Oh no! This is a bad time to get writer’s block! It could be our focus is too much on our arrival in Santiago de Compostela in three days instead of experiencing the present moment. The journey to this point has been incredible and worth every ounce of effort. Will our arrival in Santiago be as incredible or will we be overwhelmed by crowds, disappointed that the journey is over, and/or feel gratitude for our safe arrival? Will there be a crowd gathered at the side of the road cheering us on and will a marching band be leading the way?
The logistics (the easy part) are worked out. We made a reservation for two nights (October 29 and 30) at Hospideria San Martin Pinario near the Cathedral. We will arrive on the morning of the 29th and attend the pilgrim mass at the Cathedral at noon. With any sort of luck the swinging of Botafumeiro (giant incense burner) will take place. It was originally used to fumigate the sweaty (and possibly disease-ridden) pilgrims. Hopefully the required dozen attendants can be gathered together to perform the ritual.
We will then go to the pilgrim office and present our completed credencials and receive our Compostela certificates. After that we’ll figure out all the amazing things we can do during the two days we are in the city before heading to Finisterre (the end of the earth).
Enough about the future! What about today? This was one of the shortest walking days, just one-third of the distance we travelled two days ago. We had mixed rain and sunshine, not just the rain which was predicted.
We left the busyness of Melida via the western suburbs past the cemetery and made our way into the woods. Just like yesterday, we crossed several more shallow river valleys by paths that wound through shaded forests of oak, chestnut, highly scented eucalyptus, and pine.
Because it was such a short walking day, we arrived at Ribadiso, our destination for the day, before we knew it. The first place we came to, the Albergue Zunta, has an idyllic location on the river. It is a wonderful reconstruction of one of the oldest pilgrim hospitals still in existence. We would have stayed there except they had no private rooms. Just up the path a few paces we found Albergue los Caminantes I where they had a private room with bathroom in a little duplex behind the main building.
One of the first things on our agenda after getting settled is to wash our clothes, usually in the bathroom sink. Sometimes there is a washtub with a built-in scrub board available to make the job a little easier. There was one under a shelter in the yard just outside our door, but birds had made a nest right over the tub and a mess down below. Back to the bathroom sink we went. What we could have used was the really big washtub we had seen earlier!