Day 10 Caldas del Reis – Padron
Hotel Roquiño is fabulous. I only booked a hotel because I thought I’d arrive late and it would be easier. It was a however a great choice! Gosh I slept like a baby on the softest pillows ever. Breakfast this morning was also fabulous and huge! Honestly a great find!
Before I go on I should say that Gerry has threatened to edit my blog with a few naughty additions tonight… So if you see any it’s not me! Yesterday I played a little joke…pretending to be speaking when we face-timed… But actually I was miming. It was all I could do to contain my laughter watching him trying to figure out why he had no sound. I wish I could have kept it going but in the end laughter got the better of me. It’s an amusing joke so do try it out at home 😂
At breakfast this morning I was greeted by a beautiful Christmas scene…. Gosh they do their decorations early here! As I ate, Nina Simone played softly in the background. I thought back to my magical walk yesterday and decided that this was the perfect song.
I ate and chatted to the chef/owner. We talked about the weather and food, he poured me another coffee and we talked about the crockery (it’s gorgeous and I’d like some) before he headed off to his work.
I listened to the music before pulling myself away. I collected my things and headed off in search of those arrows. As I was leaving another beautiful song started but it was the wrong version. I had to find my favourite and play it as I left town.
It was another beautiful morning. I’d lingered too long over breakfast and missed the sunrise but I did watch the sky change colour and that was good enough for me. It was cold this morning and for the first time this trip I fished out my hat and gloves.
On and on and quickly I’d left town and walked into the countryside. The sun peeped over the hills and I could feel my hands getting warmer. Onwards I walked and the layers came off and my thoughts meandered back to yesterday.
I was walking through another forest but not as magical as before. Beautiful of course but it needed sunlight to breath life into its autumn colours and sadly the sun wasn’t bright enough today. No matter there was still the crunch crunch crunch.
I wondered why this path could somehow reach into your soul and get to the heart of the matter so easily? I thought about my parents. I wondered what life would have been like if mum hadn’t been sick? After my dad died I found lots and lots of books, journals if you like. His thoughts from decades earlier. In one book he wrote that he was the happiest man alive. He had a beautiful wife and baby daughter (my sister) and he wrote that his mother-in-law was the kindest woman you could wish to meet. He had a nice home and no money worries and his life was good. But then in such a short space of time it was all gone. I was born and days later my Nan had a fatal stroke. Not long after my mum started to get sick. A few years later she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, then thyroid cancer and then Multiple Sclerosis. They had gone from being young and blissfully happy to totally devastated and angry in just a couple of years.
I wondered what it would have been like if it had been different. In some other universe where fathers didn’t visit daughters bedrooms and belts and canes weren’t kept for beating young siblings. Would they have stayed happy and content? Would they have celebrated 50 glorious years of marriage? Would they have travelled? How different life could have been. If only. Crunch crunch crunch.
My father died alone, trapped in a mind crippled with dementia. No matter who you are, no one should die alone. In this universe he was angry and resentful and worn down by life. In his journal he wrote about the constant daily struggle to keep his job whilst caring for mum and two daughters. By the time he died he’d had 6 decades of struggle. It made me sad. As I walked through the forest I cried for him and his sad life.
Birdsong and a path now crossed by a river pulled me back to the present. I tried to cross one the dry stones and I almost made it but one foot slipped and got a dunking. I’ll have to change my socks at the next stop now! (So yes Maggie… You need plenty of socks!)
I passed a marker that said 35.92… Mmm I thought. Dad was born in 1935… It would be weird if the next one had his birthday. I kid you not… I stopped for a hot drink, I changed my socks and carried on and the first marker I see is 35.26. His birthday.
I chatted to Gerry for a while and the kilometres ticked away. Its not far today so I meandered. I paused, had lots of breaks, I listened to music and generally dawdled my way along. I spoke to the birds, chickens, horses, sheep and goats. I had a fine time wandering through these lanes.
Another forest drew me in. I remembered this one from the last time I walked. It still lacked sunlight but nonetheless it was pretty. The entrance to the forest was like a little tree tunnel and I wondered what made the trees on one side bow over to mingle with the trees on the other?
I spotted an oak apple in amongst the branches and I sent Gerry a message. He’d taught me about oak apples when we walked the Sanabres camino . He asked me if I remembered how they were made… I wasn’t sure so he sent me a message… I’ll just share it with you so that you know what I deal with on a daily basis.
The day was nearly over so he started tracking my location. My phone buzzes when he does this. He told me I was approaching the church of San Miguel and that I should thank him for the beer. Then he told me there was a bar and I should go get a San Miguel beer (except I don’t drink!) I did buy some peanuts though and get a sello for him… And I took a photo of the beer… Galicia Estrella!
Onwards into Padron. I had a cold drink before looking for my chosen alburgue. It was really quite hot sat in the sun and I thanked my lucky stars and St James for this glorious day. I was a little less gracious when I realised the alburgue was closed. But no worries I found another 2 minutes away.
I’m there now. Showered, eaten, laundry done. An Italian pilgrim asked if I wanted to go try the octopus but I’m allergic! There’s a younger Spanish couple here so they might join him.
And so another glorious day over. My fitbit clocked just over the 20km. I know I could reach Santiago tomorrow but I won’t. I’m going to save that for just one more day.