Today is a bit dreary as we set out. The road from Ligonde is a paved country lane for 6.3 km and then for the 3km leading into Palas de Rei you are on a dirt track alongside the main road. Palas de Rei was referred to as the Royal Palace in the first pilgrims’ guide from the 12th century, however there is little in the town now to remind us of its historic importance. There is an option to skip a small section of the dirt, which is down a very steep rocky narrow slope. There is a huge sign posted that recommends people walk around to skip this 900 m section and go by the country lane as we did. Also our friends had messaged us some video of the trial to warn us.
Our planned destination today is to get to Melide in another 15.5 km. It is an easy day, it is easy under foot and there are no steep accents or descents. It is a good thing since Daniel is not feeling well and struggled to get even this short distance. It was raining on and off today as well.
“Before Melide you cross a four arches medieval bridge which spans the river into the village of Furelos. The village still has a medieval air. In the center is the Church of San Juan beside this a pilgrims hospital was once located. This is where the tourist office is and you can get a stamp. It is a bit of a psychological blow since the real town is actually over a km further. “Melide is a busy market town which has a long history with the Camino. In the middle ages there were 100 families living here, (1575), most were innkeepers, and four large hospices for pilgrims. One of these hospices had 12 beds to sleep 24 pilgrims – 2 to a bed was typical.”
In the city we followed the signs to a newer Albergue just off the Camino route. They had a room available with bunks for the 4 of us. We tucked Dan into bed for some sleep and pumped him full of fluids. He was pretty much recovered by evening. We managed to get a load of laundry washed and dried. This is so much better with 4 people since the size of the load can justify the cost and that is shared between 4. Gillian and I went over to the church to get a stamp and had to wait for a wedding to finish first.
By the time we arrived back Emmanuel had prepared the dinner for all of us. Dan had slept and rehydrated and was back in the game.
We ate breakfast before leaving and walked the 5.2 km to Boente de Baxixo, where there was supposed to be a very nice church, but like most in the last few days it was not open. After another 4.7 km we arrived to the bar at Ribadiso da Baixo. Here i realized I had left my cell phone on the bunk at the Hostal. We called, but no one answered. The bar owner called us a cab to go back in 7 minutes what had just taken us 2 hours to walk! The phone was retrieved and we returned before the guys could finish their coffees. It is still a bit rainy on and off in the early part of the day (ponchos on and off walk repeat).
Next we passed thru Arzua after 3.1 km and is the last large town you will pass through before Santiago, (pop c7,000). Historically there is little to see apart from the local parish Church of St James and the ruins of the Convent of La Magdalena.
Our original plan today was to make it to Salceda in another 11.1 km ( 24.1 km total) and we had even made a reservation at one of the 2 albergues there. I finally after 5 1/2 weeks suffered a very painful small toe blister today and had to stop mid way to soak my foot, get a silicone toe cover and get it taped up. I also significantly loosened my shoe. It is amazing how your feet actually get bigger after walking day in day out. The foot actually broadens, thickens, and the toes spread out. What is even more incredible is that we saw our feet getting bigger, but never thought to loosen the shoe laces DUH!
Arriving at Salceda we were not that keen on the “town” and the weather had improved a lot. This combined with the forecast of bad weather for the next day we decided to press on the next 5.1 km (29.2 total) to Santa Irena so we would have the 5.1 km shorter distance to go in the rain tomorrow. We did stop into the albergue to let them know we would not need the reservation.
We decided to stay in Santa Irena in the Municipal for 5 Euros each and had the entire place for the 4 of us. The other private Albergue in “town” was very nice, but she wanted 16 euros each for a bunk and 18 E each for Dinner! We have a very good meal in the only bar in “town” for 7 euros.