I woke up at Albergue San Anton after having a fun night out in Melide. I had some breakfast in the albergue before taking my time to to head out.
I initially thought I might try to walk about 20 kilometers, but because I walked so much the day before I thought I should go easy on myself.
Easy Does It
I walked at a leisurely pace until I got to Cafeteria El Aleman near Boente. It was such a beautiful day, and I was so comfortable sitting outside that I wound up staying there for almost an hour and a half.
I’d been beating myself up for these extra long breaks. Then I had to remind myself that it’s important to listen to my body. If my body needs an hour and a half break, my body needs and hour and a half break. It’s a lesson that keeps coming up for me, so it’s clearly something I need to learn.
I kept walking until my next stop in Ribadiso. Along the way I saw so many more people on the Camino, even more than I saw coming out of Sarria. Melide is where the Camino Frances and Camino Primitivo converge, so it becomes much more populated after that.
I got to Ribadiso and tried to determine what I was going to do for the rest of the day. Although I initially wanted to walk about 20 km I realized there’s no albergue at the 20 km point.
I adjusted my goal to possibly get to the albergue Camiño das Ocas. I decided I would see how I felt once I got to Arzúa and determine if I wanted to stop or keep going.
As I sat at Ribadiso and looked at my guidebook and map I realized that I was actually really close to Arzúa. I was going to get there sooner than I thought and much earlier in the day than I realized.
It seemed too soon to stop for the day. Continuing on to Camiño das Ocas seemed to make more sense.
But why? Why did I feel the need to walk a certain distance? What did I need to prove and to whom?
I started thinking about the benefits of stopping in Arzúa. I was so worn out the day before, and it would be nice to have a shorter day and take it easy on my body. I could stop early enough to wash a bunch of my clothes and have time for them to dry before nightfall.
There was an albergue, Ultreia, that had really good reviews for both the accommodation and food. Some said it was the best on the Camino.
I decided I could at least stop to eat at Ultreia in Arzúa and make a decision after that.
As I walked from Ribadiso to Arzúa I didn’t factor in the heat. It wasn’t that far but the day was really warming up, and I was feeling hot.
By the time I actually got to Arzúa I thought it might not be a bad idea to stop.
I got to Ultreia and inquired about a bed. It turns out I got the last one! The woman working there apologized for only having a top bunk available, but that’s what I prefer so everything worked out.
Stopping at Ultreia turned out to be a great decision for many reasons. As with the rest of the Camino the people were one of the highlights.
I met two women, Debbie and Venita, who are niece and aunt, respectively. Venita lives in Kentucky, and Debbie lives in Florida like me. Venita had been wanting to do the Camino for over 30 years, and she was finally here now.
It was such a joy to talk to them. I was even more comforted by the fact that this woman’s name was Venita. My late mother’s name is Vernetta, and it seemed like this woman was in my room for a reason.
There was a group of three men from Japan: Makoto and his two friends. At 67-years old Makoto was the youngest of the group. They were fun to be around.
Also in my room was the group from UVA Wise that I first met back in Furela and had seen for the past few days.
I was also able to wash my clothes and have them ALL dry outside in the sun! A very big deal on the Camino.
One of the best things about Ultreia was the food. The reviews did not lie. I had a delicious dinner that was different from other meals on the Camino.
I ate off the pilgrim’s menu, but I had spaghetti and spring rolls! Spring rolls! I hadn’t seen spring rolls anywhere else on the Camino, and they were really good. Yum yum yum!
Preparing to Arrive
Based on the fact that the albergue was almost full so early in the day and because of the increased number of pilgrims on the Camino I thought I needed to change my plan on how I found a place to sleep.
All along the way I never booked in advance and just walked up to an albergue when I felt like stopping. This gave me flexibility to decide how far I would go each day.
I was now about two days from Santiago and it seemed like I would need to book ahead from here on out.
It was kind of surreal and a little sad to think about preparing for this journey to be over. I had the same routine for the last two weeks in this little Camino bubble. I wasn’t quite ready to be let out into the real world again.