There seems to be no rhyme nor reason why pilgrims choose to stay at one albergue and not at another. Last night there were just six of us in a thirty two bed albergue. The night before at Tapia de Casariego it was near full, and the night before that at Pinera the twenty bed albergue had just seven of us. I like it when they are full. They have a vibrancy about them. When they are near empty it's like throwing a party when only a handful of guests turn up.

I had a seafood soup at the bar last night which I'd rank as the best I've ever eaten. Sometimes these little treasures present themselves at the most unusual of places. The bar owner said he would be open for breakfast at 8.00am. When he finally
greeted the waiting pilgrims at 8.30am we all knew that nothing needed to be said:
Spanish clocks are different.

It was a great scenic walk today. There were expansive panoramas one after the other, often extending from near the roadside to the top of distant hills, made up of patchworks of paddocks, crops, the occasional building, and forested stretches of land. Simply beautiful. We did a lot of steep climbing and descending, but the views were well worth it. Again, there were plenty of eucalypt forests. I tried to imagine what it would have looked like a thousand years ago when the hillsides were not
being farmed, indigenous trees grew in abundance, and pilgrims had to find a way to
Santiago under very different conditions to those I am experiencing.

This journey has been one metaphor for life after another. Occasionally one of my
walking poles will spike a leaf. It's been happening a bit in Spain. When it happened my response was to stop, flick off the leaf, and continue to walk. Not any more: I've decided to pay no attention to these little annoyances. Often the small annoyances of life come along and cause us to pay much more attention to them than they warrant. But if we choose to pay them little or no regard, they'll likely resolve themselves.
What about the leaves spiked to my walking poles? They simply disappear, often without me being aware that it has happened.

It's been a dull overcast day, but one good for walking. I didn't do the 30km I thought I might. When I took another look at my list of planned stops, tomorrow's walk was only 16km so I decided to tack the 8km I didn't do today onto tomorrow's walk. I did 14km this morning before taking my first and only break. This was at the albergue at Gondan. It was empty of pilgrims. The door was open so I boiled some water and made myself a mug of tea. I then sat at one of the outside tables to eat.
After eating it was just another 8km to Laurenza where I'm staying tonight.

Santiago looms closer each day. This has been true for the whole of the walk but with less than 170km to go the completion of my journey seems very tangible. There'll be a real sadness about finishing. I learn something every day. When its over so will be the learning the Camino offers. This is the source of my sadness.
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