Day 24.1: Memory Lane

Day 24
Date: Thursday, Sep 29, 2016
Start: O Porrino
Stop: Hotel Isape, Arcade     👍
Distance (Day/Total): 23/557 km
High Temp: 26 C/79 F

A single thumbs up or down is simply an indication of whether I would stay there again or not.  It is not a recommendation.  A double thumbs up or down indicates that the place was great and I highly recommend it or absolutely awful and stay away.

Much to my surprise, the Hotel bar, where they served breakfast, opened at 6:30 am.  That’s the earliest breakfast start time.  But today was going to be a short day and after a breakfast of pastry, juice and coffee, I was on my way at 7:30 am.

After about an hour, after a steep climb, came to this tiny village.  Can’t recall the name but remember that it was very clean and looked brand new.  It looked like a commuter town for a larger city, maybe, Vigo.  There was a town center and as I passed a cafe, lo and behold, there are the German foursome, from yesterday, in Tui, where the older guy had fallen and had been bleeding.  I was a little surprised to see them because, at the time, I had thought that that was the end of their walk.  I wondered how they had passed me.  I got my answer, shortly.  Wave.  Buen Camino.  I kept moving.

About 10-15 minutes, here comes one of the women from the foursome.  And right behind her is the guy who had fallen, who turns out to be her husband.  I don’t recall his name or if we even exchanged names but I’ll call him Karl.  Karl spoke perfect English and we had a very pleasant walk together for about an hour or so.  His wife was booking and she soon disappeared from view.  I never did see the other two people.

Karl was actually older than I had estimated; he was in his early 80s.  Walking will keep you young.  His wife was much younger, guessing late 50s/early 60s.  They had done many caminos and a lot of hiking in general.  He had a pretty good pace but his wife always walked faster.  They had a system.  They would start together but walked their own pace.  After an hour or two, she would take a break and wait for him at a cafe or bar.  He’d catch up, take a short break and then rinse, repeat.  And sure enough, an hour or so after we started walking, we came to a cafe where she was waiting for him.  We said our good-byes and I kept moving.

So, about breaks.  I take very few.  In 2014, when I did my first pass-thru hike, I would not only not take any breaks but many times wouldn’t even stop for lunch.  It was the GR65, the Le Puy (France) route on the Chemin St. Jacques.  For 5 days, I walked with a French couple – he in his 60s, she probably 50s.  Instead of a backpack he had a cart on two wheels that was harnessed to him.  He was hauling 20 kg, something he would never have been able to carry on his back.

They would take regular breaks when they would eat something.  I remember the first time we stopped for lunch.  He pulled out a stove and a pot and actually cooked something.  They didn’t eat out of the pot but had their own dishes and silverware.  They always had bread and usually a bottle of wine, also.  Once done, he would fire up the stove again for some coffee.  Other hikers would stop to chat, which often times meant firing up the stove again for some more coffee.  BTW, most of the people walking the Le Puy route are hikers, not pilgrims.

I had a ham and cheese sandwich.  And there was just no way I was carrying a bottle of wine.  The first time I just stared and thought, you’ve got to be fucking kidding me.  And tried very hard not to keep looking at the time.  But within a day I thought this is very civilized and relaxing.  Now, I still don’t take as many breaks and they’re shorter than most people’s but I do try to stop for lunch.  But there’s no way I’m caring a bottle of wine.

Jean-Claude, guy with the cart, had a knack of finding the best spots for lunch.  And he was very resourceful.  One day he found this really great, grassy spot under a huge tree.  There was a house close by and he wandered off.  He came back hauling 3 lawn chairs.  I thought, OMG, we’re going to get shot.  Then I remembered I wasn’t in Texas anymore.  Salut!  And he did take them back after lunch.

Anyway . . . I would never had made it without Jean-Claude and Marie-Ann and we have stayed in touch.  But enough about that and is covered under Travel/2014 Chemin St Jacques from the menu, above.  This post has gotten too long and I’ll break the day into two parts.  Until then, here’s a picture of a front yard of a house in Arcade that was filled with some really cool sculptures.  I stood on the street looking at them for quite a while hoping that someone would happen to come out, so that I could ask if I could come in for a closer look.  But never happened.  And I, finally, moved on.IMG_3093


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