Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Day 11 Arzua to Rua: Walking in the Rain With the One I Love

As we looked out the room of our hotel, Casa Teodora, in Arzua, we saw light misty rains.
After reading the weather forecast for today, which was rain starting at about 1pm, we decided to haul our carcasses out of the bed a bit early and get on the way early-- hopefully to avoid as much rain as possible. It was cool outside when we stepped out to go to a bakery where we had a voucher for breakfast.

These croissants were gigantic.
 Apparently, like walkers on the Appalachian trail, the average peregrino has a gargantuan appetite. These immense fork-dwarving croissants were just the starter for breakfast that would have left the Jolly Green Giant prostrated. So we cannot complain we weren't well fueled for the day ahead. We started out in light misty rains and progressed to bona fide light rain. It never got any worse. Paul wore his rain gear for a couple of hours, but I decided it felt pretty good and shed mine early. We walked through a lot of eucalyptus forests again today. Most of the last couple of days treading through dairy country was punctuated with the smell of animal poop, but today we had many welcome scents of minty eucalyptus and pine. We couldn't tell whether we should rub our chest with mentholatum deep heating rub or get ready to do the floors with Mr. Clean. It was a welcome change. 

Paul gets some kitty love on the Camino.
 We made only one stop in our effort to avoid thunderstorms, called TORMENTOS here (great word), and that was at a place called Casa Vera. The decorating theme is pretty simple. The whole ceiling has pilgrim T shirts hanging from it and they let people write all over the walls.

We hope they didn't pay the interior decorator too much here. 
But we didn't care because we got our pilgrim passport stamped and we got a Diet Coke. We have low expectations!  The pilgrim passport is an important document here. You have to have it stamped at least twice and preferably three times per day to prove you stopped in a georgraphic progression in order to get your "compostela" in Latin from the Catholic church declaring you a true pilgrim of the Way. Nearly every cafe, hotel and many churches will stamp it. All open churches stamp it,but many are closed which I find a bit weird on a Catholic pilgrimage. 

Casa Verde. A source of 'sello' (stamp for your pilgrim passport) and Diet Coke. Yes, we are that addicted.
This was our quickest walking day thus far and we made it to our destination in under 4 hours. It was a bit over 11 miles.  When we booked our reservations, I told the booking company that although we did not want to stay in a dorm room with 30 other people, we didn't have to have high end properties and that she could "mix it up." So our accommodations on the Camino were like a box of chocolates. We never knew what we were gonna get. Everything has been at least acceptable and has ranged from cubicles to Casa Leopoldo which was a gorgeous bed and breakfast to our original space in O Cebreiro which was pretty monastic. We've enjoyed them all. Today's booking was really nice.

This rural hotel is in a town with a population of 50.

This is "main street" of Rua, our destination for the evening.
 As you can probably tell from the photos of the town, we didn't have very high expectations for our lodging. But boy were we pleasantly surprised.
Trendy looking on the outside

We had a lovely living room with a wood stove
A nice bed room and bath and even...

Yes! A pool! Not that it was warm enough to get in it, but...we have seen no other pools during our venture here.
As you can imagine, this place is so small, the "resort" is about the only place to eat, but we noticed that about half a mile away coming into town, there was a sign for a hotel. So despite some achy feet, we walked back and found Hotel O Pino. Not only was there a great wine list, the food was outstanding. Who knew? Seriously, no one lives where this restaurant is, but it was along the main highway. Obviously, it is a good place because mostly locals were in there. 

Paul anticipating his meal of smoked vegetables, pasta with mussels and scallops, and Galician eggs. And dessert of course.
It's a good thing we are walking 12 miles or so a day, because the portion sizes here would make Paul's dearly departed friend, Cy Anders proud. No ridiculously small portions at over inflated prices in Galicia!

We went back to our hotel after our lunch and collapsed. We spent a lot of time resting during this day and had from noon onward to do it. We basically read, slept, and finally, had a light meal for dinner and that was about all. The relaxation was incredibly welcome and we were grateful for such a tranquil tiny town to do it in! Some harder rain eventually did come, but we only caught the drizzle. What a great day on the Camino. Keeping it real!

Paul's Ponderings:  We were definitely concerned about rain today.   But, we got only a bit wet and it was welcome relief to boot.   Who knew that a town of 50 would have a great restaurant like O Pino?  Too early for wine unfortunately, but we had a great meal and local beer with it.   However, this evening, we did have a 2005 reserve red wine that was fabulous.

Tomorrow we finish the hike, but today was very pleasant and time seemed to move quickly over the 12 miles...."only" 12 miles as we kept saying!  

Both of us are feeling it a bit in our feet at this point, so we are ready to finish up and have some R&R for the rest of the trip.   

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