Wednesday 27 September 2023 – In a way it was a shame to have to leave the splendid 1930 Boutique Hotel, but needs must when the, erm, devil drives. Breakfast was a slightly strange affair, being a table service kind of thing, with more dainty portions of your toast and yoghurt and so forth than we had been used to, but served with alacrity and a smile. Having eaten, we decided we might as well get on with the walk, as we weren’t really sure that yesterday’s Cunning Plan of having left a little later than usual had any bearing whatsoever on how crowded the trail was. You can see the summary video on Relive, as usual, by clicking here.
We struck out at 0820
and it was immediately clear that we were in for a crowded day. That was true for the whole of the 20km we walked.
At one coffee stop, I videoed the path, to give some idea of the ceaseless stream of punters coming by.
As was the case for the last couple of days, the morning was misty
but the mist gave us some lovely views as we went along during the morning.
It was easy to tell that we were getting closer to Santiago by the increasing number of retail opportunists along the way,
and also by the increasing frequency – and crowdedness – of refreshment stops.
The day, as yesterday and the one before, was Just This Day, You Know? Perfectly pleasant but unremarkable except for a few things that stood out: one nice landscape with no punters in it;
an area where eucalyptus trees had been felled and the remnants, instead of simply being left to lie around, had been gathered and bundled up, though for what purpose we don’t explicitly know;
the 30km point;
the Wall of Wisdom;
hórreos of (we think) an Asturian, rather than Galician style – square, rather than long and thin;
a colourfully-decorated house which used boots and shoes, presumably either discarded or donated by pilgrims, as flowerpots;
and – at last – an insight into how maize is harvested, since previously we’d only ever seen it either as a crop or as a blasted, post-harvest field.
Our destination, Arca, is rather difficult to distinguish on the map. Google Maps indicates the area as being the town of Pedrouzo (noted as a Brierley Stage destination), and when we got near the hotel, the town name displayed was neither that of Arca or Pedrouzo.
The place itself is not particularly prepossessing
but at least it is prepared to admit the existence of the UK on its tourist signposts, for which we should be grateful.
but was prepared to provide extra pillows and so forth to show that it cared a little. Food is provided by a related café just along the street. It was absolutely rammed when we tried to get lunch, but still managing to provide a perfectly workmanlike paella for Jane and pizza for me. We later walked through this rather unrefined area to a local church, Santa
Ooh-la-la Eulalia, which, Jane had read, features a gigantic shell as an altar dressing. And so it proved
(as you can see, a mass was being performed, so I just quietly grabbed a shot from outside the door).
That was it for the day. The latest stats, then. We walked 19.6km today, bringing the total to 788.9km, or 490 miles.
Tomorrow, all being well, we will complete the walk from St-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Santiago de Compostela; we just have to cover the last 20km. We’re toying with the idea of a late start to see if that reduces the crowding on the trail; it might, and it might also increase the amount of queuing we have to do at the far end to get our certificates. Who knows? I shall report back and would be pleased were you to return to find out how our Camino ended.