Monday, April 7, 2014

Day 27: to O Pedrouza (Arca do Pino)

Only 20km to go, albeit after another day in waterproofs. Tomorrow, Santiago!

Quite an easy day today, about 33k through more eucalyptus forests and with lots of indulgence breaks including cake and strawberries from a help-yourself farm stand.

Despite feeling some sense of achievement that the end is near, today has been rather humbling. First of all we passed a one-legged pilgrim, then we twice passed a multi-generational pilgrimage with granny carrying a rucksack and mum carrying an infant. Most exciting of all we finally caught up with the source of the increasingly-fresh horse dung that we've been following for days. Not horses in fact but a pair of donkeys, accompanied by two humans, a dog, an a teeny tiny puppy.  The most amusing cavalcade I'd seen since Navarette where I saw a pilgrim on a bike pulling a trailer full of kids and being towed by a dog on a lead.

As we get closer the quality of albergue actually seems to improve - this one is busy and I fear noisy (Italians) but has mood lighting, relaxing music, and a little sanctuary in the middle. It also seems mandatory at this point to get disposable sheets and pillow case included - a weird idea in a country that seems very eco-friendly but perhaps there is little energy difference overall between that and laundering sheets. 

The eco-friendliness is particularly noticeable with respect to showers and electricity. The showers here for example are warm and strong but only work while you lean on the button. The lights in all bathrooms are on timers and go off when no motion is sensed -- sometimes quite alarming to be plunged into pitch black while happily thinking beautiful thoughts on the loo... One place we stayed combined both feats - the motion sensor didn't detect motion in the shower, so both water and lighting stopped every ten seconds or so. Most disconcerting.

This town feels frontier-like. There are no further stops till Santiago so basically everyone is forced to stay in what would otherwise be a small village on the side of a busy road. 

I'm so excited that this is (hopefully) my last night in a dorm! There has been enough communal living for a while...

Banking on reaching Santiago early afternoon tomorrow. Weird to be reaching the end... But my feet at least are ready for it!

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