The morning we started on Day 4 was chillier than usual. And foggier.
I now write this blog a few months after our walk and my memory is a bit hazy. I had to review the photos taken just to recall how things have unfolded.
I cannot recall much for the morning part except that we passed by a rather scenic path beside the main road that snaked through the woods. I just used my phone to take the shots.
|On the way to Padron|
After traveling for the past 3 days the scenes just somehow become the same. Unless there is a familiar marker or a photo was taken, I would not have a vivid reminder of that part of the route.
I recall giving a mock photo contest to Ze and Chico. There would be a photo subject and the one who could take a better photo wins. It was amusing to see the healthy competition between the two.
|Taking photo of the same subject|
We stopped at Padron for lunch. It was easy to remember Padron because of the gnarly trees lining up along the riverbank. There was a green metallic bridge across the river which though functional for pedestrians like us, rather spoilt the rustic setting of the town.
It was Holy Thursday that day. We were advised to buy stuff already that day - the supermarkets will be closed the following day since it will be a holiday. We were also told that the supermarket will be closed at 2 pm that day. We decided to split the group. One will be ordering lunch and the other will already proceed to the store to buy stuff.
This part of the walk I can vividly recall because while waiting for the others I gave a puzzle to the two brothers who were rather hell-bent to solve it. They took their own private space and were deeply absorbed. (One puzzle I gave them has the theme of a truth teller and a liar and a constraint of only one question).
Earlier Chico was trying to learn some Polish courtesy of Kacha. I think he has gotten to a point where he could speak with an accent similar to a local. However when the time came that he had to use the phrase (we met a Polish pilgrim while crossing the bridge in Padron) he forgot about it. I thought that was funny hence I remembered it from the walk.
In the afternoon we were singing songs along the way. We sang our hearts out as if we were being filmed in our own MTV. There was a part of the walk were the brothers gave us a sample of Fado, a music genre in Portugal which is characterized by melancholia.
The whole group was very much enthusiastic whenever I ask them to pose for a shot. Perhaps it was slowly sinking in to everyone that it was our second to the last day together and the inevitable parting of ways was about to come. The past few days of walking somehow bonded us through a unique experience that only can be experienced from the Camino and it was a bit sad that the journey was soon coming to a close.
|Firing squad pose|
I recall that the afternoon heat was sweltering I had to change into walking shorts and remove my sweater and just leave a layer of clothing. We passed by a stop where a foot bath was set up.
Ze and Kacha where somewhat doing a role play at this point conversing like Ze was the emperor and the Kacha the wife. I don’t remember much details because I was zoning out. I guess I was getting a bit sad that in a day’s time the walk was going to be over.
The recommended stop for the day would have been Padron but Ze’s mom wanted to catch the pilgrim’s mass in Santiago at noon so we continued on. We were planning to have only 10 kilometers of walk for the last day.
The albergues at Teo were full by the time we arrived. A private albergue that costs 10 euros/ person had 4 slots left. We gave it to Ze’s mom, aunt, his cousin and Kaja. The next albergue was also full but we're able to find space underneath the stairs. The person in charge of the albergue has already left so we did not pay anything.
It was sweet of Sarah (whom we met in the private albergue) to walk us to the municipal albergue. As a token of appreciation I offered to walk her back while Ze and Chico were preparing for our meals. I didn't know back then that it would be the last time we'll be seeing her as we didn't meet on the last day.
The brothers did not have to do any cooking actually because the other pilgrims have some macaroni pasta left for us.
Since it was a municipal albergue it had minimal amenities. The shower was even communal. It was my first time to take a shower in a communal bath and I was a bit embarrassed. Fortunately the other pilgrims have already slept so we just had the bathroom to ourselves. The heater was not quite functioning well though. I gave out a bloodcurdling scream when the first blast of icy cold water hit me.
As we were lying on our mats underneath the stairs that night I could not help but remember Harry Potter. Did he also sleep underneath the stairs too? I cannot remember now. But I did not feel sorry. In fact I slept much better that night compared to the night before because the spot was cozy.
What a stark contrast. When I used to work in a multinational company I get to sleep on king size beds of five star hotels. That particular night I was lying down in a humbling place. But it was a five star experience. The experience of being a pilgrim in the Camino. And no overnight stay in a five star hotel could ever match that experience.