Here comes another thirty-something stage. To be precise, 32 km. A little disturbing thought, as I’ve noticed that around the 30th km my walking enthusiasm starts to rapidly evaporate in the hot Spanish sun.
We left early (what a surprise) the tiny tiny village of Gonzar and we were on the road again. The good thing about not starting from the major stage ending points (like Portomarin the other day) is that you can actually walk and enjoy the process without the contest feeling I sometimes got on busier parts of the Camino. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy competition spirit every now and then, I even normally get motivated by it, but for me it is not compatible with the Camino. Challenging myself – definitely YES but that’s another story.
We enjoyed a cool and foggy morning. Road walking is not exactly my piece of cake, but on the other hand it made me appreciate the more rural paths later on. Focus on the good
After walking on what seemed to be a main road, luckily our way parted and we were on a quiet, smaller one, surrounded by farmland.
We stopped for the traditional by that time cafe con leche at one snug looking albergue – Casa Molar at Ventas De Naron. In other circumstances, I would stay there for the night with pleasure. We had to go, though.
In general, not many people appeared further during the day as well and the terrain was not demanding. Mainly flat, passing frequently through villages. Without any signs of struggle whatsoever there we were at Palas de Rei. It has a number of albergues and bars, as it is end of a stage and many pilgrims decide to stay there. It was at that moment that it dawned on us it was Sunday, I had completely lost track of such details. What reminded us was the fact that the supermarket was closed. All day. Because it was Sunday. At that point I refused to accept this though, however, later that day, when even in Melide no supermercados were open, I finally realized it.
We passed several small villages after Melide. At the last one (Casanova), I was seriously tempted to stop, as Melide was 9 km. away. This is the place we saw for the last time the German couple we have been bumping into since day 1 of our Camino – always staying at the same albergues and meeting during the day. You get so used to people coming your way daily that you expect this routine to go on forever. That is why, sadly, after we walked another 9 km that day we lost tracks and no contacts were exchanged either.
The last kilometers before reaching Melide seemed longer that they actually were. Sunny, hot, some ascent, I couldn’t wait to reach it. I expected another village Gonzar-type, but Melide instead turned out to be a small town. For a second I even became self-conscious of my pilgrim looks as everyone was looking so civilized. This lasted only a second.
The first albergue we tried did not fascinate us at all. Exhausted but still choosy, aren’t we?
I am very happy that we chose another place! The albergue on the door of which we rang (there IS a bell) was not on my list of albergues – O’Cruceiro. It is located in a beautiful renovated building at the very centre of Melide. Clean, light, a lot of space, high ceilings, wood floors, just lovely kitchen and we were given a room for 6. It provided a very nice student-like feeling.
Melide is the place I finally tried pulpo. I had heard contradictory opinions from various people, so I knew I would either hate it or love it. I think I tend more towards the second option. Served on a wooden flat plate, in olive oil, with red pepper and salt crystals. It is eaten with wooden toothpicks. There are specialized bars offering the thing (but it can be found in ordinary ones as well), called pulperias.
Getting closer and closer to Santiago de Compostela.