locals on The Way.
When we set out tomorrow we will have less than 80 kms to walk. We discussed today that perhaps our pace is slowing. We concluded that it's more that we have no sense of urgency. We know when we want to walk in to Santiago, with Martin / Coach to greet us, and what we need to do each day to get there. So, as always, it's just a matter of one foot in front of the other, as it has been for each of our 26 days so far.
With many thanks to Georgia, Audrey, Deb, Belle, Ian, and Anonymous?, for your emails and comments. Great to hear from you.
By the time we wake up tomorrow morning (Spanish time) Coach / Martin will be boarding his flight to Paris, via Abu Dhabi, then on to Santiago. Safe travels. See you in front of the cathedral, in not too many days from now - we hope!
Jenny xx and Jill xx