This was our seventh day of consecutive walking so we are a bit tired out. The 3 previous nights we had trouble sleeping (one did and shared?). When we arrived last night Di had a shower and settled in for a siesta while I shopped for fruit and water. I was supposed to come back around 1945 and wake her for our unfashionably early (the Spanish our sadists) at 8:00 pm. I had a coke, a Radler and a bowl of bar nuts and went back for her but passed out waiting for her to get up. 12 hours later we stirred.
Today was long and mostly flat. 31 km and about 500 meters of elevation with most of it in the first hour and a half. The cloudy day turned to showers around 1000 and to rain around 1330 and back to partly cloudy at 1600 when walked into Lugo.
We were quite refreshed and went at a healthy 5.2kph when moving. Trail was great – mostly all improved, wide, well drained and tree lined. Galicia is muchl flatter than Asturia and windmills have disappeared in favour of eucalyptus trees. Still most everything is made of slate.
We breakfasted with Niels who was doing a short stage to Castoverde to rest his shin splints. We saw few pilgrims throughout the day – our Italian friends to whom we holler out “Milan” and they “Canada” when we catch sight of each others and our Irish fellow travelers with whom we share medical advice. It’s unkind when the Irish find you loud.
Services for pilgrims have gone from nonexistent on the Norte to suddenly everywhere today. Even a vending machine filled with Camino scallop shells and souvenirs was along the path today. We also were led into a barn filled with Blair Witch themed hand carved trinkets by an ancient Spanish artisan (?) we escaped 2 euros lighter and 4 creepy trinkets heavier. We ended the day 105 km to Santiago and will be a little stream of Primitivo pilgrims joining the river of pilgrims on the French Route (they outnumber us 16:1) on Friday (?).
There has been a surge of walkers along the Primitivo route without a surge in capacity. The Alburges and hostels have been full the last 5 nights (the small rural hotels and pensions that we have booked are also mostly full and we are glad we pre booked our accommodation). It adds a lot of anxiety to the pilgrimage experience when there is a shortage of beds. People get up earlier and earlier to get to destination before they fill up.
This route is very popular with Spanish, French and Italians and the Spanish have turned up in great mobs earlier in the season than their usual July and August holidays. The Spanish pilgrims are extraordinarily lively – they stay up latest and get up earliest and in between are hollering at each other good naturedly. It’s a relief not to be sharing a dormitory with them.
We kept ours spirits high by alternating turns picking spiritual music (bronski beat’s perfect feeling 12 inch mix ((me)) and Duran Duran’s new religion ((Di))). The iPhone speaker up to max inside a goretex pocket in the pouring rain. I can’t dance and Di can’t sing the high Simon LeBon parts but spirits were raised.
We ended the day in Lugo that sports a 2km 12m high and 12 feet thick 200o year old roman wall with 80 towers. It encircles the old town and has a walking path on top. This is tomorrow’s rest day activity – more walking. It’s a beautiful little city with a very lively old town. We are tired so picnicked on chorizo, Cabral, olives, baguette and mandarin oranges – heaven. We are in a great little apartment that we found on AirBnB right in centre of old town. My excursion to get fixing for dinner was greatly aided by a lovely Spanish couple who walked me 10 minutes out of their way to grocery store and helped me find all my items in large store. They were so kind – or I looked barely competent – and helpful. This is a good place.