There’s a reason why, upon encountering any problem, my family members say ‘just have a beer’. Originally I thought it might be a nihilistic philosophy but it’s actually something more than that and terribly good advice! All my best thinking is done with a glass of wine or a pint of beer and it was while finishing off a bottle with a peligrina over dinner yesterday that I struck upon the genius idea of using my ‘waterproof’ pants as a makeshift backpack cover. Finally, having a wide kaboose pays off!
My sober self yesterday just sat down and gave into despair and called the day quits, my merry self has far more ingenuity. I set about cutting holes in my pants where there were suitable fasteners over the backpack and felt well chuffed with myself for my problem solving skills. If I should need the pants and the backpack cover? Well that’s a problem for another day? A day where I better have a couple of beers and work it out. All those years of playing Monkey Island come rushing to the fore after a drink or two and I rifle around in my backpack/inventory to find the solution! This is why, dear readers in the know, I always carry so much stuff! That, and for upper body strength.
Today’s walk was wonderful into Portomarin, the weather cleared magically the second I stepped out of the door and those 5kms slipped by in no time bar a hairy moment on the ‘historic’ route which took me down a rock gorge forcing me to pull up sticks and use my hands to lower myself and 10kg backpack down to safety. Portomarin was only just opening though and while I managed to take out some cash I couldn’t purchase the poncho or plasters I needed so decided to find the next tienda to do so. The next tienda it turns out, was 25kms away in Palas de Rei!
Although I did enjoy a coffee in Portomarin I didn’t fancy the dry bread cakes on offer for breakfast so just thought I’d catch something to eat at the next cafe. The next cafe was 8kms away up quite a climb and when I finally arrived I was starving! Ordering Egg and Chips (yes?) I flopped down hungrily awaiting my meal. ‘Saraaaaaaa’ called the waitress! She found me and proceeded to give my money back and explain that all the electric had gone off on the village. Que disastre! (Is anyone else noticing a pattern this year!) I immediately got myself together to find the next restaurant.
At the 20km mark I did manage to find a place selling hot food and by now was ravenous. I ordered the works burger and it was simply the most delightful thing that has ever been eaten, by anybody, at anytime, in anyplace. Thus far I’d also managed to dance in and out of the rain and avoid a proper soaking. With the burger and the luck I was beginning to feel almost human and upbeat! Now now Sazza – what do you think happened next?
Just after Ligonde the heavens opened and there was nowhere to take shelter – there was no choice but to plough on through the rain and just accept a total drenching! Many pilgrims would pop in and out or bars to dry off but I ask bored of this game! Clearly a soaking was on the cards so let’s just have at it and arrive already! I arrived, soaked to the skin, in Palas de Rei around 3pm cursing with every squelching step! Checking out the blisters they look ok and the shoes are hopefully going to dry ok! I didn’t intend on coming this far today but today was also joined happily by my Aunt Flo several days ahead of time – what a lovely surprise and so had to find a Farmacia or else risk humiliation! It sounds like a terrible day doesn’t it? It’s not. None of these days are. Every day I see something or someone inspiring. There’s pilgrims here walking with one leg, or terminal illnesses who are cheerful and actually singing! Singing in the rain! I don’t blame the Camino for giving me something to whinge about. If it’s teaching me anything this year, it’s teaching me how blessed and lucky I really am! Time for a drink!