Ginny and Alyssa woke everyone at six, coffees in hand. Eva grumbled, Inga pulled the sheet back over her face, and I fought my inner demons for a few seconds, then rolled out of bed.
The day promised to be nice. We left the albergue, headed onto the Way, and, everyone caught up in their own heads, walked silently for a while until we ran into Rainer, Hu, and the Texan Preacher couple. The Texans wanted to know everything about Eva’s foot, Rainer told a story about almost falling down the battlements of some ancient castle he and Hu had explored, and Hu Siiii’d every once in a while.
Around noon we arrived in O Outeiro, one of the last “Camino Famous” spots before Santiago. At Tia Dolores, every pilgrim gets to decorate their own bottle of Peregrina beer after drinking it, before sticking it somewhere along the outer perimeter of the bar’s garden. Hu bought cerveza for everyone, we gulped them down, wrote our names on them, and hid them in a sea of others.
It started drizzling for a few minutes while we walked through Salceda and O Empalme, but stopped just as we entered the eucalyptus forest. The air was warm and thick with the smell of eucalyptus, not a bad smell at all, but faintly reminiscent of a dentists visit or toothbrushing.
“I always rains twice in the forest,” Ginny told Rainer who then tried to explain the concept to Hu who, “Noooo,” didn’t seem to understand. Those two men had been walking most of the Camino together, communicating through games of Charade. That’s the Weird and Wonderful Way… and soon I’d be done.
Lavacolla came quickly, and with it the last night before Santiago. Hu and Rainer continued on to Santiago, the Texans had a hotel booked on top of the Monte do Gozo, the Hill of Joy, so named because Pilgrims would see Santiago for the first time while crossing it.
We checked into our albergue, realized that nothing was open that would sell us food or drink, remembered the hotel the Texans had mentioned, and walked there for dinner. Food was mediocre, the waitstaff listless and dismissive, but our mood was stellar.
After dinner, we spent the evening in the albergue’s backyard, drinking beer we’d bought at high markup from the hotel’s bar, and went to bed early.