Friday, September 15, 2023

Longest Day


Day 43 - Viana

     We covered our packs as we left this morning, but didn’t put our parkas on, hoping to avoid the rain. We walked some of the morning with our French roommate who was hoping to catch up to a French woman he had met on a texting group.  As we talked, we realized it was our friend Claire who we have been connecting with since the beginning and had lost track of the last week. At the next town we stopped to get something to eat and there was Claire.  She had survived her night on the Pyrenees mountain despite a storm and a snorer. We also connected with other new friends.  

    When we started walking again it started raining, so we had to put on our parkas, which we needed for much of the rest of the day.  The landscape has become a bit more arid with some sage on the hillsides.  We had the Camino to ourselves in the afternoon. We are out of sync with the main towns and most pilgrims stop walking shortly after noon.

    We walked our longest day ever: 32.5 km. (20 miles)  Fortunately, it was a cool afternoon, as we walked past vineyards and olive orchards.  It is harvest season for grapes, and we claimed gleaning rights occasionally.  White grapes are much better than red because they are bigger, sweeter and have a smaller seed.

   We made it to our destination shortly after four, but were shocked to find that we did not have reservations, or so they said.  I checked my phone calls and found their number, but they said that they had no room. We said a quick prayer as we entered the town and the first alberge we found had room.  As it turns out we were able to connect with several past acquaintances, including the 81 year old Korean man who was happy to see us.  We also met a retired elementary teacher couple from Korea. Dinner at the alberge was simple but enjoyable (spaghetti).

     After dinner we walked the streets and found the grave of Caesar Borja who financed Leonardo de Vinci and was the inspiration for Machiavelli’s Prince.  Tonight we room with six other people who are all strangers.  It’s time for ear plugs!

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