Warmed by a breakfast tumbler of properly aerated though bouchonee vino tinto, I set out on what I had been told and feared would be the hardest ascent of the journey. My performance on this day would determine whether I would be able to make my return flight or indeed whether my self-propulsion truly had been folly.
Over the mountains and through the woods, there was a slight mist, a rushing stream, a small village built along the banks. My wandering mind following the meandering, ascending path before me, suddenly disrupted:
Why ponder the meaning of life or your daily, when an invitation to coffee in an unknown village awaits?
Raphael left earlier in the day than me, and found this friendly albergue and Chicago born hospitalero. Also an independent Australian girl, Felicity. She asked if she could walk with us that day, and indeed the three of us walked all the way to Santiago together.
The climb us O Cebreiro was an intense let-down. Perhaps I’d just become accustomed to straining my body to breaking, but this ascent, though intense, was not horrifying and indeed not the most straining of the journey.
There were pleasant places to stop. I remember one cerveza at the top of a steep aascent, outside on the patio with chickens pecking around our feet.
Past Hospital de la Cruz. Past Fonfria. Hello fresh raspberries for sale by the honor system on the side of the road. On to Triacestela and the ever-present hunt for beds.
Our first stop is full, but we manage to negotiate some pallets on the floor. These won’t be available until lights out, so we must find a place for ourselves in the lobby.
A French professor of Philosophy has a copy of Le Nouvel Obs; none of us has paid attention to the news of the world for weeks.
A Canadian couple have made too much soup; it becomes our first course.
Felicity tries to explain that Australian is just like English despite Raphael’s inability to understand anything she says; an impressive discussion of English grammar ensues.
There’s a grocery next door that sells lentils and capsicum; I make dinner.