Wednesday, June 11, 2014

El Camino, Day 3

Day 3 (Thurs June 5, 2014) Palas de Rei to Arzua, 29 kilometers This was definitely the longest and toughest day! Not only was it the most kilometers in a day, but it also had the most hills. Although every day was pretty hilly, much more than I anticipated. It was still so incredibly beautiful. More forests and rolling hills of farmlands. At our half way point we stopped in Melide, and had pulpo (octopus), which this town is famous for. It was surprisingly really good. I mean, I like calamari, but I thought it was because it’s fried. But the octopus is just boiled, sprinkled with salt and cayenne pepper and olive oil. And apparently it’s a real art to cook it because if it’s wrong it’s chewy and terrible. But it was delicious! Very rich, though. I was glad I shared it with Kathleen. The highlight of the pulperia (octopus place, not grocery store like in Honduras) for me, though, was being able to sit next to an older man, and talk to him about life there. He’s a farmer, but now is retired and his son runs the farm. He likes to get pulpo when he comes to town. He had really bright blue eyes, and was such a genuinely nice man. I was thrilled because he kept slipping into Gallego (Galician), the local language. It’s another Romance language (like Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, Catalan, Romanian, etc). It’s actually really similar to Portuguese, and I had no trouble understanding it. So fascinating. I can’t believe they’re able to keep it up. Spain’s regions are really amazing at how different they are, and how strong they have stayed during all these years. So much under one country. My hip had started to really bother me in the morning. But luckily I ran into a group of Spaniards (recent college grads) who were really interesting to talk to, and they helped take my mind off of it. That’s another miracle of the camino. It feels like whenever things get hard, and you’re struggling, someone comes along to lift you, to talk to you, and help you forget it’s hard. These boys were all very religious, and would stop at almost every chapel along the way. I talked to one of them for a while about Mormonism—he’d never even heard of it, and we talked about the similarities between our religions. Then I found out they were graduating in engineering. They got excited that my brother works for Ebay, and that I’ve been to Silicon Valley, and the google campus. They were really cute. Towards the end of the day my hip was throbbing, and we’d gotten rained on, so I went ahead of everyone to our albergue, rather than resting again. I felt like it hurt more after resting. Once again, I ran into some people to help me take my mind off it. There were some girls who had started alone, but now had quite a large camino family—about 6 people. The two I talked to were from different countries—a Mexican/American from Bakersfield, and a girl from England. Both living here for a year to study and get better at Spanish. They want to teach it eventually. They were so fun to talk to, and thanks to them, I made it! And ironically I was the first one of our group to the albergue that night. Albaro and Amaya planed to stay in the same albergue as us, along with Angie again, so we all pitched in and made dinner together that night. It was so fun! I loved eating together like a real family. Then after dinner they worked on Kathleen’s feet. She’d gotten blisters. I lucked out on that account, and didn’t really have anything too bad on my feet.

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