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Published: September 8th 2019
Last night I guess I was a bit restless, probably worried about today with my backpack, and woke up several times during the night. Finally, when I woke up again around 6am, I decided I might as well get up and get ready. I ate breakfast, courtesy of the albergue, grabbed a banana for the road, and was out the door and on the Camino by 7am. It was still pretty much dark out when I left, but I'd sort of checked out the trail yesterday evening, so when I saw a young lady leaving and turning to the right, I had to correct her and let her know the Camino went left. We started down the road together, but when I was unsure of the trail when confronted by 3 paths, she got her headlamp out and we found the right one. She was walking a bit slower than I usually do, so I wished her "buen Camino" and continued on alone.
About an hour later, somewhere near Briallos, I found my first rest stop, Cafe O Cuberto. After a coffee and a short rest, I was back on my way, eating my banana from the albergue. I came to
the outskirts of the only big town for today, Caldas de Reis, after about another hour walking. I wasn't going to take another break so soon, but I'd started feeling like I needed to use the restroom, plus I thought I might have missed a turn, so I stopped at the Panaderia Caprichos in Caldas de Reis. Back on the Camino, the trail started doing the inevitable climbing, this time on a gravel road through the woods. Just past 10:30, and getting pretty tired with all the ups, I spotted the Esperon Cafe, along with a number of other pilgrims apparently, so I stopped for brunch. They had a nice patio in back and an empanada that looked, and tasted, delicious. This time I took my shoes off while I enjoyed my empanada and a nice cold Coke. Somewhere around the 49 kilometer marker I'd seen a sign for the albergue I planned on staying in tonight, telling me it was 14 kilometers away, so I wasn't too surprised to find the yellow arrow pointing up the Camino telling me it was only 500 meters ahead. Apparently I'd been walking at a pretty good clip, arriving at the Albergue O
Pino - Valga by 12:30, after about 20 miles of walking, with my backpack. I was a bit tired, and a bit achy, but all in all not too bad for my first full day with my backpack again.
The Albergue O Pino is a very modern building, but lacks any sort of vending machines. I stowed my gear on and near my lower bunk (the upper bunk was way too close to my head!), then went to ask about a supermarket, since they don't have machines or free food, and I needed something to eat for lunch and/or dinner. The receptionist told me there was a small "tienda" (store) just down the road, but they closed at 2pm, so I headed down that way. The store was actually just a large nook in a bar, but they had an okay selection of stuff. I bought 4 cans of Coke for the night, along with some sliced ham, sliced cheese, chocolate-filled cookies, and a can of ravioli. Oh, and a new bar of soap to replace the one I'd apparently lost.
When I returned to the albergue, I inquired about WiFi and was told I'd need a phone number to
connect up with the WiFi. Not good news, since I don't have phone service here. The lady tried to do it using their phone number, but either it didn't work or the connection was on the fritz. She told me she needed to go eat lunch, but would try again when she returned. I sat down in the kitchen and had lunch, hoping I wouldn't have to turn off Airplane Mode and pay roaming charges of like a dollar a minute, to call my wife and let her know I was fine.
When I finished eating, I hand washed my socks, hung them up to dry, and checked with the receptionist. No luck, so I walked back down to a nearby bar to see if they had WiFi. Again, no luck, so when I got back to the albergue, I turned off Airplane Mode and quickly got a message from AT&T saying I could use a special roaming plan for only 10 dollars a day, so I went for it. I let the wife know I was okay and that I'd elected the plan and would pay for it myself.
Well, ravioli, a nice shower, and I'll be off to
bed. Tomorrow I plan on walking about 20 kilometers to the town of O Faramello, with only 13.5 kilometers left to Santiago and the completion of my Camino.
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