13 July 2008

Ponferrada to Ruitelàn

Day 17
7:05 am - 5:30 pm
44.8 km

The oatmeal made me late again, but I still managed to cover more ground than necessary again. I started off thinking I would take it easy today, but that plan always gets replaced with the "if I just push myself a little more, I can get to the next town" plan. So here I am, one town farther on than I really need to be before I start the "difficult" climb tomorrow up to Galicia and the last stage of the pilgrimage. Galicia is so far away from the rest of Spain (New York to Pennsyltucky in American distance), they have their own language, Gallego, which is pronounced, believe the awful truth or not, "ya-YAY-yo." Actually, it might be difficult getting up there. For most of today, I had a horrible pain in that muscle above the ankle that must be used for going down mountains (see yesterday), and I fear (get ready for future tense usage, grammar mavens) it will not have gone away by tomorrow morning. In which case, I really *will* take it easy. I stopped at a makeshift cafe today run by an old Spanish guy in his garden. He asked me whether I liked Bush (I said "¡No!") and then proceeded to complain about the pain in his knees. I sympathized in broken Spanish. I decided to push on to this town because the refugio here is called "Refugio Potala" and it made me nostalgiac for Tibet. In my imagination, I thought it would be a beautiful place done up in Tibetan style with a gourmet meal for supper (since it's a privado). In reality, it's hum-drum with one bathroom, a dormitory in the attic, and pasta for dinner (for €6). They do have free internet and donativo massages, though, so it's not a total disappointment. But the last town! It had an open store! And today is Sunday!

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