Eirexe to Ribadiso
Monday 1 December
Alone in my alburgue. I was beginning to feel like the little lame boy who was left behind in the Pied Piper. Please wait for me. I received messages that my Irish friend and Italian friend were already in Santiago. My Dutch friend, Miss Venezuela, and my Camino Angel would all be there in a day. Please wait for me. I had been walking alone for a few days. Hardly seeing any other walkers. I do enjoy walking alone, but had missed their company.
As well as checking my daily horoscope, I’d now taken to online Tarrot card reading. One of the cards I chose today was the hermit. Alone. Loneliness.
I walked through Palis de Rie and was pleased to see the Spanish girl who had made the magic potion. Another person I recognised! She invited me to have a coffee, but I’d just had one… I would continue walking. Alone. I was starting to get hungry. I’d only had toast for breakfast. I really need protein to start my day. I was beginning to get antsy. Low blood sugar. I need to eat. I saw a sign for Melide, the next large town where I’d planned to have lunch, but the town seemed far in the distance. Six kilometers I guessed. It seemed longer as I walked. I need to eat now. I followed the path into the centre of town, and eventually found somewhere to eat.
I was tired today, and my pace had slowed. After lunch I was feeling sad. Thinking of motherless children, and childless mothers, I began to cry. I asked Siri to play ‘Let it Be’, instead she played ‘Let it Snow’, which made me laugh, and lightened my mood.
I soon came to a small fruit stall that was unmanned with an honesty box. I chose a punnet of raspberries, and as I was getting out my money heard voices behind me. I turned around, and a group of five pilgrims I had walked with previously arrived, a young Canadian, a Korean, and three Spaniards. I was happy to see them and have some company for the rest of the afternoon.
Along the way were many mushrooms on this part of the walk. One of the Spanish men knew his mushrooms, and was making a small collection for dinner. He showed one that was quite orange in colour, but when picked quickly turned blue. Nature is amazing!
We walked together to the small village of Ribadiso, arriving at the lovely stone alburgue beside a crystal clear river. The English Musician was already there, and they were expecting some of the others from their Camino family. I had walked with most of them on and off, as they had all started walking the Camino the day after me. More people arrived, several whom I had met. I began to feel better, that I would not be walking to Santiago alone.
I showered and headed out to a local bar with a few of the group. We met the others and ordered a soup for dinner. After dinner one of our Spanish friends suggested we order a local liquor, Liquor No 43. An almost fluro yellow sweet vanilla and citrus flavored concoction. The barmaid said we were the first to order this for fifteen years. Between the seven of us, we finished the bottle. The Spanish pour is very generous. In hindsight, regrettably.
As we were about to leave, another group arrived, including the young German I had walked with, the Spanish magic potion girl, and a young Estonian man whose birthday was today. They had planned on cooking a feast and had carried ten bottles of wine. Party night!
We returned to the alburgue, and the cooking began in the well equipped kitchen. Strangely well equipped, it had ten sinks. Ten. Four stoves, but ten sinks. I had already had too much to drink, but bugger moderation, there was more wine!
The food took several hours to cook, and by one thirty, was ready to serve. There were very few plates, less than there were sinks, so it was dished up on cardboard. No one cared, as we had already consumed copious amounts of alcohol. The party continued, but I was past my prime, so excused myself and went to bed.