The grim reaper 

After a night serenaded by a chorus of snorers and crinkling plastic bed covers each time someone turned over, we got up early. The hope was to get started a bit sooner than we had been to miss out on some of the afternoon heat. We ate a light breakfast from what we had purchased at the grocers then headed out. We were 6 leaving: the “old farts” as Mandy sweetly refers to Tony, Stephanie and me, Mandy, Gladys and Wilhelm. We didn’t get far, actually barely a few blocks through town before we stopped for coffee. 

As we headed out of town we saw an old stone gateway leading into town with a distinctive statue nearby. We determined it must represent the hardship when a father must leave his family to support it.

We soon came to a split in the path where we decided  take the alternative new path, as it said there was no pavement and no traffic. Always a plus. The other plus was that we walked along the river that gave us such a wonderful respite yesterday. After a second stop for coffee we carried on. We passed some unique things, like the first stone horreo we’ve seen, we which was one of two side by side, with a third having collapsed. Another unique thing, not quite so welcome, was the Grim Reaper that Stephanie and I saw. Actually, it was a middle-aged man walking across the road, with a toothless smile that belied his intent with a huge scythe he was carrying. We both went, “hmmmm”, and quickly scooted to the far side of the road and scurried down the hill.

On we went up more hills, which we somehow knew had to be coming once we saw all the windmills. The trail always seems to bring us to a ridge wherever they are. But they views off in the distance of the small hamlets and farms in amongst the hills makes it worthwhile. Another stop for a cold drink gave us use of a splendid bathroom. Stephanie and I have begun rating all the bathrooms on what we call our splendid scale. This came about after a night of perhaps too many adult beverages when she said, “oh, the bathroom here is just splendid”, which it most certainly was not. Actually it was anything but splendid. The nice thing about this stop was the swing set upon which Stephanie and I immediately set upon, as we hadn’t been brave enough to use the rope swing yesterday. What delight to put our legs up and be able to move without our feet!

Soon thereafter some of the young ones who had been walking along with us decided they had to move on a bit quicker, rather than at our rather leisurely pace. So off went Wilhelm, Tillman and Gladys. Can’t say I was sorry to have Tillman depart the pack after Mandy discerned that he had begun hiking with his mother and after a week he forged ahead leaving her behind to fend for herself. Thankfully, Mandy has yet to do this to her slow poke mom.

And finally we came to Santa Marina, a tiny burg where we booked an albergue, as it meant only just over a 20k day. Perfect for the old farts of the group. We proceeded with the usual routine…. Signing in, paying, finding our beds, pulling stuff out of packs and taking turns in the showers. Not Mandy’s usual style of hiking but I find it much more preferable. 

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