Albergue Witericus to Sobrado dos Monxes, 8:00 to 16:00, 31km
It was a strange day for the number 31 all around. It started when we left the albergue, in the dark. Again. Because I have a hard time staying asleep when surrounded by a bunch of people, apparently. So poor Drew had to drag his tired body out of the warm hostel and out into the cold for me.
We walked through the forest for about an hour while the sky lightened (yes, it has been taking until 9 or later for the sun to fully rise in this part of Spain. It has been surreal.). We then came into Miraz and a little cafe. While we waited for our breakfasts, we were approached by another pilgrim. He introduced himself as Hugo, from Belgium. Then he proceeded to introduce us to everyone else in the cafe! Such a gregarious, lovely man. He started his pilgrimage (his second) from Antwerp on the 4th of July. He has walked over 2000 km, and does not want this trip to end. He has been writing down which countries are represented by the pilgrims he meets on the way. He had never met anyone from the Philippines on the Camino before, so I became his country number 31! We took our picture together, and I signed his book; I admit, I felt kind of special :)
After that, we spent the day walking through country lanes and on dirt/gravel tracks next to small highways. The terrain was fairly flat, so we just ate up the miles and ended up in Sobrado dox Monxes, a small town with a large monastery that also houses pilgrims. We arrived at about 4pm, and the pilgrim reception office was still closed. So we headed to a bar in the center of town. Who do you think was sitting there but Johannes! He greeted us warmly and of course, gave Drew a hard time about his huge backpack. Typical ;)
A couple more highlights from Drew:
- Just after sunrise, we passed the studio of a stone artist named Chacone. Missed getting the wax stamp in our crendecials (Johannes showed me his on our arrival at Sobrado dos Monxes), but check out the beautiful carved stones in the wall surrounding his studio. And his mailbox.
- Morning coffee with Hugo, who is a cross between Christopher Plummer and Max vonSydow
- watching another walker sing to herself and make cellphone calls (loudly) while walking ahead of us. Hmmm… trying not to be annoyed.
- The albergue at the Sobrado dos Monxes. Wow. What an experience.
- Checked in by a Sean Connory-like priest (multi-lingual and quick witted)
- Drew: “Where are you from?”
Sean: “The mother country.” With a sly grin.
“Well, now, that’s the question, isn’t it?”
- Drew: “Where are you from?”
- Thirteen beds to each vault-like room, the six bunks on each side (literally) taped together. One person moves, all get to feel it!
- Interesting: bed slats on underside of top bunk covered in a fairly thick white fur of mold. Never told Lisa this.
- Johannes tries to do laundry, but the machine shocks him each time he touches it.
- Surreal visit to inner cathedral, which is overgrown inside, but still has pews. WTF?
- Lis (and I) a little ‘peopled out’ after beers with all, including Johannes, Guido (first time we met), Tommy from Netherlands, Albert from Bavaria, and a brief visit from Hugo, so we go to dinner just us. Amazing dinner, with magical mushroom and nuts dish.
- Not much sleep, but beautiful stars through the cloister when I get up for bathroom breaks