Day 21: Portomarin to Palais de Rei (Sept. 30)

A 24K Day with a Pleasant Surprise

Here’s how our mental math worked. Anything under 20K (12.5 miles) was a short day. A short day meant we might arrive by 3 pm, which meant more time for the hand washed laundry to dry. And writing time for me. And sangria for both of us.

Anything over 20K could be a long day. On long days (15-20 miles), we hoped to arrive by 5 p.m. We knew we would be more physically tired, so we learned not to anticipate doing much more than shower, change clothes and eat dinner. Anything else would be a gift of time. The real key to mental health on a long day was to avoid “horse-to-barn” mode. That is where you put your head down, don’t look around, don’t talk (unless it is to ask rhetorically, “how much farther?”) and your whole being is focused on one thing. Just. Get. There.

This long day turned out to be a short day: 18K. We checked our walking notes around the 14K mark. We figured we had 10K left to go and were checking the notes to see where the next “knife and fork” icon was. Donna pulled out the printed instructions for finding our lodging, just to have them handy. Good thing. Turns out our lodging was 6K before Palais de Rei.

Only 4K left to go! We could do that in an hour, maybe less. Get in early, do laundry (yes, that’s what gets us excited) and still have time to relax.

Donna wants to build a corn crib in her backyard (not this big), so we paused to get some examples.
No horse-to-barn mode today. Beauty all around.
Pine needles on the ground change the color palette. The concrete post on the left counts down the kilometers remaining to Santiago, and in Galicia, the area in which we are now walking, they are stationed every half kilometer.
We missed the rain that created the mud earlier in the day. Another example of how the terrain can change quickly on the Camino.

We were so excited to be early that we failed to take pictures. We stayed at a stone and wood remodeled rectory. It was right on the Camino, so we grabbed four chairs (two for our butts and two as foot rests) and positioned them in the front yard to watch the Pilgrims pass by.

“Hello DENMARK!” we hollered to Lise and her daughter Mette. We had been seeing them here and there every few days.

“Hey, hey Mickie!” we sang to Aaron’s mom from Albuquerque, NM.

Mickie’s son, Aaron is creating a video of their walk, and he “interviewed” Donna and me as we sat in the Rectoral de Lestedo’s yard. Aaron asked for my email so that he could share the video with us. I soooooo hope he does.

Little did we know that our shortened day would come back to bite us big time the next day!

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