Boom baby! Longest day yet on the Camino complete with smiles and jokes still in play! We walked from Palas de Rei to Arzua yesterday – a mere 29.4km or 44,635 Fitbit steps over 8hours that may or may not have included a beer / wine and French fries stop!
The day began at about 7am as our hostel came to life with all the pilgrims excited or nervous perhaps to get their day started! We are close to Santiago now with most finishing within the day and you can feel a difference in the energy.
After leaving our extra duffel with the heavy stuff in the designated mochilla (backpack) pick up spot we hit the path. It was get it a ride to Arzua – we were walking it.
There was a local restaurant that bragged of their churros and chocolate (a Spanish breakfast treat) that I was keen to give a try. Well turns out they didn’t have any yesterday morning. Boo! So we moved on to another cafe – but my churro hunt continues!
We ended up in La Pulperia Cafe / Bar just blocks away and loved it. The bartender and waiter were high energy and they had the most amazing and massive Croissant Napoletana (aka chocolate croissant) and steaming hot cafe con leche for us! We added a banana to make it healthy of course.
With a coffee and chocolate spring in our step we headed out of town and towards our destination of Arzua!
The path was great today – easy under foot as the guidebook said with lots of short ups and downs to keep the muscles limber. It was a bit cloudy in the morning but warm when the wind was down, so pretty perfect walking weather. Here are some highlights pre-afternoon break:
We were delayed slightly by a wee farmer moving his cow crew from one pasture to another … seems a regular occurrence based on this happening two days in a row and the vast amount of dried ‘stuff’ on the path!
Oh and again delayed by an impromptu and of course very important photo shoot …
Finally at about 1230pm and 20km in we hit an awesome cafe called El Aleman in Boente. It was a great little place with lots of pilgrims and energy and the coldest, best tasting beer and vino blanco (white wine) we ever had – not to mention the fries!
After some proactive foot care and some much needed sunscreen for me (wow the sun is baking hot here), the afternoon continued with some great sights and a few tough slogs as the kms started to add up and the temp kicked it up a notch!
By 430 we were at our great hostel Via Lactea in Arzua and getting freshened up for dinner out. We threw some laundry in so had to chill at a bar across the street while we waited for the washer to complete (hard life I know!) and couldn’t resist another photo shoot and to try the local Arzua cheese!
One of my favourite things to watch during our post walk pint is the Santiago Shuffle as we have named it … the way pilgrims walk, shuffle, limp, drag their bodies about for an evening meal after they have showered and start to feel just how sore they and their feet are from the say’s walk. Makes my Santiago Shuffle a little less noticeable or at least normal! Haha
Once the laundry was hung to dry, we headed out to find some supper. Lead astray by the tourist information guy, we added a couple extra kms to our day before finding Le Churreria for our interesting pilgrim’s supper!
We started with bread and white wine, then you pick a first plate or starter. I chose Arroz de Cubana (which we now know means rice with tomato sauce, 2 fried eggs and some miniature hotdogs) and the dried ribs and chips for plate 2 or the main course. Lana started with lasagna and then finished with spicy pork and chips. We both got cheesecake and coffee too, and a bottle of wine (to share). The food was interesting if not good and way too after such a hot and long day – we were both tired and looking forward to our beds truth be told.
Back at our humble abode we discovered this hostel was not as good as we hoped. There are only half walls between each of the rooms and the hallway – do any pilgrim going to the bathroom, talking, snoring, laughing or even rolling over in the squeaky wooden bunk beds was in stereo. Yikes. We we both up till 11 which was a couple hours later than usual for us pilgrims and up early this morning due to the cacophony of alarms and backpack sounds that prevented sleep beyond 5am-ish.
The life of a pilgrim is an interesting one – you go with the flow mostly but do create your own when you can. So this morning we are up with the flow but will take our steps, our Way today and that hopefully includes chocolate and churros!
We will check in from Pedrouzo in 20km!