There were a few great things we were happy about this morning. A good night’s sleep, our clothes had dried on the radiator, our boots had dried in front of the woodburner, hot coffee and toast were available at 7.30 and there was no rain. My pantomime poncho and enormous pants have been packed away at the bottom of my rucksack and I am hoping that I won’t be needing them again this trip!
We set off at first light. Considering this is the busy stage of the camino there are very few pilgrims around.
I walked and listened to music, Pam and Teresa chatted and walked a little way ahead. We were conscious as we walked of gunshots in the distance… I could hear them even with my music playing.
We walked into a more built up area of commercial units… I’d caught up with the other two and put my earphones away. A little further along the path we saw a hunting dog run across the way. And a few yards further ahead we saw the hunter. Rifle poised ready to take his shot. We were so surprised to see them this close to the path.
We quickly walked on but it was unnerving hearing the dogs and the shots from all around as we walked through the forest. I guess we must have been pretty distracted because for the first time we missed a marker. Luckily we only walked half a kilometre before we turned and went back but we’re still surrounded by the barking and shots.
Back on the path I searched for a stick. If any dogs did come racing towards us I was going to be armed. Just as I stood up and looked ahead I saw this enormous animal take shape ahead of me through the trees. I was scared so sadly I swore again… F*** ME! says I… Before I managed to get a clearer view. Too late for poor old Teresa, her nerves were already shot from the dogs and the hunters so my outburst made her jump out of fear. I’d already realised 2 seconds later that the big shape was actually a horse sticking it’s head out over the fence to say hello.
I don’t wear my glasses when I am walking so sometimes things get a little blurry. Teresa said she wasn’t going to walk with me anymore as her nerves were shredded but she doesn’t mean it.. and so we giggled our way into Melide and we all hoped we were done with the hunters.
The weather was much kinder today and after all the rain it’s a little humid. We walked on into our first eucalyptus forests… Row upon row of planted trees, standing like soldiers on parade. The landscape is changing and the countryside looks more familiar. The houses are more modern and resemble the modern French pavilion houses… The slate rooves of the mountains have been replaced with red tiles again similar to those at home. The fields are full of corn and the hedgerows are lined with walnut trees and chestnut tress and figs trees; only the eucalyptus look out of place.
So on we walked… All ups and downs and ups and downs… The camino has no intention of giving us an easy few days. We told funny stories and jokes and laughed a lot. We talk about family and hobbies and friends and the kilometres keep dropping away. Sometimes we broke rank and spread out and we were left to our own thoughts… And by mid afternoon we’d done our 20 kilometres and we arrived at Arzúa.
Our last weekend on the camino. Our last Sunday. It all changes tomorrow… Gerry and Matt will leave Les Brasseries and head off down to the Pyrenees, across the border into Spain, across the high planes and on to Leon… They’ll travel in one day the route that has taken me weeks to walk. Tomorrow we’ll all be sleeping under the same sky!