The kindly owner of the hotel Loura where we stayed went out to get us croissants for breakfast before we left. It was interesting to note two men and a woman who all looked a little sinister talking with the owner in the bar. Was it a shakedown of some kind or a mutually beneficial deal going on, or maybe just some family members dropping in to say a hello. Fantasies run rampant.
We set out through town past beautiful homes, construction companies and eventually the neat and carefully tended farms. We caught up with Carolina and continued on together. As we walked we heard a church bell ringing like mad. We wondered if it signaled some emergency, but in the little village of Mos, we discovered that it was simply to call the faithful to Saturday morning service. We were there in time to get our Camino passports stamped, and take a couple of pictures of this fascinating little building. (In order to get your Compostela, certificate, at the end of the Camino, you have to have the stamps to prove you walked through the places on the way.)
The walk today includes a long rise and fall on the way to Redondela, about which we know little. The Albergue is a beautifully restore 16th century manor house in the center of town. I have included pictures this time of the dorm rooms so you get some idea of the accommodation, spartan but clean and only five euros a night. I chose a bottom bunk which is pushed up tight against the next one, so that the two bottom bunks form a sort of double bed…..and I don’t know who will be sharing it with me. Even if no one is in the bunk, we are only a few feet from another body somewhere. Kind of like going to camp, only more so. Snoring, farting, burping and night moans are all part of the scene.
Abandon all modesty you who enter here. People arrive in a steady stream immediately stripping down to skivies to shower and launder sweaty, sometimes rank clothes. Sometimes there is a scrub sink and sometimes not. Drying is sometimes outdoors (lucky times) sometimes indoors and sometimes hanging on the end of your bunk. If they are not dry by morning, you pack them in a plastic bag to hang out later, or you hang them off the back of your pack to dry as you walk. There are two showers, two toilet stalls, two sinks and one urinal for up to 25 men, and the same for women (minus the urinal of course). You will remember that we must be in by 22:00 and out by 8:00. Imagine if you can, 40 – 50 people trying to pack, wash and whatever else they need to do before leaving, in the close confines of the dorms. If you can’t laugh at yourself and be friendly with your neighbor, you are in trouble.
ELF says he will not quit, but advises anyone who is contemplating this journey to bring a thin air mattress to smooth the springs in the beds whether hotel or hostel. And now to bed for a long walk tomorrow. Blessings all.