We set off in the wet today which is always a bit miserable. The Way was well marked and we soon left the suburbs behind and entered some coastal villages. We were actually travelling in the hills behind the towns and so there were few cafes. Fortunately there was bush for a couple of comfort stops! We walked through lots of Gum trees today and we felt like we could be in Sherbrooke forest again. The path was more varied with muddy patches, rocky tracks and our nemesis the cobblestones. Lots of winding lanes and mossy walls. We could see glimpses of the sea at times and even hear the surf. It was a pretty walk.
By the time we found the second cafe we were wet and cold and so was every other pilgrim! It was a hole in the wall place and jammed with pilgrims having coffees and hot chocolates, standing room only. A couple of locals popped in and watched us and then were served their port or wine at 11.30. There was a great atmosphere. Suitably refuelled we walked on and when the sun came out we decided to take the opportunity and perched on the base of a monument to have our lunch of cheese bread and ham.
Irene was in need of a toilet and a gentleman was walking past and started to speak to us. We had a lot of difficulty understanding him but Irene used her Spanish to ask where some toilets might be. This he understood and offered to take her to his home just a couple of houses away. She was very relieved and grateful. Apparently his wife was there too and they were offering her food and beverages. She reluctantly declined explaining that we had lunch. She was so touched by their generosity. Irene has had some very moving experiences and I think that is Camino magic.
Bill had a tough day with the bike. Lots of stairs, and rough rocky tracks. He stopped to talk to a woman who was going the opposite way. She was walking back from Santiago the coastal way after walking to Santiago the inland route! She said she loved walking and had completed 15 Caminos. She warned Bill the next stage would be hard with the bike and she was correct!
I saw the old wash house which was full of tubs with fresh running water. Very communal but cold in winter!
There were no shelters or seats even until we were almost at the end. Despite that disadvantage we made good time and enjoyed the walk.
We came across some interesting objects in a garden. They were all painted red and many were farm implements or pots or any paraphernalia, painted red. It was a quite amusing collection.
At our hotel in Âncora we were all thrilled to find we had a bath. What heaven to soak in a hot bath then have a shower. Ahhh! Fully refreshed we lounged in our rooms till happy hour where we discovered a barman, Andre, who had a bald head, lush beard and a fun personality. Irene has gone alcohol free again So she had two mock tails but Anne and I wanted something hot. So he made us a hot brandy toddy. It was delicious and warmed us up without knocking us out.
We decided to eat a pilgrims meal tonight. And for €16 each we got Vegetable Soup, Veal stew and mash( yum) followed by lime mousse and it included a glass of wine and a coffee. It was a very tasty meal. It has been a great day.