Last night I was having a beer in a cozy little pub when Preben the Dane appeared. As I suspected, he had missed the turning before Ribadeo and taken the coastal route via Tapia, staying there when he ran out of time to go further. Yesterday he had walked 40 kilometres to get back on his schedule. I bought him a beer for his efforts.
It was a foggy four degrees as I left town. After three kilometres along the highway, I turned off on a side road, crossed the railway line, passed the little chapel of San Alberte, and ventured into the woods, acorns crunching underfoot.
Later in the morning, the fog lifted, and it was like a fine Australian winter's day, blue sky, crisp and still, the silence broken by the occasional cooing of a dove or the squawking of a crow, or the crowing of a rooster from a nearby farm. No sound of traffic from the motorway today, or noxious fumes: this was the most idyllic of days.
For the most part, I walked with Preben. We stopped for an omelette and a drip coffe at a little rustic albergue in the woods, 156 metres precisely off the Camino, a very charming spot, and then again at a bar just two kilometres short of our destination, where we drank a tumbler full of young red wine, the veritable blushfull Hippocrene, which the proprietress fetched in a carafe from somewhere out the back. As always, the drinks were served with little tapas, sausages on bread, or baked peppers, sometimes hot, sometimes not.
I am spending the night at Miraz in an albergue run by the Confraternity of Saint James from London. One of the hospitaleros, Christina, from Belfast, has read this very blog, although how she identified me as its author, I'm not sure, but perhaps it was because I'm an Australian Canadian, not the most common of identities, and the other, Maureen, in another coincidence, is from Beach Road, Oak Bay, Victoria, B.C. It is a lovely albergue, where they serve tea at four o'clock, with lovely bickies so you can put the weight back on you have lost in the morning. And I never been so warm: a wood fire is blazing away in the corner of the common room.
Their hospitality extended to Maureen's buying several of us a drink at the local bar. I will reciprocate when we both get back to Victoria. A herd of cows provided a diversion by marching down the main street of town.