We were able to wear our new ponchos for the first time today and even the bales of hay had rain suits on. We have seen huge stacks of hay bales along this route but never in ponchos like these in Galicia.
The pilgrims are well although Marion's shin splint has spread up her shin and the lump has now become a swelling. When we arrived in Melide we found a chemist and she was given some ointment and an ice pack to put on the shin. What she needs, of course, is to rest it for a few days but with only four days left to Santiago, how can she do that? Finn was feeling rather flat today with almost 50kms in his legs from the last 2 days but after a while he got his 2nd wind and forged ahead of us, joking and cajoling us to hurry up so that he could get his first beer in Melide!
We all slept really well last night and after making coffee with our little immersion heaters and eating a custard slice for breakfast we set off on our way to the next stage stop - Melide. Finn asked if we thought we had lost any weight on this walk. I might have a lost a kilo or two but not noticeably so. We definitely have buns of steel, thunder thighs and chunky calf muscles! The scenery today was almost alpine with fir trees, fynbos and broom along the way. Then we descended into subsistence farmlands again, walking between someone's front door and their barn, cows mellowing inside. I fed a horse with fresh grass and was able to cuddle a puppy! In some places I will have a sudden memory of our walk in 2002 and in 2004. This morning we climbed up a winding dirt path between stone houses and turned a corner to be confronted by an old church. There was a sign on the wall that pilgrims could get stamps there so I collected all four credentials to take into the church for stamping. As soon as I saw the priest I remembered Clare, Gerogette and I being accosted by the same priest, beckoned into his church, told to take off our back-packs and being detained for almost half an hour whilst he regailed us with a lecture in Spanish about the age of the church, the wood, the Pope, the patron saint and a few other items of catholic doctrine which none of us could understand! A few kms further on we passed an albergue at a little place called Cassanova where Joy and I had sat in the sun chatting to Cheryle from Canada whilst we waited for our washing to dry.
The albergue in Melide has a washing machine and dryer so thankfully we will have clean clothes for tomorrow. We had a Peregrino Menu at a cafe-bar nearby and we are now in this 'Perergino Internet' place. Tomorrow we will walk to Arzua and the guidebook tells us that from now on we will find many ups-and-downs resulting in a rather arduous walk to Santiago.
Till tomorrow, love to all.