Since turning towards the south-west at Ribadeo I’ve seen the country getting dryer, even though this area has had a similar amount of rain to that which has fallen along the north coast. The dryness is quite noticeable with grass browning and loose dust, sometimes a couple of centimeters thick, along the track. We’ve had no rain for many days. It’s made walking that much more pleasant. Italy was quite hot in April. In France I experienced many days close to the mid thirties. I’ve had none of that in Spain.

Something else I’ve noticed that logging still seems to be an active industry. It’s not widespread, but it’s there. Eucalypt forests appear to be the main focus. Today I
saw small sections that had recently been logged. I still haven’t found out the use to which they put the eucalypt logs.

Today we had some more quiet paths but we also did a few stretches on bitumen, notably when leaving Baamonde. I haven’t enquired of other pilgrims what they think of walking along the edge of bitumen roads but their reply would probably be something like, “That’s the Camino”. In other words, you accept what is offered, hopefully with grace.

In the late morning I saw an elderly man crossing his yard towards the direction of the path I was walking. I thought he was headed to what appeared to be a water well. In fact, he came to his fence and asked me if I needed water. After I told him I had plenty he enquired where I was from. I told him and he held out his hand which I shook. I’m sure I wasn’t a one-off for the day nor the week. Passing pilgrims must provide him with a ready made source of conversations.

As I walked through the village of Subcampo I heard the sound of some lovely
singing. The songs were being sung in Spanish and sounded like love songs. I rounded a bend and saw that it was coming from what turned out to be the workshop of an artisan whose craft was to fashion from sandstone a variety of objects that contained some reference to the Camino, such as a cross or a scallop shell. The sandstone looked more dense than any I’ve seen in Australia. Some of the man’s creations had been cemented into the wall of his property that faced the street. I looked at his display which was a front room of his house but wasn’t tempted to buy. I was told by another pilgrim that the singer was Argentinian. Coming across this craftsman in some tiny village is one of the fascinating occurrences of the Camino.

Miraz is just 16km from last night’s stop. There is a bar, but no shop. The albergue, which has only been opened for a couple of weeks, is terrific. Great facilities, especially the kitchen. It’s run by the Confraternity of St James which has volunteer hospitaleros staff their albergues. At this one they provide tea, coffee and biscuits, as well as breakfast between 6.30am and 7.30am. The albergue has three hospitaleros, a man and woman from the UK and a man from Germany. They do a training course before taking up a post which lasts a little less than three weeks at each albergue.

The albergue was full by 3.30pm but they managed to fit another half dozen pilgrims on mattresses on the dining room floor. Of course, these pilgrims can’t get their beds until after everyone has had dinner and the tables moved. Because there is no shop in the village the albergue has its own which is really a bookshelf filled with tinned and bottled food. Their prices suggest they’re not trying to make a profit.

I took advantage of the cooking facilities and made spaghetti with a tomato and onion sauce which I was able to share with two other pilgrims. It’s so pleasurable to
be able to share food which is so essential to our needs. I think it enriches the human condition, even if only temporarily.

Jay-z and alicia keys even performed their hit before the opening pitch of game 2 at the tick the link world series that year, making its link to a painful moment in my personal life completely inextricable