Oysters

Day 10 | Mos to Arcade

There’s a certain joy in having a cup of hot tea in bed on the morning.  Covid-19 gave us all many things we didn’t want but it’s also given Gerry and I fresh ideas about how we like our caminos… and hot tea in the morning before a shower is one of those things.

There were still no cats this morning and worse than that there was no sello either.  Yesterday when we arrived there had been no check-in.  I realised last night that we must get our credentials stamped, so this morning we tried the owners house.  The doors and windows were open, cars were in the garage but there no sign of life at all.  It was 9.00am and we knew we had to get walking but the lack of a stamp was troubling, it could even cost us our Compostela. But … tant pis… as they say in France…  There was nothing that we could do but walk on.  And another lesson for us; don’t book accommodation almost a kilometre off the trail, particularly when it’s an extra 800m uphill!

Thankfully today we felt good.  The heavy feet and heavy heads of the last few days had gone.  We meandered along admiring the gardens and flowers and greeting cats and dogs as we walked.  As with yesterday we noticed so many more pilgrims walking and of course this meant more greetings and hellos too.  We stopped for a coffee as soon as we were able but sadly there was no warm (or cold) tortilla for us today.  Ah well..  there was still coffee. 

The road had flattened now and it was a gentle walk into Redondella… gentle that is apart from the really really steep downhill bit.  We thought of the young family from yesterday and wondered how dad had tackled that downhill with the children’s buggy!  Would it have been be better to keep the toddlers in the buggy for weight and balance?  I’m glad that we never had to make the choice 😁

We’d made good time and found a table at a bar close to the river and ordered lunch. We’d made such good time that we needed to wait as we were a tad early for the kitchen.  However they served cake with our drinks so Gerry was able to cope with the delay. 

I ordered a salad and his nibs ordered calamari.  We also decided to order some fries to share.  When the plates arrived we saw that Gerry’s also included fries (and a fried egg) and the extra portion was huge. We tucked in with healthy appetites but there was way too much for me, so I left more than half.  Gerry finished his lunch and looked at the fries… looked at me… and shrugged.  He said they were far too nice to leave. He tried to leave a few but in the end polished them off… and I have to agree that they were very yummy but I also knew there was a big hill was coming up after lunch!

We had a coffee and just enjoyed people watching.  An old man arrived with a little girl in tow… she looked about four or five.  He stopped to talk to a table of older ladies beside us and each of them greeted the little girl with a hug and one of those grandma kind of kisses… you could see the poor girl almost resigned to the 7 or 8 greetings from the ladies.  Shortly after another old chap arrived and greeted the table.  We’d noticed earlier that one of the old ladies wasn’t talking as well.  When she stood it was clear that her left side wasn’t so good and we wondered if perhaps at some point she’d suffered a stroke.  Her friends made way for (we assume) her husband.  The group all greeted him and he took his wife’s hand.  He took her handbag and popped it over his shoulder and took her arm and tucked it under his and together they said their farewells to the group and slowly wandered away.  There was such an easy manner in the way the group chatted with each other…it was like they had spent a lifetime together as friends.

We could have stayed but there was walking to be done.  We meandered out of the city and up and up through the suburbs into more open countryside.  As we crossed a road we looked back at the coast now visible behind; it felt good to be back in sight of the water.  Up and up we went.  The sun was hot and as we walked some pilgrims walked by us faster and others we passed as they walked slower. 

In front of us we’re a couple of chaps, one older than the other.  The younger one was playing music.  Oh my lord it was awful. We wanted to pass them but we were tired from the hill so couldn’t accelerate and they were slowing so we were stuck, listening to this awful awful song on such a glorious day. Thankfully the older chap tired so much that he wanted a rest so we overtook them and escaped. I never understand people who play really really loud music on the trail… especially in a residential area… and especially when it’s so awful. I was just happy for the silence to return.

The arrows directed us off the main road and along the flat for a little before the road rose again. Gerry decided we should pause in the shade and spotted a fountain. Yesterday we realised that if we poured water in our hats it cooled us down and perhaps helped avoid a sweaty buildup on the hats too. The hill had proved difficult for several pilgrims as there was a little group sat in the shade around the fountain. We chatted for a while but soon heard the awful music approaching so we said farewell and continued on. Sadly the two music men had clearly rested well and were soon behind us… with more awful awful music. Imagine Leonard Cohen… meets Johnny Cash… meets Black Sabbath… in Russian.. loud… and you’ll kind of imagine what we were hearing. Oh my it was so loud and terrible.

We stopped walking. Exchanged a few greetings with the two men and left them to walk on. Once we felt confident they were far enough ahead of us we continued… in peace. Through the trees we could catch glimpses of the water below. We walked lower and lower until we could clearly see the glorious blue of the ocean again. Onwards and onwards until the forest was gone and the busy road into Arcade approached. Sadly our musical buddies had paused at the bottom so we caught them but thankfully the road was so busy and noisy that their music was lost in the general hubbub of engines and traffic.

We’d arrived at Arcade. Gerry was very happy to be here as he knew that this was the best place to find oysters. It’s his birthday tomorrow and tonight he planned to start the celebrations early with fresh oysters and some local Alborino. But first we found our hotel, showered and went for a walk along the path beside the water… apart from the awful music today was another glorious walk.

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