Monday, May 23, 2016
Distance: 22.8 km
8:50 – I was one of the last to clear out of Albergue Ferramenteiro in Portomarin – and that’s saying something as there were between 250 and 400 beds. It was clean and modern but stuffing that many people into one low-ceilinged room the size of an NHL ice pad is simply crazy. I won’t miss you, Albergue Ferramenteiro.
Here’s a view of the back split albergue from the lakeside. The massive dorm is in the basement – basically the dark green section in the photo – but from the street you saw the top two floors which tesbled a quaint country inn. I was half expecting to be met at the door by Bob Newhart.
11:00 – I ran into Victoria, a Russian / American woman who I first met back in Saint Jean Pied de Port and John from New Orleans who only started the Camino yesterday. Vita had me send a birthday message to her daughter as she has no technology and hasn’t been in contact with anyone off the Camino since early April. John was headed up the road to a parked your bus. If they’ll give him a ride to Santiago he’s prepared to packet it on Day 2. Chalk up another Camino “casualty” to a combination of inadequate training, heavy backpack and pre-existing foot issues flaring up on Day 2.
15:50 – Many pilgrims are talking about how difficult it has been to reserve beds along the final 100 km stretch into Santiago. I haven’t pre-booked anything on the Camino (and only about 5 nights out of the last 700) so I’m not terribly worried. Still, when I got to the village of Portos, about 4 km shy of my original destination for today, I decided to start enquiring about availability. The first and possibly only place in Portos jade two beds left. I took one and the second was scooped up a few minutes later.
19:30 – For an extra 10€ you can sit down for a very nice meal served “family style.” The group of pilgrims included two Italian women, two German women, a retired German pharmacist, 20-year-old Amy from Australia and Antony and Louise McQuen from England. When I asked Antony what he had done for a living, he replied “I drove ships.” I later learned that he was a Captain in the Royal Navy.
I don’t know how he’ll feel about me mentioning this but he freely stated that he’s 68. I looked up Prince Charles’ age and he’s 67. If I wasn’t reasonably certain that Liz and Phil havent hidden an older son from the world – he’d be heir to the throne after all – I’d swear that Antony was a Windsor.
He was a first rate conversationalist with endless stories and truly funny quips. He wasn’t overbearing but there was never a dull moment and he had a gift for including all at the table in the lively conversation. In short, he was a jolly good chap. And Louise was lovely too. Perhaps more Camilla Parker-Bowles than Princess Diana but obviously a person of distinction. I was so glad to have met them and will always consider this as my first and quite likely only brush with royalty.