Camino de Santiago de Compostela - Arzua to A Rua

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October 12th 2015
Published: November 6th 2015
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12 October, 2015, Monday. Stage 36 (penultima dia) Today is a holiday in Spain, consequently several places are closed.

GPS: 11.52 miles, 4 hours 25 minutes moving. Left Hotel Suiza at 0828 and arrived at Hotel & Restaurante O'Pina at 1341. 5 hour 13 minutes later.

Fitbit: 11.95 miles, 27,367 steps, 96 floors

At the hotel we had dinner last night at a table for two with one table for 17 and another for 12 or more. This morning we find out the 17 are bike riders and most are from Costa Rica but some from Germany. Yesterday on the trail we noted that many of the bike riders do not give you warning and speed by you. Later today it was the worst we have seen.

Last night for dinner we had traditional Arzua cheese sauce with chicken breast. We will have to learned to ask for lettuce and tomatoes instead of french fries which are served with everything, morning, noon and night. So, before dinner we are sitting downstairs outside the bar where there is an outlet for the computer and the wifi signal is strong enough to get the internet. No signal in the room. We meet Jerry from Columbus, Indiana who is doing the camino in forty days from St. Jean to Cape Finisterre. We learn of his start and the issues along the way. He was a science teacher until last year when he retired at age 61. He has met and is invited to dinner at the table with the group of 12 or so who are walking from Sarria to Santiago. Jerry remembers everyones name that he has met along the Camino.

At dinner one lady is handling everyone and is so efficient we cannot believe it. Our food is quick, it is a great start with lentil soup and we are finished and ready for bed at 2100. Considering they do not start serving until 2000 and she had at least 40 people it is amazing.

So for breakfast the group of 17 bikers are all dressed and stagger in to breakfast. We are again placed in a table for two out of the way. We have to walk through the restaurant area from our room to get the bags to reception for JacoTran then return for breakfast. There are two people serving for breakfast but everyone
This group of Lithuanians walking to SantiagoThis group of Lithuanians walking to SantiagoThis group of Lithuanians walking to Santiago

They hope to appeal for the sainthood of a person from Lithuania
gets a plate of ham and cheese, two slices of toast/bread, coffee and orange juice. So one person could have handled this much easier than the poor gal last night. One of the two people serving appears to be more of a manager. He checks the weather and shows us the path to the Camino. As we leave it starts raining so we switch to raincoats and backpack covers then start out. Karen is reluctant as the path shown us say "prohibito entran" But I convince her that even in the dark - and it is still dark at 0830 - I can see people on the Camino about 300 yards ahead and down the path. We then reach the Camino trail but still cannot read any of the milestone markers. The combination of late sunrise and heavy cloud cover and the dense woods creates very low visibility. We fall in with the flow of pilgrims. Contrary to the instructions last night it is only the way to get to the Camino and NOT the Camino. Note from Karen. This was one eerie procession! It was very dark and all you could see were these black, bulky objects moving around. There were flashlights or miner lights every so often, bobbing along, avoiding patches of water. Mussorgsky's music, 'Night on Bald Mountain' kept moving through my head. We were in a procession moving we knew not where---but hoping it was in a westerly direction!

After 40 minutes of walking we are able to make out the first milepost Kilometer 33.0. In some openings in the trees we are able to look back at Arzua on the hill. Since it is a holiday most places are dark that we pass. Finally, and just in time for our first bathroom break we come to Casa Calzada which is open and has a line for both ordering and the bathroom. Another couple we had met a few days earlier from Petaluma, CA, Tom and Carole Maloney, takes a photo of the 50 pilgrims seated at all the outdoor tables. We have coffee con leche, angel wings, raisin sweet roll, and an orange juice before moving on.

The track runs through heavily wooded areas and continues the up and down the last two days. But last night's rain has left lots of mud on the trail. In fact we think this is the most consistent mud we have had anywhere. The day lightens but the cloud cover remains. Walking with full rain gear is too warm so we chance it and remove the outer layers. It is a day of mostly just walking with no really interesting places to stop or read about.

We play leap frog on the trail, passing and being passed. then repassing Tom and Carole, the group from dinner and Jerry. Just when we need it the most we stop at Salceda for the bathroom. As Karen is next in line a bus stops and unloads about 50 people who now become pilgrims on the trail. No chance to order in this place so we move on. Bikes whiz by spraying mud from their tires; the riders backs a dark streak of mud.

With few stops we are at milepost kilometer 19 where we turn to get to our Hotel. The Brierley book says it has really great food. But, alas, it is a holiday and the restaurant is not serving. October 12 is Hispanic Day in Spain and a national holiday. We can get breakfast tomorrow at 0730 in the morning. For lunch/dinner we must continue on about a half of kilometer to another restaurant. We check the internet connection which is good and work for an hour on the blog before heading out to lunch at 1510. It is the last building in town and the only one showing any signs of life. The menu consisted of several selections. Karen had the vegetables with goat cheese and I had the octopus. Both are delicious. The roast lamb and charcoal barbequed beef and pork are the second selections. Then we finish with cannoli and fresh melon.

Back at the hotel we spend a quiet evening working on the Internet and thinking about tomorrow when we will arrive in Santiago. It is a most pleasant lodging with a lovely general sitting room.

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