Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Distance: 12 km
11:45 – I don’t have far to go today so I spent the morning poking around Negreira. My goal was to replace the hat that I lost a few days ago. I’d say that I was only semi-successful. I could only find a few ball caps in a town full of hats that would be popular with the 80-105 age demographic. The one I settled on was pure white, in stark contrast to my last ratty old hat that was culled from a steaming garbage heap in Delhi.
” Where you from and where are you going,” asked the shopkeeper in perfect English. “I’m from Canada,” I said. “I walked from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Santiago and now I’m going to Finisterre.”
He sighed and gave me a look that said “you must be exhausted” before asking: “Is the fire out?”
I told him that I’m usually exhausted by bedtime but I wouldn’t go so far as to say the fire is out.
I was a block away before it dawned on me that he was probably referring to the Alberta wildfires. They’ve been on Spanish TV news regularly.
12:10 – There’s a cool statue on the edge of town that depicts a local man leaving his family behind as he heads off to find work. I don’t know the significance of the way his feet are depicted but I do feel for him.
13:00 – Much of the path today is through lush farm fields, along winding trails with high stone walls, or through shady pine and eucalyptus forests. Pilgrims are few and far between but there are plenty of locals going about their work.
14:10 – I’ve mentioned this before but I’m struck by the number of abandoned buildings in northern Spain. This one would make a great little bar / albergue for anyone with a year and half a million to blow.
“An hórreo is a typical granary from the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula (mainly Galicia, Asturias and Northern Portugal), built in wood or stone, raised from the ground by pillars (pegollos in Asturian, esteos in Galician, abearriak in Basque) ending in flat staddle stones (vira-ratos in Galician, mueles or tornarratos in Asturian, or zubiluzea in Basque) to avoid the access of rodents. Ventilation is allowed by the slits in its walls. Similar buildings (barns) on staddle stones are found in Southern England.
16:00 – I’m in Vilaserio and have decided to call it a day. It’s 6.5 km to next albergue and if it’s full it’s another 14 km to the larger town of Olveiroa. Although I could easily do another 6.5 km, I really don’t feel like walking another 20 km.
18:50 – I’ve done some laundry and am now sitting in the local bar, as far as possible from a couple who are probably French Canadian.
The woman has platinum blonde hair that she is wearing in heavily gelled spikes. She reminds me of the kind of women who hung around the Bell Hotel on North Main in Winnipeg, circa 1983. I like her well enough; it’s her ponytail-wearing male companion that I’m growing tired of.
He says “hay babe” or “eh babe” at least once every 10 seconds. To him “eh babe” can be a statement, a question, a request for affirmation, or something he tosses into a conversation for no particular reason. He’s really getting on my nerves. He’s also wearing a bandana and a Harley Davidson muscle shirt that shows off his 20″ fully tattooed pipes. His pants are oddly loose enough that he could be packing a handgun if not a baseball bat. It’ll take all the beer in this bar before I tell him to STFU.
19:20 – “Senora, uno mas cerveza,” bellows “Eh Babe” from across the room. “And get one for the bald guy at the bar,” he says.
To be continued.