Friday, February 8, 2013

Day 22, to Porriño, part 2

We reunited in Spain. After a very short "woo woo", we took care of business. Remember that we'd bought too much milk and juice? Well, we drank it all at breakfast. So now we took turns ducking behind a building to water the plants. During Gyueon's turn we made up. He came back and I said, "Buenas Pee-as!"

Uncomprehending silence from him. A groan from JH. I explained the meaning. Same response.

Then I explained why it was so funny. Nothing.

I explained that the normal way to show appreciation for a good joke is by laughter, not silence.

Finally! Laughter!

We barely saw Tuy in the fog. We reviewed the guidebook and winced a little, seeing that there were quite a few farm roads, dirt roads, and a "densely wooded section that is low lying and can be wet and muddy after rain" ahead. As you may recall, those have been difficult recently, especially the last one. You'll further recall that we've had a bit of rain recently.

The first 5 km or so were on asphalt northwest and it was easy, if a little dull. We weren't too worried about a turn northeast and over an unwalkable highway to our first off road section because it leads to a creek-crossing bridge, that even has a name, Puente das Febres (Bridge of Fevers).

Bridges, as you know cross things. Things such as rivers, streams, valleys, ravines, roads, rail roads, even other bridges. They go over things. Over, as in up, across, and back down. Or, if the sides are higher than the thing being crossed, simply going across is enough. That's just a regular bridge. Just imagine how much better a bridge with a name would be.

"But", you Dear Reader are saying, "I know what a bridge is. Why are you telling me this?"

I am telling you this because there seems to be confusion regarding the function of a bridge. This bridge in particular.

This bridge does not go up or over the water blocking our way. It goes DOWN into the waist deep water. It is not a bridge, it is a boat landing, suitable for a paddle boat, which the bridge builders did not provide. Perhaps they did provide a boat and it's at the bottom of this creek that their bridge doesn't cross.

We spent a long time trying to find a way around. Had I been alone, I would have stripped and waded through the cold waist deep water and probably gotten hypothermia. That was not an option for us.

To the right was nothing but water and several other streams joining. To the left there was a chance. Some people before us had built a bridge out of fallen trees and rotten logs. The last person across had obviously taken a bath, based upon what was left but there was still hope. We scrounged around and found 2 small rotting logs. Everything broke when I put a quarter if my weight on. No go. Time to back track.

By the way, the "bridge" is so named because San Telmo died of fever there in 1251 on his way back from Santiago. I almost died of frustration there.

Our map showed a dirt toad parallel to the highway (no access due to high fences) but after a 15 minute ahead and 15 minutes back on the twisting local road (a reverse double backtrack?), we couldn't find it. "Maybe we passed it before the turn into the woods.", JH suggested hopefully. I wished that were possible but geometry shows it isn't. If two straight lines intersect, then a line parallel to one must intersect the other, and we hadn't crossed any other paths.

I thought about it. We had an obstructed view of the east side of the highway so I figured that if the dirt road were small enough it would be hard to see. I needed a clear look. A bit of bush whacking gave me a glimpse of a very narrow, smooth, and dry dirt road running parallel to the highway. I couldn't see where it came from but I hypothesized that it must come from a tunnel under the highway, just ahead but out of sight. I had no idea how to get to the tunnel but decided to lead the expedition through thorn bushes and get to the dirt road. It took a long time but we made it unscathed. Well, they made it unscathed because I'd gotten a few cuts stomping the bushes.

We followed the dirt road, not knowing exactly where we were, just that the way was to the east. We cut east at our first chance and were confronted with two yellow arrows pointing in opposite directions. It turns out that the one we did did not choose was a shortcut. Oh well.

We stopped for lunch and had fantastic food. I noticed mud under the next table. Hmmm. Peregrinos? JH noticed empty espresso cups and port glasses. The Spaniards? Acting like CSI: Camino, we asked the waiter. "Yes, they left maybe 30 minutes ago. They said to expect 2 Koreans and an American.

Back under way after lunch. The trail turned off onto a wooded path of the low lying variety. Through the trees we could make out extensive flooding. It looked bad. I finally lost it. I closed my eyes and counted down from 10.

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4,

I couldn't take it anymore. With a scream, I swung my hiking stick against a tree. I smiled, listening to the whomp, whomp, whomp of the broken end flying away and imagined it impaling a bridge engineer.

3, 2, 1…

I opened my eyes. I took another step. I could now see a structure that arched upward, over, and back downward, easily crossing the water. It, and I cannot stress this enough, does not slope into the water. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a bridge. Maybe I do believed in miracles afterall.

The rest of the day was a joyless trudge through an industrial area but it brought us to an excellent albergue in Porriño that we had to ourselves. Adios, Spaniards?

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