Our requisite “buenos días” as we pass locals on our Camino landed us in quite a conversation this morning. We were in Arcade, seven kilometers into our 18 kilometer day. She was headed uphill, maybe 80 years old, with a cane for support. She was well below five feet tall, spritely for one with a cane, with lively eyes.
She stopped after our “buenos días”, indicating a conversation was coming. She asked where we were from, then whooped at the idea it was the United States. And then in short order she recounted each and every turn we would take from Arcade to our ending spot of Pontevedra. She told us about the bridges we would cross, what century they were from, as well as when to be careful crossing the highway.
Then she looked at us, raised her eyes to the sky, did some mental calculations aloud, 11 am, 11:45, 12 noon… “If you have good legs, you will be in Pontevedra by 1:30.”
Apparently our legs are not as good as hers.
And clearly she has walked to Pontevedra numerous times in the past.
Maybe she could still have beaten us there, us with our walking sticks and her with her cane.
We arrived in Pontevedra at 2:15 today, just in time for the midday Spanish meal.
Today’s travels were what you expect the Camino to be: wooded paths, old Roman roads and country lanes, criss-crossing through farmlands and bucolic mountain villages. Yep, mountain villages. There were some climbs today, as well as the more difficult descents. We saw more by-hand agriculture than I have seen since the days my parents made us farm a plot of land outside of Weedsport. Women worked the fields alongside the men. Roosters crowing were a constant background sound. At every turn, eucalyptus forests.
Today’s 18 kilometers were a welcome respite after yesterday’s grueling 31. I should have read my own advice from yesterday before setting out this morning: you are never almost there on the Camino. Even though our day was a little over half of yesterday’s walk, we began deluding ourselves that we were just around the corner from Pontevedra, only to discover time and again that another town loomed between us and our destination.
Lunch: delicious local sea bream, and even more delicious Ribeiro white wine. After nap and shower: discover the beautiful seaside town of Pontevedra. Maybe tend to a blister or two also.