Castrelo—Melide 17.4 miles
31 October 2017—Dia de los Muertos
I ended up walking a lot farther than I had planned today—almost twice as far, in fact!
Remember back on Day 11, when I said it would be a while before I would pick a day on the Camino to choose to be grateful for food? Well, today when I was running low on food, I guess I decided to tempt fate. I knew that finding food today might be a little bit challenging!
Now, as a preface to this, I knew I was not in any real danger of going hungry. I thought that I would at least find a bar open where I could get a bocadillo or something to make it to A Sexias. Let us see how that went.
I said “Buen Camino” to Caspar and we parted ways, thinking I might catch up to him at the first bar. He had no food at all…I had a little bit.
It was three miles to the first bar—it was closed until noon. I did not want to wait two hours to see IF it would open at all. The nearby albergue was closed for the season. Every settlement I passed through was deadly quiet and had no café, shop, or bar.
I was near A Sexias—eight miles into the day—and got distracted looking at the cemetery filled with flowers for Dia de los Muertos, and I missed a turn.
Shortly afterwards, a nice man stopped his car and, in flawless English, informed me that I had missed my turn. Boy was I grateful for that! I really had no business getting lost when I needed to find food. He also said that cafes would definitely be open in A Sexias. What a relief! I felt like a Camino angel had taken care of me!
My plan was to stay in A Sexias for the night, even though it would be a short day. My only alternative would be to walk an additional 9 miles to Melide.
I arrived in A Sexias and encountered a fork…One arrow pointed to the albergue and the other one pointed out the direction of the Camino. But which way was the nearest bar? I turned toward the albergue. It was only 12:30 and I was not surprised that it was closed until later in the day. But there were vending machines in front. A man exited a nearby shed, and I inquired about a café in town. “No,” he said. They were closed for vacation!!! What?!? My Camino angel was wrong? It could not be so!
The man pointed to the vending machines, which had mostly soft drinks, candy, and water. There were two kinds of canned fish and a can of olives. Hmmmm….
The man seemed to misread my indecision as not understanding how the machine worked. He kept miming how to put in the coin to make a selection. Little did he know how frustrated I was. But he would not leave my side. Finally, I huffed out, “Tengo que pensar!” (“I have to think”!”) and dropped my pack by some tables, so I could calm down and consider my options.
I could not stay in this albergue without food. I did not have enough food for lunch and dinner, AND breakfast and lunch the next day. The idea of feasting on vending machine munchies for 4 meals was abhorrent.
While I was trying to decide, a truck rolled up and started restocking the machines!! Oh look—a sandwich! As soon as he closed the machine, I purchased a juice drink and a sandwich. But lo…the door to retrieve them was stuck…
Luckily the delivery man was still there, and he opened the machine and got my “food” for me. I quote “food” because the sandwich was two thin slices of white bread with a bit of processed meat and cheese between.
The local man told the delivery man that the sandwiches usually got stuck, so the he opened the machine again and took out all the sandwiches and put them back in his truck. Oh well, I got MY feast…
I packed up to leave, planning to eat this dainty morsel at some quiet place without an audience. The first man asked if I was going to stay in the albergue, and I replied rather shortly, “NO, porque no hay comida y necesito comida!” (“No, because there is no food and I need food!”) and I left. Too bad for him. I guess it really was not his fault that this grouchy pilgrim could not find food.
I spent the next few kilometers fuming and deciding I did not like Galicia. I finally calmed down realizing that I would make it to Melide tonight and therefore arrive in Santiago a day earlier than planned. But I knew I would be really worn out—especially since I really did not have enough food for the day.
And I was. In the last mile of the day, my legs felt like rubber—like they might collapse at any time. I kept having to stop to rest them.
Melide was a good sized-city and I checked into the albergue, which was huge (160 beds), spacious, clean and modern. There was a small kitchen, but no dishes or anything at all to cook with—except a microwave. Hmmm. I treated myself to raciones de pulpo—octopus, a local specialty—at a nearby cafe.
To bed and comfort. Today gives me much to think about!