Friday, February 1, 2013

Day 17

Ants everywhere! Oh, not everywhere, just on the bunk frames. Where did they come from? Where are they going? What do they want? Only a few were off course, wandering onto to clothing and none had detoured to the bag of cereal and chocolate, less than a centimeter off the ant camino. We've been known to detour for less than that.

Gyueon, not heeding my warning, took a shower. He came back 10 minutes later smiling and feeling good. "Hot water?!?!" I asked. "Ung" he expounded. I sprinted in got wet and soaped up in hot water, triumphant. Suddenly there was no hot water. It had been replaced with water from the Arctic. I'm never taking another shower ever again.

I don't know if I said that JH was feeling sick yesterday-- worse today.

The B's were still sleeping when left for breakfast at the Best Cafe Ever on a beautiful sunny morning. We had a snack here yesterday and were excited to go back for breakfast. It's not like they serve pancakes or anything like that but it's great food.

For about the billionth day, the rain started as we left town, just after JH went to a pharmacy. We stopped to put on rain covers and rain costs. Thirty minutes later the rain stopped for good, heralding the news with a double rainbow, but we were not impressed.

Our trusty guidebook says that this course is considered by most to be the most beautiful. I agree. Even with nothing growing in January, the landscape is interesting and the vineyards beautiful. I'd love to see this in spring, summer, or fall. This stage is 33.6 km but we promised Gyueon that we'd never do more than 25 in a day so we split this course up.

Even without the deal with Gyueon, I think it's better this way. I can't imagine speeding through this scenery.

Across another medieval bridge, Ponte dad Tabuas, and we were back amongst flooded fields. Our feet were dry though because the waters had receded. Some of the puddles were so big and deep that the scenery and sky and fluffy clouds were reflected perfectly.

I guess yesterday's blues just blew away.

The camino intersects, merges, and runs parallel to several other trails. We got a thrill seeing a sign for E9, a trail that goes from Sagres, Portugal to St. Petersburg, Russia. That was our original plan. I still wonder if we'll get a chance to do it.

We passed an elementary school at recess. Kids shouted, "hello" and "Bom caminho."

Just past the school, the course turns left but we went straight to get to a cafe 600 meters up ahead. The kids screamed, "NO! NO! LEFT! GO LEFT!"

As we went further off course, more kids ran to the fence to scream. We could still hear them as we walked into the cafe. A half hour later, with recess over we walked back and made the correct turn. I wanted to go into the school to let the kids know that we were alright.

We walked onward.

We passed a little ancient church, which meant that our home for the night was near. All we had to do was look for a distinctive house on the left at an intersection. I neglected to share this information that would have saved us time and aggravation.

2km and a muddy path later, we all realized that we'd overshot and had almost reached a landmark on the next day's course. Now that I shared the information, we racked our brains trying to remember seeing any of the clues in the directions. The best we could come up with was "maybe". We hadn't seen a car in I don't know how long but one cane towards us on the gravel road. I flagged it down and asked the nervous old man driving for help. When he finally understood he smiled and pointed back to where we come from (the way he was heading), but he looked unsure. We thanked him and followed his lead. Five minutes later we were at a crossroads and saw the car coming back. He gestured that he'd realized were where wanted to go and that he'd give us a ride.

Obviously he couldn't drive the way we had come, through a muddy farm path but we took such a long way around that I was starting to think he was taking us somewhere else. Suddenly, he dropped us off at a house that I'd remembered walking past. Round front room? Check. Long bunkhouse! Check. At a crossroad? Check. I'm an idiot? Check!

In my defense, a truck was blocking the sign. Then I knew: I didn't remember or hadn't even noticed the house but I remembered the truck-- it was a pastry delivery truck, and I love pastry.

We'd finally made it to one of the best places to stay, the home of Fernanda and Jacinto, a couple who have been taking in peregrinos and feeding them for ten years. They used to just let people stay in their nice house but a couple years ago they built a cozy building with 12 beds.

The grandmother waved us into the guesthouse and soon their 12-year-old daughter waltzed in, "Spanish or English?"

Apparently grandma had already told her that we didn't speak Portuguese. "English, por favor," we said. Marielle explained everything and announced dinner would be served at seven, "just come into the house."

We had a home cooked meal with a delightful family. Fernanda, is very friendly and talkative. Her English is creative but she gets the point across. Her husband Jacinto is just as friendly but with less English.

They were excited to have Korean guests again. One had stayed with them on "merry Christmas" as Jacinto said. It was surprising how often Christmas came up, but every single time, he said, "merry Christmas."

They hosted their first peregrino ten years ago, a woman who had knocked on the doors of many houses, desperate just to get out of the cold a rain. Finally, she got this house. They fed her, gave her a bed, and have been taking pilgrims in ever since.

Dinner was too much. She gave us seconds, then thirds. Then got Gyueon to eat even more. They were generous with the drinks. Then dessert!

Fernanda has only traveled a couple times to Spain. She's never been anywhere else and she was born and raised not far away. She delivers mail. I find it fascinating that a person who delivers packages from all the worlds and who hosts guests from all over the world, has never seen the world with her own eyes. She's heard all about it though.

The Brazilians never showed up. Perhaps the pastry truck fooled them as well. I hope they're ok, it's a long way to the next accommodations.

No comments:

Post a Comment