m. accumulated ascension
Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.
After the equator, and already in Galicia, it seems that everything is possible and that there is only half to do.
In Padrón you sleep well. It doesn’t really take much to sleep well. Nor to be well in a hostel: a minimally comfortable and clean shower, a minimally comfortable and clean room, a minimally comfortable and clean kitchen, and good company. Nothing more is needed. And on the Camino de Santiago, there is. And a lot.
The day has started with a breakfast in the same hostel, with the same people with whom we had dined and made the post-dinner: Carme, Agata, Leonie, a Lithuanian, and the Asturians. The rest of the people in the hostel were missing, or locked in their rooms, I guess. As always, among the acquaintances, I was the last to leave.
The road, from the start, was uphill. As usual. Especially, the first hour. The novelty today was that I was not the only one walking slowly. A little before reaching the highest point of the day, where an old hospital (of pilgrims, not of the sick) is rebuilt, I met Agata, who had a leg hurt. So, we’ve walked up without haste but without pause.
In the hospital was the group of Asturians and Carme. After four photos the descent has begun, to Paradavella, and on the road. The truth is, that it is a pity so much of the Camino is done on the road, in an area full of forests. But…
I don’t know where the name comes from, but at the roadside bar in Paradavella we’ve all stopped. Álvaro’s group, Carme’s group, Agata’s group, Astrid’s group, and even me. It has been an impromptu and out-of-sync reunion: the time when we were all inside has been short-lived.
O Cádavo or Castroverde?
Leaving the bar, who has improvised has been me: I have not followed the path, which as the Asturian had explained to us the night before, zigzags a lot and does about 2 kilometres more, and I have taken the road. That the feet are not for frills. I was not the only one. Halfway up I found Carme, and when we had already recovered the road, we took the Asturian man. He has stayed to wait for the rest of his group (the wife, the sister-in-law, and a third woman who I do not know if she had any kinship), and Carme and I have continued, while we were telling each other our lives, to O Cádavo.
My initial intention, at the time of planning the road, was to stay in O Cádavo. But David de Bodenaya recommended me to get to Castroverde, where the hostel had been opened the previous year and about which everyone spoke very positive. And I obey what the people of Bodenaya tell me. Carme was not sure, she seemed quite convinced to continue when we arrived, but we had to buy food because in Castroverde we could not. So we stopped to eat waiting for 4 o’s, which was the time the supermarket opened.
Naming two pilgrims
Looking for where to eat, we met Victor and Sergio. With the two of us we met in San Juan, and we almost met at every end of the stage. Sergio is from Mallorca, and had already done the Primitivo last year. Victor is from Valencia, a software developer moving to marketing, and his favorite color is red. They are friends, had met on social networks sharing hobbies, and had decided to meet in person at the Camino.
They have taken us to eat in the restaurant where everyone was, and on the way Sergio told us that he was leaving, that he was staying in O Cádavo, taking a bus to Lugo, from there a train to Madrid, and a flight to Mallorca. He had made the Camino the year before, and it wasn’t enjoying doing it again, just to delay the start of the university course, so he was leaving.
After eating, we went through the super, through the pharmacy, which had become the main element of the Camino, and we said goodbye to Sergio.
The 8 kilometres to Castroverde have become eternal. It was a town where it seemed like we would never get there. Fortunately, we have arrived. So was everyone. And not all of them, in the best physical condition: when we walked, we looked like penguins!
Arriving at the hostel and meeting the pilgrims you’ve been meeting the last few days with is almost like getting home. You comment on the way, dinners, you make a chat, you realize that they have prepared the trip much better, and they know that in Castroverde there are shops, and you go to sleep knowing and hoping that tomorrow you will coincide with all of them again, with this new family, of penguins, that is being forged day by day.