Camino Day 21, Mon 17/6/02:
Palas do Rey

24 km today
720 total

Another hot one! But at least it was very short. Left Portomarín at 8:30 after breakfast. Dressed my blisters with iodine, gauze and bandages. Right foot was fine, but my left foot was less so, especially under the toes.

The way as far as Gonzar was uphill roadwalking for some 8km, but there was little traffic so it wasn't too bad. I passed quite a few of the unusual structures known as hórreos - these are long narrow storehouses raised up on stilts, generally with a cross at one gable end and a decorative motif on the other. Apparently they're used to store potatoes, corncobs and the like.

Bumped into Jonathan and Ted, English and Irish respectively, at a farmyard café and walked a bit with them, in the company of some Scottish pilgrims who were doing the last 100km as part of a charity effort to raise funds for a children's hospital back home in Glasgow. They were singularly ill-prepared, but there wasn't far to go. The sight of one of them limping along without any shirt on in the searing heat and with a humongous beer-belly might in other circumstances have been funny, except that we could all empathise.

We rested a bit under the shade of a huge chestnut tree next to a cemetery. (These Spanish cemeteries are very strange, but I think I might have mentioned that before.)

Alas, only 4 usable photos today:

Pilgrims with Pram

leaving Portomarín (55K)

Typical hórreo

Toxibo (38K)

Balm-pot pilgrim with trolley

Gonzar (62K)


Eirexe (68K)

Arrived in Palas do Rey shortly before 1 PM. We checked in to the very nice refugio; I left to wander around and some exploring. Raju describes the place as "a town with all facilities but no very interesting features", and after a 20 minute walk around, I am forced to agree. So there's only one thing to do - repair to the local hostelry, read the papers, have a few beers, and watch the World Cup soccer on TV. (They're still analysing the Spain - Ireland game, which, to be honest, Spain were lucky to win. I think they realise this.)

Had dinner with some friends of Jonathan and Ted, including a German chap called Dieter who'd done in his tendons within shouting distance of the finish, but who was going to try it anyway. Ouch. There are also some Canadian people, one of whom was so gullible it defied belief. I still cringe as I recall Ted's merciless piss-taking.

Back to the refugio to sleep - only 66km to go! Alas, there's a Spanish family - mother, father and 10-year-old son, all of whom snore. I had managed to lose my earplugs along the way - trapped!