Camino de Santiago, Camino Frances, pilgrimage, Spain

October 2nd, Day 31 Melide to Pedrouzo ‘A Bag of Mixed Emotions, and a few Gnarly Blisters’

We have plans to meet the gang for breakfast in town before we get on the road, so we are up and out early. I have slept incredibly well, but I think after 40km yesterday, I could’ve slept anywhere. The hostel we stayed at was more of an overflow hostel and there were only about five people in our room, so we were rewarded with a good night’s sleep. However, I feel irritable this morning – a combination of exhaustion and mixed emotions as we embark on our next to last day of walking.

The town of Melide, which we didn’t get to see last night, is already coming to life at 7am, which is odd for Spain. Cafes and bars are open for business, so I’m relieved to know we’ll get a coffee first thing. We find the others at their hostel and backtrack a few blocks back to have breakfast, and by the time we leave town, the sun is up.

Dima, Keren, Tammy and I are walking together and the path is busy again today with more pilgrims doing the obligatory last 100 km to Santiago. We stop at a German guesthouse because I need to doctor my feet. It seems cruel to have blisters on the next to last day, but everyone is patient while I apply compede and gauze to the bottom of my feet. We move on, but I quickly drop behind and make a pit stop at a cafe for a cortado. Maybe it will improve my energy! I walk on at a very slow pace, but Tammy and Keren have waited up ahead to do a health check.

We sit on a bench just before entering Arzua and make plans to stop in the next village for lunch. I’m tired and grumpy and in a fair amount of pain. I know when I get like this, I need to be alone. Tammy hangs back to find a pharmacy and I head on.

The path seems to go on forever and I keep thinking that I will stop for food and a rest at the next place, but there is no next place. Ramon catches up and we see a sign for a cafe 300 meters ahead, but we quickly find out this doesn’t exist. I am spent and I have at least another 20 km to do after lunch.

We finally find a cafe, and Tammy, Ramon and I meet up for lunch. I stay longer and rest for almost an hour. I tell the others to head on, that I need some solo walking time. When I feel I have the gumption, I lace my boots back up and head out. The odd thing is, I feel wonderful – good and strong, and my feet don’t hurt as much! For how bad I felt before, I’m really not sure how I feel this good now, but I’ll take it.

I find a good pace and trail Tammy for the afternoon. I finally catch up with her at a picnic table where she is resting because of shin pain. We have really done ourselves in with two long days of walking. Up ahead there’s a small roadside restaurant, and we sit together for an ice cream and an Aquarius – fuel for the last 4 km.I set out just ahead of Tammy, and cross the last town before Pedrouzo. Randomly, I find wifi on the outskirts of this town, and I see a slew of messages from the crew. They are already checked in at the albergue and are saving us beds at Puerta de Santiago. I message Tammy, and as I hit send, she walks up behind me.We walk the last couple of painful kilometers together, arriving at the albergue around 6pm. After showers, we get the laundry going and make plans to go to dinner as a group.

I’m delirious, grumpy, in pain and hungry and thirsty, so before dinner i find a little bar and order a vino tinto, which comes with a calamari tapas. 1 Euro later, I am satiated just enough to rejoin our group of nine and head to dinner.

We sit in the back room of a restaurant and it’s ages before we’re able to order, but the hamburger is worth the wait, and Tammy has treated our table to a bottle of vino tinto – a celebration of the 75 km we have covered in two days.

Tammy, Kyle and I hang back for an after dinner drink and dodge heavy rainfall as we run back to the albergue. Despite the long two days we have had and the solid 20km we have to cover tomorrow, we sit up til midnight, chatting and finishing laundry. The others have made plans to leave at 6am in order to make the noon Mass service in Santiago. I am quite ok with attending evening Mass if it means a few more hours of sleep.

Before I head to bed, I send a message to my old colleague, Trish, in NYC. I’m full of mixed emotions and I feel like I need some advice from someone who has been here before. My message to her reads,

Hey lady, I arrive in Santiago tomorrow!! I am a bag of mixed emotions… Not sure I want this to end. If you have time today, do you have any advice on post camino? How were you feeling? I plan on going to finisterre with a friend by bus and then she will leave. I may go back to Santiago and then walk to finisterre as well. We will see. Hope all is well with u

I fall asleep to the sound of heavy rain, hopeful it will clear for our last day of walking, our entry to Santiago.
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