I guess you can say we were paid a compliment yesterday. The Irish boys who we have been running into each night made this comment. They told us that we hike so well than we must be “Well Maintained”. That is what you see in car adds for cars with a couple hundred thousand miles on the odometer and a few bumps and dings. That pretty well describes us. Just keep on going.
For the first time in Spain today was a day of sun. It was still cool and a bit windy but it was perfect for hiking. We continued to walk through a riot of wildflowers. Monet would envy us. Did not don our parkas at all. Climbed a few hills and reached our 18.5 km destination Viana by 12:30. Checked into a well run and modern Aubergue with our own room and hot showers up a flight of stairs. It was my turn to do laundry. For six Euros the manager took my pile, washed and dried it and delivered it to our room. Peggy says I am in charge of laundry from now on.
Updates on fellow pilgrims. The Dreaded Austrian girl was in tears as she has inflamed tendons. She will not be able to walk for a day and her friends will be walking ahead. I did my best to advise her. Since she is a EU person, she can go to doctor for almost nothing. Maybe she needs a shoe insole. Really sad. Encountered the sausage guy from France. Found out his name is Jacque, the sausage guy. He is hurting with ligament strains in his feet. Going “slow” for now. He is staying with us tonight in our Albergue. The Madagascar samurai is here and doing fine. The Korean kids are here but walk pretty slow. The two chain smoking French girls are here also. They are doing well but cough too much. New character is the Japanese nosy man. Our room has hall and balcony access. He wants to use our room as a short cut hallway. He is somewhat perturbed that we have such a nice room with no unwanted room mates. Beer in a can is one Euro. He can learn to live with it.
The beauty of it all was the high light of the day. The sun. The flowers. The grape vines and wheat. All was amazing in the sunshine. Running into more deposits of blown out shoes, discarded socks, shirts and other clothing articles. Heard some whining from hikers on the road side. They will get over it although the same whiners were loading their packs into a taxi while we were drinking a beer. Sadly, they were Americans. Ran into some Hobbit houses that were used by goat and sheep herders in the past. Glad they were not turned into Albergues. No mud. Stamped concrete. Trails mostly of gravel. A little time next to roads which were holding motorcycle time trials or something. All went well.
Comments on packs. Northern Europeans seem to prefer a company called Deuter which must be German. Some carry Jack Wolfson branded stuff. Kind of like the Spanish kid with the Dakota North sweat shirt. The French like a company called Quechua. The French also take off their shoes at every lunch picnic. Saw some folks today eating a picnic with their shoes off. I asked if they were from France because they had their shoes off. They said they were from Polonia (Poland). I told them that they were almost French. They laughed. I hope. You see quite a bit of the Osprey backpacks from all over. That is our stuff of choice. Good quality American outsourcing. Glad we do not follow the advice of the lady who advise you to cut off all extra straps and buckles. Don’t know how you dry socks while walking.
Had our usual limon at the morning break in the town of Torres del Rio. Well placed Bar for pilgrims. Must have been 20 or 30 gathered around comparing notes and queuing up for the Toilette or Servicio. No such problem when we reached Viana. Checked in and found a Bocadillo and Cerveza around the corner from our Albergue. I worked on upcoming reservations while Peggy studied the trail ahead. We found that we can stay in a couple of Paradors, Historic buildings that have been turned into Five Star hotels. The one in Leon was used in The Way movie and we can stay there for a little more than the Red Roof Inn near the SF Airport.
We have decided not to extend the trip and will return as scheduled. If we have an extra day, we will take a bus or rent a car to go to Finestere. We are remaining flexible.