Slugs and snails and puppy dog tails

The morning began much more auspiciously than the evening before. Everyone woke gently and quietly, with the early risers taking their gear into the outer room to pack up without disturbing anyone else. Mandy decided we needed a more substantial breakfast so I wouldn’t “fizzle out” as I felt I did by the end of the hike yesterday. So we ate and ate and downed protein powder in juice as well, as it’s not easy being a vegetarian and vegan in Spain.

That seemed to help emensely, as I felt far more energetic today. Plus, it didn’t hurt that the rain stopped and the sun came out intermittently, warming it up.  I also had my best sleep since we got here. We had lots of hills today, where actually the uphill parts seemed easier than the downhill on my ankles. I still do the “granny steps” where I step ever so cautiously when I’m going over what I consider dicey sections. And we had plenty of them today – mud galore, loose rocks, and rock “steps”. But thanks to my poles and the fact that Mandy isn’t fussing at my slow pace (yet) I’ve had no issues.

I continue to find things that remind me of home, including a good many slugs and snails after yesterday’s rain. Mandy was intrigued with the ones we found creeping up a wall.

We hadn’t been walking long when we were going up a hill, first charmed by a chorus of cow bells in a field nearby, when all of a sudden we heard a tremendous rustling in a bank of trees. We looked over and were amazed to see a large dog come running out. Later on we enjoyed seeing a large momma dog nursing her puppies.

The day continued with a number of pleasant breaks for coffee, for lunch on a hillside under fruit trees and for water at a path side fountain. We were happy that Anika, the Swedish hiker, Gladys from Australia and the other mother daughter team of Diana and Kelsey all came along at points during the day.  One charming little village toward the end of the day even sported a sweetheart of an older gentleman, sitting outside his house, cheering us on, wishing us a good journey.

Five of us ended the day together in the delightful town of Salas, going out for drinks, then dinner. The woman who runs the new albergue we’re staying in was kind enough to do some laundry for us, then when we asked where we might find vegetarian dinners she recommended the restaurant her family runs. Turned out not only delicious but entertaining. We ordered Sidra, the local Asturias cider, where they pour it from as high as their arm will go into cups as low as the other arm will go, all to give it some sparkling tendency. But best of all, at the end if the meal, the father came out to play his harmonica for us.

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