Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Day 31, Fisterra, 29 km

More fog, rain, rainbows.

The fog lifted and gave us a look at the Atlantic Ocean. Suddenly I realized why I'd thought about Derek on that rainy day more than two weeks ago (the song is still looping!)-- Derek loved water. The four places we scattered his ashes were water. Growing up, we spent whole summers at at Lake Massapoag. In Mexico, we spent more time in the pool and ocean than anywhere else. If there were such a thing as reincarnation, I'd hope he'd come back as a dolphin.

I suddenly knew what to do with the shell with his name on it.

Today's walk featured a 15km stretch of dirt roads. No buildings, no traffic, few people. Just our feet hitting the ground. JH and I like to walk hand in hand when the trail allows it. Today we walked that way for so long that when we finally let go, I psychically lost my balance.

For a long time afterwards, the three of us were spread out physically and lost in our own thoughts. Gyueon was out sight in front of me, JH far behind. Gyueon wasn't thinking anything more profound than, "I'm almost done! Freedom!"

Jeonghwa was thinking about tomorrow's walk to Muxia and how she wished the whole trip had been as nice as this. Even in the rain and long distance, it was comfortable. I was thinking of not continuing to Muxia. In my mind Fisterra, seemed the proper end, especially considering what I planned to do. Besides, for the first time, I was experiencing pain walking. I was worried that I couldn't continue.

The rest of the walk was great, next to the ocean. It was another perfect day.

Outside the albergue, I was accosted by a man asking for money so he could stay in the albergue. I listened to his plea-- he just needed €5 to complete his trip. He almost had me then I realized he had beer on his breath. Wait a sec. He has money for beer but not for the albergue? Bye. We went in and presented our credentials

An intimidating man asked, "Where did you come from today?"


"Where's your stamp?", he demanded.


This was the only time I'd ever forgotten to get stamped. I pleaded my case by spouting gibberish. I don't even know what I was saying but it was all wrong.

"You're telling me you walked 48 km today?!?!"

"Yes. No. I mean no. I mean what?"

JH said to me,"You didn't get stamped? I'm gonna kill you. Unbelievable."

She was acting, I'm sure of it.

The man said that we couldn't stay there, "this isn't a hotel. This is for peregrinos who walk here. You can't take a bus and stay here."

I couldn't understand why the guy was being so tough and aggressive and said, "I don't want trouble. We'll go somewhere else." I didn't care about getting another certificate. That's not why I did this. And I was really going to leave.

Then the drunk beggar came in, for obviously not the first time. Ah, that's the problem. Albergue guy is taking it out on us. Another Peregrino took care of the drunk, leading him out and to a different place.

Meanwhile albergue guy's partner calmed everyone down. "Maybe you took pictures of your walk today?", she asked.

We whipped out our camera and phones to offer proof. Good enough. Smiles and apologies all around. Good vibes. We got stamped. The woman mentioned that she designed the very first stamp we'd gotten way back in Lisbon. JH got her to sign it. We got certificates that I did suddenly care about.

We were in!

Upstairs, we were reunited with Yena. We saw Marks pack, heard that he'd gone to watch the sunset at the lighthouse.

After we returned from dinner, we were reunited with Mark. We presented him with a Ganse and he proudly put it on his pack.

This was probably the worst of all albergues. Dirty, crowded, and noisy but it was perfectly appropriate. I fell asleep instantly and slept like a baby for three hours then woke up to pee.

CREAK went the bed. RATTLE RATTLE I knocked over my water bottle. CREAK went the door. SLAM! I whispered apologies. Several creaks, bumps, and a whizz later I was back in bed, and I lay there awake until morning ready for tomorrow.

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