Day 25: Melide – Pedrouzo:  21 miles

Tuesday,  October 4, 2016:  Departed:  8:15am,  Arrived 4:30pm

img_4969The previous night, we treated ourselves to a private room at Hotel Chiquitin.  Rather, I should say Kim’s parents “treated” us.  Perhaps my accounts of crowded albergues had them wanting us to be pampered a little bit, so they wrote that they wanted us to stay in a fancy hotel on their tab.  We took advantage of it in Burgos, and while Melide was not a fancy town, we treated ourselves there.  At 40 euro, it’s probably not as fancy or expensive as her parents were hoping for, but a small private room with a private bathroom on the Camino feels like luxury to us.  We went out for a simple dinner by ourselves, and supplemented it with supermarket snacks that we took back to our room.  We slept a decent night’s sleep, and got started on the Camino a little after sunrise.  We knew that this would be our last “full day” on the Camino, and eating our standard “to go” breakfast from the market (chorizo slices, nectarine or peach, and some pastry snacks) it kind of felt like we were still in the middle of the long journey.  Even though we enjoyed the private room, we knew that the next night on the Camino, as well as our “finished” night in Santiago would be in the shared albergues.  I do not mean this as an annoyance or disappointment, for we had talked about it before, that for our last nights, we wanted to be in the albergues, among the other pilgrims, finishing with them, sharing in their camaraderie.  We looked forward to it.

We walked the Camino this morning beneath overcast skies, and misty horizons, passing through more pastoral villages.  We stopped in the hub town Arzua for a breakfast a kept moving.  We wanted to do a slightly longer day in order to be within closer reach of Santiago for the final stretch.  We were delighted en route to come across our “old” friends Roxanna and Magnus, a Romanian-British couple whom we’ve been crossing paths with since day 2.  We walked together into our final hub town of Pedrouzo.  Lured by the signs entering town, we all four settled on the ultra modern Albergue Cruceiro del Pedrouzo, and agreed to pay the extra for 30 minutes in the on-site Sauna.  While we waited for our turn, we grabbed some wine, cava, chips, olives, and grapes from the market and at them.  The heat and steam of the sauna felt great on our bodies, and a well-deserved pampering before the final stage.  Afterwards, we all went out to dinner for the pilgrim’s menu at a nearby restaurant.  I’m not sure if it was the mileage we walked, or the snacking, soaking, and supping that made us feel tired and ready for sleep.

img_4975Way back in the early stages of the Camino, I recalled the movie “The Way” how four random people ended up walking together.  I also thought of some of the stories I’d heard from solo pilgrims how they ended up befriending others and walking with them.  I said to Kim that even though we were sharing this experience together as a couple, and even though we were walking a pace that disqualified most of the people we passed, I desired to have that type of experience – befriending someone, or some other people that become your companions for a stretch of the Camino, whether by default or by agreement.  We both agreed that we weren’t going to go around looking for such people to walk with, to force the situation, but that if serendipity should grant it, we would welcome it.  After days, scattered over weeks, of crossing paths with Roxanna and Magnus over meals in the same town, and some of the same lodging, it was very nice to walk with them through the afternoon into our overnight town, and to pass the evening together.  To me it is the perfect way to spend our last night before walking into Santiago tomorrow.  I feel pampered by serendipity.