Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hospitalera in Corcubion - Day 7

Last night we were 15. I made South African style Macaroni with cheese sauce, tomatoes and bacon. No oven, so all cooked on top of the stove. It went down very well. We started off with soup, then macaroni and salad and a desert of sliced oranges with sugar.
This morning we hurried through the albergue, sweeping and mopping. We changed all the sheets and pillowcases and put on a load in the washing the machine first thing. By the time all the pilgrims had left we were able to load the second lot of linen and hang up the first. We bought a long loaf from the ´panaderia´van and made bocadillos with lettuce, cheese, tomato and ham for Isa.
Then I put on my boots and off we went. We felt like school children escaping from boarding school!
It is a lovely walk to Finisterre and we walked the 8.5km in just under 2 hours.

"We go to the Faro first?" asked Isa. "Yes" I replied "we can eat bocadillos later".

So up we walked to the end of the world at a lighthouse on the bluff jutting out into the Atlantic. There we see two Spanish boys who had stayed at the albergue last night. Hug, hug, kiss, kiss, "Photos, photos". On the way down we realised that we would only have 1/2 hour for our lunch so I suggested she put out her thumb and hitch. A car stopped for us right away and we whizzed down the hill saving a good 20 minutes. On the way around the little port we walked through a market and met the English girls who had arrived at the albergue so wet and bedraggled on Sunday night. Screech, screech, hug, hug, kiss, kiss. Long lost family.
"That was the best night of our camino" they said. We smile, grateful for their praise. We must be doing something right!
We sat on a stone bench eating our bocadillos. "Pees" says Isa. "¿Qué?" I ask, confused. "I pees" she says. I shake my head and frown. "Aseos" she says looking at me as though I am dumb. She needs the loo.
"Niza niñas no decir 'piss'" I tell her, "dicen 'Wee'" "Oh-kay - I wee" she says smiling. She pops into the nearest cafe-bar to use the toilet. I hear a voice shouting at me in Afrikaans. They are pilgrims from Pretoria who have spotted my RSA flag shorts. We chat for a while and then Isa joins us and we head off to get the bus back to Corcubion, the driver kindly droping us off almost outside the albergue.
There was only one pilgrim waiting for us. Pilgrims always look so relieved to see us when we arrive. There is a look of hope in their eyes, "Will she let us in early or will we have to wait?
"You can come in" I said, "Its cold out here". (The wind had come up and it was cold in the shade).
"Oh no, its Ok" he said "You only open at 4pm".
"No, you come in and get settled inside."
Pilgrims are pathetically grateful for little things. When they see a bed with sheets, a blanket and a pillow, they are overwhelmed! When we say that they can have tea or coffee they look incredulous and when we tell them that we will cook their dinner and give them breakfast they almost burst into tears!!
So in came our German pilgrim who later helps us fix the washline that is falling over. Albergue washlines are usually makeshift affairs. They seem to grow as the needs arise and this one has stretched from tree to tree but it needed a stable take in the middle. The existing branch has rotted and our pilgrim finds another and hammers it into the ground with a stone. Soon a Spanish couple arrives, then a young German man who looks more Spanish than German and then a French couple. A Polish priest was the last to arrive.
I make baked potatoes in the microwave, carrots Julienne with sugar and butter, two salads and a minestrone soup. Isa cut up apples and oranges for fruit salad. We sang the house song, "Tengo, tengo hambre" bang, bang, "Ich bin, ich bin Hungrig" bang, bang (and whatever it was in Polish).
The priest did the blessing before dinner. Afterwards he played the guitar and sang songs in Polish. He has a deep, booming voice and the songs sound more like pub songs than parish songs! The only song he knew in German was¨"Silent Night" and the only song in English was "Auld Lang Syne". We all sang along as best we could. I massaged the Spanish woman´s feet and by 9:30 they all started drifting off. Yay!! Early night.
Isa and I set the table to the morning, and went upstairs to bed. Looking through the window we could see the lights of Finsterre just coming on.
"It will be a good sunset over the Atlantic tonight" I said.
"Si" said Isa.
I felt pleased for our pilgrims from the night before, they would have the experience of watching the sun dragons swallow up the earth.

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