Saturday, February 11, 2012

Pilgrimage Day 32: Ribadiso - Arca do Pino

This day on my pilgrimage feels very strange. I wake up and think about that tomorrow, I will be arriving at Santiago de Compostela. Tomorrow I have walked 800 km over 33 days. I feel in good shape and could have gone much further. In a few days I will be sitting on a plane on my way home in a timely and efficient manner. In older times, if you once had walked a few years all the way to Santiago de Compostela, you just had to turn around and walk all the way back again. I have met some people who have started from Astorga and returned afterwards. But it is seldom that you meet someone on this journey coming towards you, walking back home again. Those I have met who are on their way back home say it's great. Not least because they now have the sun in their face and they do not have to see their shadow all the time. Now they wander with their shadow behind them, looking ahead in life and greeting countless expectant pilgrims coming towards them. Today I'll be having another day mostly in the woods. And this is really beautiful. I look forward to today's hike. There are not many villages. Maybe 3-4. The light in the forest is fascinating. The colors change constantly with the changing light.

After a few kilometers, I come to Arzua. I stop at a small roadside cafe here and buy a my breakfast. Here I sit and relax and greet the many pilgrims who walk past me. "Bon Camino" we say to each other. There are many on the road now. The number of pilgrims I have met on the road has increased for every day I have approached Santiago de Compostella.

I follow the asphalt road a bit and then back to the forest. It is 12 km to the next village, Salceda. This is a slightly larger village. Not much to see here. A large collection of houses. People seem to live normal lives here. It's ok to see normal living after many days of feeling being in the Middle Ages. I pass a memorial plaque in the woods here which says that a pilgrim named Guillermo Watts got a heart attack right here in 1993 and died. His shoes are placed in a glass boks right next to the plague. I pass by several small collections of houses. Not really villages. Only a clusters of houses. Maybe a family who lives together and have lived here for generations. It must be difficult to sell a house to the middle of the woods like this and no roads. The places I go by are called Xen, Ras, Brea and Alto de Santa Irene. After having walked 20 km today I come to the village of Santa Irene. There is a cozy guesthouse here which I consider to stay at. But there is a note on the door saying that they will not open until later in the afternoon. So I decide to wander 1 more kilometer to Arca do Pino. Here I find a privately run guest house that is open and I get a bed for the night. While I'm find myself at home here, I see that there is a TV team walking around the premises and take pictures. They say the movie their making is for a morning program for Spanish TV. I go out in the evening and have a good dinner and think of tomorrow's leg towards Santiago de Compostella. I am relieved that the wound I had under my left foot is healed and that my ankle inflammation is over. I think back on all my adventures. I go to bed later at night and sharing a room with four young people from Japan. Looks like two couples. Unfortunately it seems that one of the couples are having a big quarrel. They are arguing loudly and go to bed without saying goodnight. I think that it is so unnecessary to argue. Make Love not War. I sleep well with great expectations for tomorrow.

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