Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Day 29, Santiago to Negreira

It feels strange to start from the cathedral. We turned our backs to it and headed down the stairs and saw a rainbow shining on the way ahead. Off to a good start. This is going to be a relaxing 22 km I thought.

Surprisingly fast, we were out of the city and walking in a forest. All day, the way alternated between local asphalt roads or farm roads. A shepherd left his flock and walked through a field to talk to us and warn us about the next part.

I misunderstood his first question and replied, "Lisboa", thinking he'd asked where we'd started. He grabbed my arm and called me "hermano". Oops. He thinks I'm Portuguese. We fixed it and explained that we are American and Korean. Then he figured out that we'd started in Lisbon and smiled. We tried to talk more but soon ran out of gestures and facial expressions. He finally got around to the important information.

Pointing to the dirt path leading into another forest, he said, "mucho agua". He pointed to his knee high rubber waders. "Si."

He pointed to our hiking boots. "No."

Then he told us a way around. Muchas gracias!

We have the tradition of yelling, "man down!" when someone has to stop to tue or readjust shoelaces. It's usually Gyueon at least twice a day. It's happened to jh and I just a few times.

Today was JH's turn. Gyueon pointed out like a 12-stepper that it'd been three days since his last time. We congratulated him and he demanded 3 euros. We laughed but I think he was serious. Sorry buddy, you gotta go 30 days to get your chip.

Today was a very pleasant walk with inspiring natural beauty. Green rolling hills, cows, shifting skies. We didn't even mind walking through 9 or 10 rain showers, especially since we were rewarded with a rainbow every time. We started singing, "Ho hum
a-noth-er rain-bow

A common expression in New England is, "don't like the weather? Wait 15 minutes."

Here in Galicia, wait 5 minutes.

Gyueon is talking about future adventures. He wants to go hiking on weekends and if he has time this summer. He is also talking about walking the French after high school graduation, five years hence. He was very inspired by all the Koreans we've met.

More Koreans came to the guesthouse last night, replacing the ones who left. Among them was a mother and her son and daughter, who did the French together. For the second time. They looked fine, like they'd just been to the park.

Gyueon is most impressed with Mark. He's independent and fearless. He's fast, too. Gyueon commented on how smoothly Mark walked. JH took the opportunity to point out that Mark had good posture and keeps his head up. I added that Mark is confident, which helps. Plus, he's not addicted to his smart phone (doesn't even own one). Gyueon walks with his head down too much. On a recent muddy day, he literally walked into me several times when I stopped to navigate through mud.

We reached Negreira in the heaviest rain of the day and had trouble finding our first choice of accommodations, a private albergue called San Jose. After a wrong turn, a premature turn around, and help from strangers, we found it. Closed and no indication of operating hours. Of course.

I had a feeling that we should stick to official albergues but JH really wanted clean beds (the bed bug incident was horrible) and all Gyueon wants is wifi. Even after our bad luck, I still prefer official albergues.

We went to a coffee shop to regroup and get out of the rain. On the way, we passed a guest house that advertised €10 bed, €7 dinner but didn't go in. I got bored at the coffee shop and said I go check out the albergue.

JH thought I meant the guest house we'd just passed but I went to the official albergue 1.2 km down the road. It looked pretty good, warm, clean, and had a good kitchen. I walked the 1.2 km back. JH was a little angry that I'd been gone so long. And annoyed that I'd checked out the official albergue.

We walked 1.2 in mostly silence to the albergue. And 1.2 back to the grocery store. And 1.2 back to the albergue. Not an efficient use of our time or energy. We had a good dinner and we're are prepared for a good breakfast. JH and worked out our problem. She's understandably freaked out about bed bugs. I'm understandably freaked out about our budget. I explained that bed bugs are just as likely to be in a private albergue anyway. We're good.

1 rainbow showing the way.
2 One of us is back packing. The other is just out for a walk.

3 a bridge worthy of the name
4 flood
5 nice trail