It was still pitch dark as we readied ourselves for our 11th day on the Camino. We ate our last rations of madeleine tea cakes and downed a couple of aspirins. My knees refused to bend as we walked downstairs out of hostal O’Castelo. I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to walk the 30 km to Arzua, where our bags were being shipped.
As we joined the yellow arrows, the aspirin started to take effect. We walked by the road and out of Palas de Rei. 3km later, we stopped for breakfast at Casa Domingo, where we ran into our Canadian friends Mike and Cindy. It felt like ages since we last saw them. It turns out that Cindy had tendonitis and had to take a couple of days rest. But after applying some Kinesiolgy tape on her knees, they were both back on the Camino. The two of them had been walking some crazy long days, and today would be no different. They also had their bags shipped to Arzua, and after picking them up, they planned to walk on.
Mike and Cindy finished their cafe con leche and headed back out on the Camino. We lagged behind enjoying the freshly baked bread at Casa Domingo. The next 10 km would guide us to the city of Melide, famous for Pulpo (Octopus) Gallega. We walked passed various Galician towns, including Furelos, a beautiful small village with red tile roofs and a medieval bridge.
Soon we found ourselves in Melide. We crossed the suburbs and turned a corner where we were met with a man waiving a live octopus at a restaurant window. This was a good sign to stop for a break. We stepped into ‘Garnacha’ restaurant and ordered a dish of Pulpo Gallega. It was soft and deliciously seasoned with olive oil and salt. There were two things I wanted to do in Melide and I had one checked off already.
The second item on my list was the Melide cross. It was said to be the oldest wayside cross in Galcia. But first dessert, we stopped into a grocery store and bought some snacks and ice cream. It just so happened that the cross was located across the street from the grocery store. We sat in the small area around the cross and finished our ice cream.
It was a hot day, and we were only half way to our destination. The yellow arrows took us past Melide, into the woods. Eucalyptus trees towered over us, but they couldn’t overpower the strong smell of manure. My husband pointed across the hill to a far away town, he said that it was our next stop. I refused to believe it was so far, but he was right.
We crossed another medieval bridge and entered the town of Ribadiso. It was a gorgeous town with many albergues made of stone walls and red tiled roofs. We stopped at a bar and had a delicious pizza. By now we had learned how to ask for ice with our fresh OJ, it was a sweet relief from such a hot day. I wished we could have stayed for the night but our bags were in the next town.
The last 5 km to Arzua was painful. The paved sidewalk showed no mercy to my throbbing feet. We followed the metal shells. Soon, buildings started to line the sidewalk. We finally made it to Arzua. The last thing left to do was find Pension Begonia.
I regret not taking any pictures of Pension Begonia. We had a great stay. Our room was clean and modern, an amazing treat after a long day on the camino. When we arrived, our bags and our room were ready. We all flopped on the bed and took the time to catch our breath before starting our laundry. That’s life on the Camino.
For dinner we went to the square, and ordered some platos combinados. Arzua was busier than what we were used to There were cars on the road and people going about their day. It was a real city. It’s funny how a few days on the camino can quickly make the norm feel foreign. Just a couple of more days and things would be backwards again.
- Day 1 – Leon to Villavante 30 km.
- Day 2 – Villavante to Murias de Rechivaldo – 26.3 km.
- Day3 – Murias de Rechivaldo to Foncebadon – 20.9 km.
- Day4 – Foncebadon to Ponferrada – 26.2 km
- Day 5 – Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo – 24.7 km
- Day 6 – Villafranca del Bierzo to O Cebreiro – 28.9 km
- Day 7 – O’Cebreiro to Triacastela – 20.7 km
- Day 8 – Tricastela to Barbadelo 23.7 km