October 31, 2015
Baamonde to A Roxica, 15 miles
Today was beautiful. The temperature was pleasantly cool and there was no rain. First we walked through rural countryside, the roads and paths covered in leaves, and it made me think that this must be what New England looks like in the fall.
Then we came to a rocky area that reminded me of Texas.
We hiked with Detlef for the afternoon again, and the conversation varied from serious and deeply personal to jokes, laughs, and good-natured teasing. It’s an understatement to say that we have gotten attached to our stray German.
We stayed at an albergue called Casa Roxica, which was part of a fully-functioning farm. The albergue was actually a small complex of rooms attached to the home of the proprietors, an older, very welcoming couple.
We were the first ones to arrive but were soon followed by Brandon, Alia, and Guillermo. Later, a tall, rail-thin man in shorts and flip flops arrived. He introduced himself as Martin from Lithuania. Amazingly, Martin had been walking 25-30 miles a day since starting the Camino several weeks ago, and what’s more, he was walking it in flip flops. He was fascinating. He speaks numerous languages and works in Japan as an interpreter. And this was not his first long-distance walk; he had completed the Shikoku Pilgrimage in Japan, which involves visiting 88 temples while walking about 750 miles. Most tourists complete the pilgrimage by car or tour bus, but a small number of people, including Martin, walk it. He had also completed a portion of The Great Himalaya Trail, a trekking route through Nepal. His adventurous spirit inspired us to look further into both of these incredible hikes.
That evening, our hostess made one of my favorite Spanish dishes, the tortilla, which is different from what we’d call a tortilla in the US. It’s sort of like a potato-egg casserole, and when it’s good, it’s REALLY good. Sometimes it’s called tortilla de patatas, and in Barcelona it was called a Spanish omelette. I liked to eat it for breakfast because it was edifying and offered a great source of energy that got me through the morning hike. In some areas of Spain, I could find tortilla with tuna, which made for an even more filling breakfast. I’d never had tortilla for supper before, but turns out it’s good at any time of day!
Since it was the last day of the month, we looked at our mileage numbers for October, and not surprisingly they were record-breaking for us. We walked 437 total miles (including both miles on the trail and walks around town once reaching our destination each day) and over a million steps! My feet were definitely feeling the effort of those one million steps; they had been swollen up noticeably over the past several days. It probably didn’t help that I was drinking too much coffee and wine and not enough water, so I made water consumption a priority for the remaining days of the hike. We were so close, only 3-4 days from Santiago, and I didn’t want anything to get in the way of completing our walk.
We enjoyed sharing tortilla, wine, and stories with our fellow peregrinos, and then we all kicked back for the rest of the evening. All of the bunk beds were in the same room, and there was a sense of intimacy as each of us quietly did our own thing: Detlef and Dale lay in their beds and read; Martin crawled into his sleeping bag and promptly went sleep, Guillermo sat at a table and wrote in his journal, and Brandon and Alia lay nestled into a single bed, talking and laughing quietly.
As for me, I elevated my feet, wrote notes and a blog post, and allowed my heart to break over the fact that this pleasant moment–and our Camino–would soon be over.