Camino Day 22, Tues 18/6/02:
Arca ("O Pino")

48 km today
768 total
Nearly there

Woken at 6 AM by the Spanish family "whispering" - this was after getting to sleep at 3 by the time I finally became immune to their snoring! Resolved to get so far ahead of them that they'd wouldn't keep me awake again. I got underway, after dressing my blisters, at 7:20. It was quite overcast: ideal walking conditions for me.

More hórreos

near Casanova (50K)

Entering province of A Coruña

Leaving province of Lugo (77K)

Church of Santa María

Leboreiro (55K)

Baaaa Humbug

arriving in Melide (35K)

Made great time, arriving in Melide at 9:30, 15km in just over two hours. A very nice little town; there were many pulperías (places that serve squid or octopus), but it was a little early and I resolved to try this dish later in the day. Instead, I had a coffee and a sticky bun. I bumped into some people I'd met earlier on the camino: Alice and the guy from High Wycombe. On the way out of Melide, I passed the snoring family whose combined efforts shook the refugio last night. I bade them a jolly "¡Buenos días!" and walked on...

I had lunch in Arzua at 12:30. It seems the closer you get to Santiago, the easier it is to be ripped off - a pretty dire Spaghetti Bolognese in a bar cost over twelve euro. They even charged me separately for the three pieces of stale bread. I can't remember the name of the bar, but it was on the same street as the refugio. I should immediately point out that this kind of thing was the exception, rather than the rule. At any rate, suitably replenished, I headed off again just as the sun was burning off the last of the morning's cloud cover.

Rollo y fuente....

Boente (47K)


Mmmm... agua! (100K)

Guillermo Watt's memorial

Salceda (96K)

Forest walk

near Arca (114K)
The way was shady and the walking was easy, however. Some lovely leafy lanes and a brisk pace meant I made good time. After Salceda, I passed the memorial to Guillermo Watt, a 69-year-old pilgrim who died at this spot on 25 August 1993, one day short of Santiago. The memorial consists of a plaque and a bronze sculpture of pair of hiking boots set in a niche. And to dust you shall return...
I reached Arca "O Pino" (I have some confusion about the name) at 4pm. A long straggly town running alongside the main road. There was no hospitallier around at the refugio, so I eventually just took a bunk, had a shower, and examined my feet - to find that one of my left toes has cut into another one. Those boots have got to go! Still, only 18km left... I limped off to see the sights. It didn't take long: the place is a bit of a kip, with a huge construction job going on on one side, and tha main road on the other side. Ah well. I toyed with the idea of eating in one of the local bars, but after witnessing a stand-up shouting match between the landlady and a thuggish-looking local, I decided to go 'al fresco' by buying some agua, pan y paté in a shop and dining back at the refugio.

Thought about tomorrow's arrival in Santiago; I was surprised not to be much more "upbeat" about it, but I think tiredness had a lot to do with that...

And so to bed. Snorers or no, I slept the sleep of the dead after another nearly-50 km day. If it wasn't for the German plonker whose mobile phone woke us all at 2 AM and again at 5 AM, I'd have nothing to complain about :-)

But tomorrow - Santiago! ¡Ultreia!