01 June (1 week into my first Camino) Los Acros to Viana
Breakfast this morning was at 6:30am. I had tea, coffee, bread with chocolate spread and bread with jam, my laundry to be dried was pinned to my pack to make me look like a washing basket on legs, it’s Sunday so I have shaved, I feel ok although a little foot sore.
As usual we all set of together and I watch most people disappear into the distance, including John and Dieuwke but I’m not overly concerned because I can hear potential new friends coming up behind me, but it’ll be sometime before we draw level with each other.
The countryside opens wide in front of the path. On the right, spread over the undulating hills is a large pine forest which looks like some giant has carelessly discarded a massive spikey green blanket. On my left I can see indentations in the hills at almost equidistant spaces, they are filled with small copses of deciduous trees. They look to me if the giant who had discarded the blanket to my right had continued stomping with wet feet over the hills to the far horizon.
The potential friends pull-in alongside me, I recognise them from dinner last night where we had exchanged a few words of friendship, it’s the Pennsylvania Picknickers, Aunty Liz with nephews Chase and Kevin.
I walk aways with Chase(the guy on the left) and listen with interest to his views on gun laws in the States, what the pros and cons are for a young guy of twenty living about 40 miles from the nearest town. After a few minutes he realises we have pulled away from his brother and Aunt so bids me cheery “Goodbye for the moment” type of farewell. A little later, upon reflection I realise I have been in conversation with an intelligent, articulate young man with his feet firmly planted on the ground.
I’m feeling not too bad and I find myself at times breaking into my old, much faster hiking pace and make myself slow down. There’s still a long way to Santiago de Compostela and beyond.
The wide path is narrowed down to a much smaller width, running along the sides and filling the gaps between yet more Almond and Paradise trees are tall stiff-stemmed thistles in blue bloom and tall arching graceful grasses, together they remind me of well-trained silent sentries on parade as a guard of honour for passing pilgrims.
John, Dieukwe and I arrive at a small village at the same time as a number of people we have come to know. Nothing is open, it’s Sunday and early. We have a toe wiggle on a convenient bench and are joined by Evan and his daughter Annmarie.
Silently, without any fuss or comment Evan gets up, walks over to some litter, picks it up and places it in a waste bin. I watch that simple action and believe I may have witnessed a small unannounced cameo of the spirit of the Camino. We set off again.
We haven’t had a coffee or tea break yet so seek out a suitable place which we eventually find. John treats us and I think it is my imagination that he is preparing to leave us. As we drink our cafe con leche I have quick tour of the cafe/bar as I search out the toilets.
Less than an hour later John announces he is saying goodbye as he must cover more ground more quickly to keep to a schedule he has set himself. We say goodbye to and watch as his easily identifiable blue jacket and white hat are carried off into the distance by his long loping gait. You can just see his hat in this final photograph of him. I thought it fitting to capture his leaving this way.
As I rested I was joined by some folks and I shared my chocolate with them. In return, an elderly Irish lady with the thickest of Irish brogues I have heard gave a sweet, sticky date and a nut.
It’s ten past nine now. Dinner has been eaten and I back at the Albergue typing this and minutes away from calling it a night.
I’ve had lots of comments on my blog but you’ll need to forgive me for not replying I just haven’t got the time to answer yet. Excuse any typos as well please.
Bye for now folks.
Steps today 27573