The rains pounded through the night. It was very heavy. I did feel relieved that it was raining so heavily. I figured that it was better for the moisture to get squeezed out of those rain clouds whilst we were indoors than on us. In between the heavy patter of rain, I managed to get some sleep, lying flat on my back in a straight position. I figured it was the best way to keep my nose as far away from the bedding as possible. Thankfully, I was in my sleeping bag, so I felt better at sorta having a surface that was my own.
Son on the other hand, had very little sleep. The grating snore of the man in the room kept us up all night. We managed to sleep till close to 8 am when the noise of the others woke us up. We waited till the others had packed and left and then got ourselves going.
We couldn’t wait to get out of the albergue. Son didn’t even want breakfast. So we set off, in the cool, damp morning with a bit of chocolate to share between us to keep us going for the 10 km to Ponte Olveiro
Dark and foreboding behind us, the way in front was clean and bright. Relatively clean, anyway. The heavy rains overnight had washed the roads clean of caked on dung, and everything felt fresh in the morning air. We were the first ahead of no one, behind no one. Still it was not too long before people were suddenly upon us. It is me, I apologised to Son. I am a slow walker. And that’s because I now like to walk with my hands in my pocket, strolling and admiring the view around. For why not? I might not be back this way again.
We passed small farming hamlets, one after another. Some of these farms have very large barns. Clearly there is a big kahuna farmer who mainly runs the whole area. Yet there were still a lot of other dwelling houses. Maybe they were the homes of workers or smaller farm owners. Despite it being a week day, there was hardly any movement in sight – human movement that is. Onwards we climbed up hills, roads and other pathways. My backpack cover was holding up. The garbage bag solution flapped occasionally when it caught the wind, but for the most part it hugged close to my pack.
Another downpour struck, and we were lucky to ge close to some farm buildings where stepped in to take shelter. It bucketed down for 15 minutes before dissipating. It reminded me of Singapore, where tropical rains would suddenly whoosh down, only to be spent a few minutes later. And so we trudged onwards towards Ponte Olveiroa.
After about 2 and a half hours, we’d arrive in the Albergue in Ponte de Olveiroa. Having had no breakfast or coffee to start the morning, I definitely needed something. So orange juice, coffee and bocadillo was in order. The albergue was very nice, much nicer than yesterday. If I was on my own, I would have stayed, being able to entertain and amuse myself in relative boredom. But Son was with me, and though he is much more independent now, I was not sure that he would cope with the hours stretched out in front of him. I ummed and aaahed, strangely indecisive as I peered out at the weather divining the movement of rain clouds. What I did not want was to get wet.
As we ate and pondered, an Irish pilgrim walked in and started up a conversation. He was walking backwards from Finisterre to Santiago. Apparently, he’d done 15 caminos altogether. He spoke like he was a hard core camino-ist so I did not ask him whether it was the full routes he did on each of those occasions or part route. Of the 15, 8 had been Camino Frances, the rest a mix of other routes including the Del Norte. It seemed so cool to spend your life constantly walking and I congratulated him on being able to set up a life to live so. He’d been volunteering at the pilgrim office in Santiago as well.
Somehow the conversation moved to the missing American pilgrim, now known to be dead. At the time, they’d found Denise only a couple of weeks prior. Given that he spoke Spanish fluently and was in Santiago all this time, I asked what he knew from the Spanish newspapers. He tsked away, and said it’d been known for a long time who they suspected. After all, the man arrested had long been known to kill animals. The man came from Santa Catarina. And apparently a few days after her disappearance, he was cashing out €1000. He tsked about the inefficiency of Spanish police and general lack of interest until media interest meant that they’d have to do more than idly sit by. What he felt was that if they had moved faster, sooner, they might yet have saved her.
Who knows the truth? But as we walk on, I say a little prayer for the missing pilgrim.