Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Day 25: What is this moisture in the air? Rain, you say?

Oct 11: I slept in late in the morning to give Amanda a head start on me, but she slept in late too. *sigh* I was a bit disappointed about her getting up so late since the weather forecast called for rain later in the afternoon and I wanted to get as much hiking in before the rain started. I'd have been happy to leave earlier myself except that I didn't want to leave Amanda behind. So far, it had yet to rain once in the nearly 4 weeks I've been on the trail, but we were in Galicia now. Rain was inevitable.

There were a lot of Camino walkers on the trail this morning. Herds of them! It was a sight to behold and reminded me of my days on the Camino Frances. How could this be the off-season?!

Early in the morning we reached a point where an entrepreneur set up a roadside stand selling pilgrim knickknacks and hot coffee and such with the promises of a free stamp. We stopped for the stamp and Amanda looked at the goods but elected not to buy anything. Probably because she didn't want to carry it. =)

Later in the morning--or maybe it was early in the afternoon--we passed another set of entrepreneurs. One of them played music on a guitar while a couple of others were selling necklaces and other knickknacks as well. It was on a dirt road, kind of in the middle of nowhere and somewhat of a surprise to discover.

While listening to the musician, a couple behind us caught up and passed us, both of them talking loudly into their cell phones which Amanda and I both thought was pretty rude, but we couldn't help but laugh because it looked oddly like they were talking to each other on the phone despite being just a few steps apart. We'd see the couple two more times later in the day, and while the man was no longer yelling into his phone, the woman still was. We never did see her not speaking angrily into her phone. Had she literally spent the entire day talking into her phone? What was so important that it couldn't wait until later? What was so important that she had to talk for hours on the phone? How did she keep her phone charged with all the use that it was getting?

Late in the day, we had a choice of routes that followed parallel to each other for a couple of kilometers. The main route followed a busy road while a nearby parallel route followed alongside a scenic creek. The creek option was about half a kilometer longer, and despite Amanda's sore feet, she decided that she'd rather do that. Which was okay by me--I preferred the non-road option myself! Although when I came through again in a couple of weeks, I knew I'd probably take the road option just to see something different. I can't help myself... I just like to see new places.

Loads of pilgrims on the trail! And a lot of them stopped here for a stamp and to perhaps buy some knickknacks that were being sold at the back of that crowd.

Amanda was limping pretty badly at this point. It was a shorter day than we had done yesterday, but the terrain was more rugged and making it difficult for Amanda. The air was becoming thick with moisture. Rain was imminent. You could smell it in the air, and I hoped we'd reach the end before it started. A light sprinkle did start. Not so much that I would pull out my umbrella, though--it felt more like a thick fog.

I decided to scout ahead and check out the trail. Figure out where we had to turn or not turn and how far we had left to go. At one junction, it wasn't well marked and I wasn't entirely sure of the correct direction. I took a guess and veered right, which curved under a big road. A good place for Amanda to stop for a rest out of the rain if it became necessary, I thought. I followed the trail some more, and it seemed as if it curved completely around in a 360 degree loop, and I was sure it would come back out at the unmarked junction where I had turned right.

But to my surprise--it didn't! Instead, it ducked under a railroad bridge--where the railroad came from, I had no idea--then intersected a road where I found a yellow arrow pointing in the opposite direction I had expected. What the heck?! How did that happen? Was I actually walking around in the wrong direction on the trail now?

I didn't have time to investigate any further. I needed to backtrack to the unmarked junction. If Amanda got there before I did, she might go in the other direction and I wouldn't know if she had passed me or not--or maybe she was walking off in the incorrect direction. I had already been gone longer than I initially intended and hoped she hadn't passed that junction yet. Or if she had passed it, at least made the same right turn that I did.

Amanda had, indeed, passed the intersection, and made the same right turn that I had, but she beat me to the intersection by only a minute or so. I could still see it from where we caught up with each other again.

I suggested we continue on to the bridge where Amanda could get out from under the light sprinkle, and I explained my confusion about what happened to the trail up ahead. She could sit down dry under the bridge while I scouted around to figure out what happened to the trail.

This time, I headed to the end of the bridge and got back onto the surface streets where I quickly picked up the yellow arrows from the road walk we had chosen to skip and followed the streets around in a long U-curved loop that seemed to be following parallel to the trail I had taken earlier and wound up at the same arrow that seemed like it was facing the wrong direction. Now I better understood how the two separate trails merged on the outskirts of Pontevedra, and I followed the trail further to find out how far away a hostel or hotel was. We wanted whatever was closest at this point. Amanda was hurting, and the light sprinkle looked like it was just a taste of a much heavier rain to come. It was time to get off the trail!

I found a hotel a couple of minutes walk ahead. I hadn't made any reservations ahead of time so I went in to ask about availability and costs. They had rooms available, the woman told me, and the cheapest one was 40 euros. It was more than I really wanted to pay, but at this point, I was feeling somewhat desperate. It wasn't that bad of a price, though, since it would cover the cost for both of us and I said I'd take it--but I'd be back in 15 or 20  minutes. I had to get Amanda!

Now that I understood how the two separate routes intersected, I took the more scenic and marginally shorter trail back to Amanda and told her about the hotel ahead. We could probably be there in less than 10 minutes!

I led her back to the hotel without any further issues. We paid for the room, asked for directions to a nearby supermarket and were provided a wonderfully detailed map of Pontevedra along with directions to a couple of different grocery stores and the route through town. Then we headed to our room. Looking out the window, we saw that the rain had started coming down in buckets. A heavy downpour! We had made it to the hotel not a moment too soon!

It rained quite hard for a couple of hours, then petered out later in the evening and Amanda and I headed out to hit the local supermarket. We decided to buy dinner there and take it back to the room, so that's what we did and our day was over!

I just loved this wall of scallop shells!

My guidebook explained this stone bridge in Arcade crossed the Verdugo River and was built in 1795 over earlier foundations. It was also here that local militia inflicted a significant route on Napolean's troops during the War of Independence. History is all around us!

A local musician, singing for the passing pilgrims.
Amanda checks out the goods for sale but decides not to purchase anything. =)

That woman in purple shoes in the background.... she's the one that was talking angrily into her phone all day long. (You can see a blurry Amanda at the extreme top-right corner of the photo.)
Can you tell which is the flower and which is Amanda? I know, it's hard to tell the difference, but give it a try!
Amanda shows off just how strong she really is!
That bridge doesn't look very safe to cross.... fortunately, the trail doesn't cross it here! =)

This guy looks miserable! I think I found the problem. His pack is way too heavy! Good grief, it's huge!

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