Everything is closed at 7am, including the hotel reception. I walk down the road with John to a tiny cafe that’s open. There’s an elderly lady, probably in her 80s arranging the cups. We order some coffee and cake and using the Google Translate app ask if she can help arrange a taxi to take me to Arzua – 20km down the road. She immediately calls someone she knows and organises that. She shares the number. John sets off while I return to the hotel and wait for my ride who has promised to come at 10.30am.
I message the apartment we’re staying at in Arzua to let them know I’ll be there by 11. They message back saying I can leave my luggage at the apartment but will have to wait till 12 to move in. When I reach there, Javier and his wife are there at the door. They live downstairs and offer the apartment upstairs on Booking.com. It’s a pretty pink building with flowers in the windows and right opposite a park filled with laughing children, parents and grandparents. Schools are closed for holidays and the park is packed. Seeing me limp as I get out of the taxi, Javier comes across the road to help me out and cross. He’s in his 80s and chats non stop in Spanish. I understand a few words here and there- he’s sorry my leg hurts, and I’m missing walking, the cafe is across the road & the church is just down the road, could I wait in one of these till 12?
I leave the bags in the apartment and wait at the cafe.
Meanwhile, John is having the time of his life. After a walk in solitude for about 5km, he reached Melide. This is the town where the Primitivo route joins the more populated Camino Frances. It’s a pretty town. After a coffee and a croissant John sets off at a brisk pace, overtaking everyone ahead. I can see it as being very liberating for him, as the last 40 days were a lesson in patience, walking at my pace! He’s soon joined by Darren Carey. Darren walks real fast too and they walk and talk over the next 5km. Darren is a FIFA referee, former footballer from Ireland and teacher. He’s doing the distance from Sarria to Santiago and alternates between walking for an hour and running for an hour. His watch let’s him know when it’s time to switch. They talk about football, teaching, their Camino experiences, they talk about an upcoming opportunity Darren is exploring, Darren shares his volunteer work for special needs people at his sisters school and John talks about Diya and our work there.
They pass the Spanish couple and the parrot on the Camino. They stop to talk to them and the couple allows the parrot to climb onto them and photos are taken.
A little later, the watch let’s Darren know it’s time to switch to running. He gives John a hug and disappears down the path.
As I reach the apartment after my hour at the cafe, John reaches too. He stopped at the mercardo on the way here and picked up some paella and wine. The apartment has a good kitchen with a cooking range and microwave and washing machine. In the evening we go to the Iglesia for mass. It’s nice to see the church full. After mass, we stop by the store to pick up fruits and vegetables and make use of the kitchen to put a nice dinner together.
We have just 38km to go! The left knee and the right ankle are both still hurting and it looks like I’ll be taking a ride to OPedrouzo while John walks. Well – to use the Spanish phrase – Que será, será!