I realize in my posts when I write about conversations I have with Spaniards, I write as if we are having a real conversational interaction. If I am lucky, the person has a little English. And if they are lucky, I can find a few Spanish words. With our apartment landlord, as with most, it is all sign language and the use of my translator at times which is helpful but clumsy. In the midst of it all we both have a look of “aye yai yai!”But then we understand and we are all smiles and Gracias! Gracias! Mucho Gracias!! When we started out we had Jonathan to rely on but I have had about 5 days being on my own with being understood. A good, if at times trying, challenge.
I was laughing about talking to a taxi driver on the phone trying to set up a time for pick up. I was using my hands to explain Di’s bad knees so he could understand why we needed a ride .7 kilometers away. Of course he could not receive any of my sign language. Today we are barreling down a winding mountain road with our taxi driver doing the same thing on the phone, talking with his hands, sometimes both hands at the same time. Poor Di gets placed in the front seat and is putting her hands out in fear as he runs a stop sign.
Every day holds a surprise and lately it is our accommodation. The Camino is getting very crowded and getting a room is challenging. We have been booking ahead by at least a day. We have been using booking.com and while we have somewhat of a picture we don’t ever quite know. Last night it was the surprise of our Albergue being on the opposite side of the river from a town in the hills which is a challenge for Di. Today it was to find our cottage in Palas de Res practically the last house on the edge of town. Both have been the perfect place to have landed offering beauty, comfort, and interest but the first sight is usually “oh, no!” It lasts a minute or two and then we see why we were guided here. Today you will easily see the beauty in the photos of the cottage which is a converted grist mill including the cottage being built over running water, as well as the walking path next to the cottage that Chris and I walked 3 miles round trip.
Di did walk into the square with us in this our new town for lunch, getting about 4 K on the Camino. It is hard on her but sitting is equally hard with arthritis, so she is opting for walking when she can. We are slowly increasing our Kilometers on the Camino.
On the way back from the square, Chris and I took a little detour onto the Camino path leaving Di to walk a couple blocks on the sidewalk. After I startled some sheep a Spaniard man about 70+ came out of his basement home to talk to us. It was hard to tell his age due to some missing teeth and old weathered skin. He invited us to take a picture of the walnuts he was drying in the sun then wanted to know where we were from. When he heard USA he was very excited telling us in broken English he had worked on a ship and had been in New York, Montreal, and New Orleans and bouncing around on a ship during Hurricane Katrina. He told us he was willing to sell us his house for 15,000 euros and would like to move back to New York if he could find a good woman. He was a sweet man enjoying an interaction but we quickly told him we needed to move on. In good cheer, he wished us a Buen Camino and I think enjoyed the interaction, it gave us a good chuckle.
We looked today for a couple from Florida, Martha and Pedro, that we met in the laundromat in Ponforrada that we very much enjoy but trust we will see them in Santiago.
Tomorrow Chris is going to walk to Melide while Di and I taxi and then walk.
This is a very different Camino than Chris, Di, and I ever imagined but we each marvel at what a perfectly wonderful Camino this trip holds. We have time to see and experience where we are, meaningful conversation, space to reflect and write, and time for laughter and stories.