Distance walked: 11.2 miles
Song of the day: Not sure why exactly, but I was singing Bobby Darin’s “Beyond the Sea” all day. Have no idea where that came from.
The road leaving Castañeda traversed gently rolling farmland. I caught up with Sonja in the morning a little farther down the road and we walked together until the town of Arzúa, where I stopped to get food (surprise!) and she decided to go ahead.
It was nice to get out of the larger towns. The rural paths are so much quieter and more scenic. Over the past few days, there have been more and more eucalyptus trees in the forests. I wish that I could bottle the scent of walking through the woods here: eucalyptus and mint and grass. (Much better than that fertilizer factory from a few days ago). Everything is so lush, and despite the fact that Galicia is known for its rain, especially at this time of year, I have been extremely fortunate to have had warm, sunny traveling weather every day since Sarria. The green of the forest was so pleasantly overwhelming that I found myself thinking, “This looks like Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest,” even though 1) I have never seen that movie, and 2) uh, what? Isn’t that movie over 20 years old? Weird obscure reference, brain!
My accommodation for the night was to be in Salceda, though it took a while to get there. The albergue was off the beaten path and a little tricky to find. When I arrived, I almost thought that I had made a wrong turn because dude, this place was fancy. (As far as hostels go, that is). There was also a regular hotel on site, which may explain why this felt like the Waldorf Astoria of hostels. There was a small swimming pool, an elegant glass-walled bar and dining area, and a koi pond. We’ve hit the big time here, folks. The dorm room did look just like a regular dorm room, but it had kind of a fancy shower (which I failed to photograph).
After showering, I sat at the bar with a coffee and tried to update my blog using the unpredictable wifi. Just as I was starting to get that lonely feeling again, I saw two faces that looked very familiar. It was John and Vanessa (of risotto fame in Azofra) from Australia. Again, when you think that you will never see someone again, you are sure to bump into them at some point along the Camino. We had dinner together in the restaurant, which was possibly the only place that I have ever seen the pilgrim menu offer mussels. (Note: I did try them, despite my typical suspicion of most shellfish, and was shocked to discover that they were delicious. I attributed this to the fact that they were “cooked” in an acidic salsa , so I probably tasted more sauce than gummy fish. But still. This was a milestone for me).
The sky had been overcast all afternoon, black clouds rolled in, and hints of a drizzle came down in the early evening. I had a feeling that my good weather luck had come to an end, but there were only 30 kilometers left to go. I hoped that I could squeeze in my last two days of walking and avoid a traditional Galician downpour.