Saturday, 19 December 2015

Camino De Santiago Day 2

We slept on the floor on my second night and it was good that the albergue had some mats. It was a bit chilly, Ze and I strategically placed ourselves near the heater as we were the only ones without sleeping bags.

We woke up quite early that morning which was advantageous because it provided the group a good head start. I had salchichon for breakfast, which the others thought was weird because it is considered heavy food for breakfast.

It was still a bit dark when we continued on. A few meters ahead we saw a fork but the arrow was hard to find in the darkness. We just trusted our gut to take the left route. We had walked a considerable distance already but haven’t found any sign yet. Trucks on early morning trips were rumbling from a distance. Other than that, the darkness was just filled with our footsteps.

I was worried that we were headed to a wrong path but after about 500 meters Ze’s flashlight hit upon a yellow arrow sign. I heaved a sigh of relief

We took a break at a sloping path and several pilgrims walked past us. Whatever headstart we’ve had was slowly thinning down.

Early morning start

Just off the woods, a bold in-your-face Camino de Santiago was conspicuously displayed. I took this opportunity to take a photo of the jersey my buddy lent me. I was pretty sure he would love the idea.
Jersey shot

A girl who was travelling alone caught up on us. I remember her.  She slept on the same floor of our albergue. She asked something in the morning in the voice so loud that almost woke up another group that were still snoozing.  In her defense she was not aware that there were still other folks on our floor. She was quite apologetic when we informed her that there were still some people sleeping.

I took the opportunity to ask her if she could take a photo of our group. From then on she decided to stay with us. I was initially annoyed at her because she kept on teasing me for taking photos here and there.  Her name was Kacha and she came from Poland.
Group shot taken by Kacha

Kacha with Chico and Ze
Further on my camera just stopped taking pictures. It dawned on me that I have forgotten to charge my camera. I was a bit annoyed because a lot of magnificent views came. Murphy’s law at work.  There was one magnificent view of the seaside as we were going down a hill that I recall. Now my only reminder of this was a selfie shot taken from Chico’s phone.  
Last shot from my camera for the day

Selfie from Chico's phone

As we were walking, Spanish folks would great us “Buen camino” which literally means “ Good walk”. That was when I realized the origin of a popular Filipino surname “Buencamino”.

"Buen Camino !" Photo taken from my phone
We had a game introduced by Kacha which was like the “Pinoy Henyo” game. Someone will think of a person in mind. The rest will take turns in asking questions answerable by yes or no only. One loses a turn if the answer to the question is a no. The game ends when the name of the person is guessed. I realized that sometimes an “easy answer” is quite difficult to guess if you don’t ask the right question. Such was the case of a popular European figure in Politics whom we had a hard time figuring out after several rounds, until the question “is he from Vatican?” was asked.

It made me realize that in life in order to find the answers we are seeking we need to ask the right kind of questions.

We had lunch at the ascending path of a hill beside a playground. I recall smelling a dead rat nearby. The guessing game we were having was stalled because it was Chico’s turn and he did not want to give up. He was almost close to guessing the name of a person who was a member of the Beatles. I just realized how competitive Chico was.

Ze seemed like he had a second stab at childhood because he was swinging in the playground with such glee. Ze’s fun was contagious , Chico, Kacha and I explored the playground as well.

I found a stick along the way. It was long with a slight arch on the end. It seemed to glide quite easily when I use it so I thought of carrying it with me.

In one of the stops, I left my glasses. We walked about 300 meters when I realized I forgot it.  Not wanting to stall the group I told them to go ahead as I had to come back to search for my glasses. Fortunately I found it at that spot where I sat down. I was quite lucky to have found it. A strong wing could have easily blown the leaves and made it difficult for me to find it.

After the walk in the woods we once again walked along the streets of a town. I recall passing by a small chapel with minimal illumination as if it was abandoned. There was a stamp available . It had a note inviting the pilgrims to go ahead and put a stamp on our passport.

Then we passed by Redondela, a beautiful town that has a narrow bridge across a river. Once again a nice view. I rue again the fact that my camera at that point was nothing but an annoying  extra load on my back.

As we nearing Pontevedra, I noticed the two American girls we saw the previous day, running as if they were contestants in the Amazing Race. Turns out they received news from other pilgrims that the Albergue in Pontevedra our intended stay for the day  was getting full and they were trying to claim the remaining slots.

Upon hearing the news our group started to walk faster than usual. But we were no match to the speed of the two girls. 

We finally reached Pontevedra. There were 6 slots in the albergue and there were 7 of us (including Kacha).  We finally resolved it that 4 of Ze’s family will share in 3 mattresses and the other 3 will have a mattress each.

We arrived at 6 pm so we didn’t have time to explore Pontevedra anymore. I just went to the supermarket to buy food for the following day.

Camino Portugues taken from a poster in the Albergue

It was March 31, a day before April fools day. I told Ze about a prank I played on my MBA classmates. I was planning to have a big reveal on April Fools Day. Ze liked the idea so we decided to play a prank on Chico. We slipped a piece of paper underneath his pillow supposedly a love note from one of the pilgrims. (This was cleverly handwritten by Kacha).

I was supposed to do a speech to be taped by Ze but by then I was really tired and I prioritized finishing a blog post as part of April Fool’s day prank to my MBA classmates.

And so we went to sleep. The room filled with snores from other pilgrims but I was dead tired that I too easily fell asleep. And that was the second day of my Camino.

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