After a late night of pilgrim revelry, including Mandy managing to keep up with Tony, beer for beer and Stephanie and me polishing off several bottles of Spanish wine, all while moving from rock to rock to get the best vantage point for the sunset, we managed to get up and packed. As we had hiked the Primitivo and out to Finisterre and up to Muxía quicker than we expected, we had some extra days. And since Mandy enjoys nothing more than walking, we are using those days to slowly hike back to Santiago. That meant the inevitable departure from our hiking companions, Tony and Stephanie. They planned to head to Coroña and bop along the Norte for their last week. We have so totally enjoyed their company the past few weeks that we were not looking forward to departing. We walked out together to an empanada shop Tony had discovered and bought 10 vegan ones for the road then went for a last café con leche together. They walked with us to the edge of town before we finally had to say farewell. Not goodbye. I know we’ll be friends for life and we hope to visit each other in our home territories.
Mandy said we’d have an easy day of just 17 km, so I figured it’d be a zippy sort of day. It did seem a mite peculiar to have it be just her and me walking alone. It’s also not as common to walk back so the signage isn’t as easy to follow. We had to adjust to looking for arrows with an S by them, mostly on pavement. And of course all of the pilgrims we saw were heading the opposite way. Lots of “holas” and “buen caminos” as we walked along. We saw the end of the Atlantic ocean as we turned inland. Not much activity as we went along – the usual chickens wandering around, dogs pulling at their chains barking at us, a few sheep, cats out mousing. In one little town we came across a local older gentleman who looked like he wanted to chat. Luckily Mandy could do so and he commented on how nice it was to have a pilgrim speaking Spanish. Later on we had to chuckle as we saw an innovative man painting the second story of his house by leaning out a window using a long handled roller. And we saw the largest horreo we’ve seen to date at what appear to be an old monastery.
After awhile Mandy said “oops, I might have miscalculated….I think it’s more like 22-23 km to Dumbría”, where we were headed for the day. I guess I’ve come a long way in this realm of walking in the past three weeks, as the announcement of another 5-6 km didn’t phase me much. I recall day one of this hike, where we only did about 12 km and I thought it was a lot. Guess one can get accustomed to just about anything. Another good thing about walking back, with all our other companions having gone other ways, is that it gives one more time to reflect on Camino lessons. Like how to get along with what little you have with you, to appreciate good weather, a light breeze, a good cup of coffee mid-walk, a clean bathroom, taking ones shoes and socks off and a bed and shower at the end of the day.
We eventually reached Dumbría and found the municipal albergue at the other side of town. Quite a decent spot. Even has a sports center attached. We were so pleased that Sarah timed her hike out to Muxía to meet us here, giving us a great chance to catch up over dinner. Probably our last Camino partner we’ll see as we finish.