Today, our walking segment was relatively short. We bid farewell to Pazo de Ludiero after a good breakfast and headed by bus to the only surviving Galician Fort from the 15th Century, O Castelo del Palmbe, which is undergoing restoration, so unfortunately we could not go inside. The massive nature of the place certainly impressed all of us.
We were dropped off at the point where we ended yesterday with the assurances that the terrain was “mostly flat” for half of the way, with it going up and down the remainder of the way. Igancio’s idea of “mostly flat” was belied by the elevated
grade of the road as we started out. We traversed through many wooded areas with ample shade to keep us from overheating, though the temperatures have been pleasantly cool.
We crossed a few streams today and we ended up following a highway a few times (Ignacio had said that the closer we got to Santiago de Compostela, the more the paths would parallel major highways. We were coming into a small town and checking out what looked like an industrial park, when Kris took a tumble. Luckily, she wasn’t hurt, more startled than anything, and after a very nice, young German couple asked her if she was ok, we collected ourselves and trudged onward.
Ignacio and Francisco met us in the town of Melide, which is famous for its Pulperias, restaurants that specialize in octopus. Sunday is also a day when the town has a lot of street vendors out. They are selling mostly clothing and fruits and vegetables. The problem is that their stalls or their vehicles block the markers for the Camino.
Kris and I had inquired about going to Mass and Ignacio escorted us to within a couple of blocks of the church, and en route, he pointed out where the marker was obscured by a van. He gave us very clear directions about the path that we should follow after Mass let out and warned us not to veer from his directions.
Mass was in an old church (that doesn’t tell you anything, ALL of the churches are old here) and there was a near-full house. The pastor had the children involved with the liturgy. At the end of Mass they held up signs with the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit and they led us in a chant, “Come Holy Spirit Come.”
Getting back to walking proved to be something of a challenge, as my legs were more than happy to sit in the church. Needless to say that my legs protested the next 5 kilometers that we had to complete in order to finish our day’s walk, but finish it we did.
Once our entire group met at the checkpoint, we went back into town, to the Pulperia Granacha. Imagine a Chuck E. Cheese where they only specialize in octopus and have no pizza for sale. The place was crowded with many families or groups sitting at these long tables with bench-like seats. The wait staff seemed to have had triple espressos for their shifts because they moved quickly, but they never would look back at our table. (I needed my beer and another member of our party needed silverware to share a large salad. I told Ignacio, “You know, they go to a special school to learn how to ignore their customers.” He rolled his eyes and said, “I know.” I guess that this is the part of Spain that even the tour guides don’t like to admit to.) The corker was when when one of our party asked for butter for the bread, not-so-wise guy made this big deal about how “this was Spain and in Spain you don’t serve butter with bread ” — funny, but this has not been a problem anywhere so far, even in the tiny restaurants we have eaten on our camino walks. This kind of patronizing manner didn’t endear me to this guy. I can’t wait to log into Trip Advisor and rate this place.
Kris and I ordered a wooden platter of octopus for two to share; I also order an assortment of cold meats, and she ordered the Galician stew. I ate two pieces of octopus and decided that it was not something that I needed to finish (Ignacio was happy to consume my share) and I moved onto my charcuterie.
We then traveled to our new location, Casa Brandaza. This location is not remote as our previous lodgings and we don’t have the place all to ourselves. I am in a room right by a turn in the staircase and the charm of this old building does not outweigh the incredible amount of noise that one hears as anyone goes by my room or up, or down, the staircase. I don’t think that our barn on the farm was as noisy as this place. Thank goodness I am a heavy sleeper.