By 13h30 we had booked into the albergue in Arzua (pronounced Arthua because in Spanish you don't say zzzz but th for a Z). We showered, the washing was in the machine and Finn and Anneliese went next door for their first Estrella' (star) beer of the day whilst Marion lay down resting her leg and I started the email post for the day.
Last night's albergue in Melide was the first grotty refuge we have stayed in. It is a municipal albergue - donativo - that sleeps over 130 people in cramped dorms with the dirtiest showers and loos you have ever seen - black algae and grime everywhere - and a suffocating, musty, mouldy smell. Even though we managed to get bunks near the windows Finn was convinced that he would not be able to sleep with all the shuffling and snuffling around him but the walking each day takes it out of you and most pilgrims crash by 10pm. Before we went to sleep Finn had us in stitches! Lying in bed he complained that his sleeping bag was too small - more like a condom than a sleep sack - and then he nearly fell out of bed whilst cycling away trying to get his legs into it. He also complained about the tiny pillow I had packed for him in his backpack. In spite of all this, he actually had a good sleep.
We made coffee in a very grubby kitchen before we left but waited for the first cafe-bar along the way to have our breakfast (and brush our teeth). It was surprisingly cold this morning and walking through the forest was like walking to Drummond in mid-winter - even a large cow patty had hoary icicles on it! I took a photograph of it - first cowshit pile I've photographed - but am not sure if the icicles will come out! The scenery today continued to be a mixture of pastoral and pine forest as we climbed up and down short, sharp hills towards Santiago. It was warm in the sun but chilly in the shade. It will be like this all the way from now on and whilst Finn groans every time he sees an uphill, Marion groans at every downhill as it pulls on her shin-splint.
After a rest we walked into town and popped into the municipal albergue where Joy and I stayed last year. (Joy-belle, this is the one where we all put our packs on the pavement outside and then went to lunch across the road.)
We went to a little cafe-bar next to our albergue and Finn, Anneliese and Marion had hamburgers for dinner and I had a salad sandwich. Can you imagine coming all the way to Spain for a hamburger!!
Tomorrow we walk 16kms to a little place called Santa Irene where will stay in another private albergue. There are heavy grey clouds about so we might have rain. Will let you know when we reach the next place.
Love to all,
S A M & Finn