Something strange has happened to the Wretched Stones of Galicia.
They're not there anymore.
Not that there are no tricky spots now and then
...but we're halfway though Galicia and I have yet to meet up any of the terrible, terrifying patches of giant jagged rocks that on our last Camino left me paralyzed with fear, unable to move without the group encouragement of Tom and every other pilgrim who happened to be around me.
I remember the Wretched Stones being everywhere last time. Now they're nowhere.
Now, I'm wondering whether all the hundreds of thousands of pilgrim boots that have walked over those stones in the two years since I last walked the Camino have worn them away, or could it be that something inside my head has changed? Or did I just build these rocks up to be such huge monsters in my memory that the reality now makes them seem insignificant?
Or maybe they'll spring up on the path before me tomorrow.
Yesterday we walked about 17 kilometers from Gonzor to Palais de Rei.
It was another morning of walking alongside cloud islands.
I love the cloud islands. I can't resist stopping to gaze at them, then I can't stop gazing at them. I feel like I want to keep looking at them forever, mesmerized by the illusion of islands and oceans.
But then by late morning the clouds have drifted off and the mountain tops are no longer islands, but mountain tops once again.
We hit a brief spell of rain in the afternoon, and so I transformed into a Camino tortoise,
....and on we walked,
....and saw the little pilgrim Xunta guy a few times. I love him, too.
In the city of Palais de Rei we stayed at the albergue Castro, a beautiful modern new building with a bar on the first floor, a restaurant in the basement and elevators to the bright, spacious dorms on the second and third floors where the beds were 9€ each..
The internet was lightening-fast - it's been a bit of a challenge finding working WIFI lately - and the bathrooms were gender-segregated and spotless, with soap dispensers, paper towels - almost unheard of in the albergues - and plenty of lovely hot water
We had a delicious 9€ pilgrim meal - complete with the standard bottle of vino tinto - red wine - in the cozy basement restaurant:
As we were finishing the last bites of our dessert a bus full of French tourgrims came piling into then restaurant and the hassled server was bustling around trying to find seats for them all. Tom and I quickly got up from our seats and offered them to the group. When we went up to the bar to pay for our meal the grateful server as a thank-you poured Tom - I declined - a shot glass full of a strong local liqueur typical to Galicia, on the house. And everybody was happy.
A romantic comedy of errors.
Lots and lots of errors.
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