Thursday, May 16, 2013

Day 2: Morgade to Mercadoiro

Day 2
The morning was cold and grey. The Irish lady was in two minds about walking. She had sweated throughout the night and her head was pounding. "I feel as though I have done a few rounds with Mike Tyson" she said.  The taxis came for us at 9am and dropped us off at Morgade.  Belin would take our baggage to Portomarin.
She and I would try a km or two whilst the others walked on. We walked a few steps, stopped, walked a few more, stopped.  She sat on the walker and I pushed her where it was flat but even a slight incline exhausted her and she was too heavy for me to push uphill.  After an hour or so, and probably not more than a km, she was feeling weak so I called a taxi.

We arrived at the Pension but the room wasn't ready so we went to a café-bar in the square and had a hot drink.  They advertised that they had rooms and while we were there a German couple arrived and asked for a room but the young man told them they were full - completo. He offered to find them a room elsewhere and started phoning around.
Albergue Ultreia is uphill from the square and Pension Caminante (where she and Reinettte shared a room) is in a side street before the Albergue. When her room was ready I took her back to the Pension. The bathroom was a wet-room, especially designed for people with disabilities.  The toilet was so high that she could barely get onto it.  The shower area had no curtain and the water went all over the floor making it slippery and dangerous.  Understandably she wasn't very happy with it.
Jose arrived with the baggage from Sarria and I was able to check into our rooms.
I took the room with a double bunk and the others had double rooms.  The owners are a lovely family.  Warm and kind they made us feel welcome and their two charming daughters made a point of introducing themselves and welcoming us to their albergue.
By lunch time the albergue was full as was the one across the road. Pilgrims spoke of full albergues in most small and large towns and of having to walk long distances to find beds.  "More pilgrims are booking rooms ahead," said one pilgrim, "and this means there are no beds left for us".  Another pilgrim defended his right to book beds at private albergues or pensiones.  "Who is 'us'? He asked. "Am I and  my wife not part of the pelgrims? We knew that the Camino is going to be busy in May so I booked my beds" he said.  "We are all pelgrims - we are all 'us'. when you go on holiday you cant expect special treatment when you arrive and the hotel is full."  I left the dining room as others joined in and the discussion became heated.
The others arrived back from their walk and settled into their rooms. It started raining and we spent most of the day in the albergue.

At 5pm we got taxis to take us to Vilacha where we had a lovely meal with Gordon Bell in Casa Banderas. We met Johan from Cape Town and two German girls who arrived as we were leaving. It was raining again and the forecast was for much of the same the next day.

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