Melide to Arzua: Shortest Walk on The Camino

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Camino Francés
Day 32 of our Adventure: WALK!!
CAMINO Day 23
Tuesday October 3, 2017

14km / 8.7 miles / 3.5 hours
Total Ascent: 951 ft.
Total Descent: 1575 ft.
Difficulty Rating: Terrain 3; Waymarking 1
Scenery Rating: 3

Melide to Arzua

Anticipating another sunny and warm afternoon, we left Melide relatively early, even knowing that our walk would be less than 9 miles. The weather was perfect for walking: a little overcast, cool (maybe 60°). We continued to see some of the same traveling companions that we’ve been running into off-and-on since we switched from the northern (del Norte) route to the Camino Primitivo in Oviedo.

We arrived in Arzua ridiculously early, even after stopping for a café con leche at a bar for half an hour. Tripadvisor has been pretty reliable for finding good restaurants, and we went in search of the top 1 or 2 on their list so that we’d know where to go for our mid-day comida later. (We ended up going to Casa Teodora. The salad and Garlic Shrimp were delicious; the “medium” beef was way too rare for me, which is normal for Spain.) And then we schlepped about 2 km away from the Camino to our darling “pazo” (Manor House). Pazo Santa Maria was originally commissioned for the family formed by Maria Micaela de la Rue and Gregorio de Barrio y Figueroa in 1742.

The views from the hillside are beautiful, as are the gardens. Even though we had to walk 4 km round trip into town for lunch (and will need to walk an extra 2 km tomorrow to get back onto the Camino), this is a lovely place to spend the night.

We’ve been talking about our feelings about finishing our journey. We’re kind of sad, and the anticipation of arriving at Santiago de Compostela is very emotional. Our bodies are tired each day, and I am looking forward to walking fewer miles in Italy and when we get back to the States. Meanwhile, Mike is trying to figure out how to keep me in the habit of walking a crazy amount of miles when we return. (Insert eye roll here….)

The Camino Francés is different from the Caminos del Norte and Primitivo. It seems that people have vandalized the waymarkers on this route, removing the beautiful scallop shell tiles, writing on the stone pillars. The messages, most of them written in English, appear to me to be in the “holier than thou” genre that have given some sects of Christianity a bad reputation. Prior to this stage the messages on signs and on billboards were subtle, humble, giving, and forgiving (if that makes sense). More and more the messages are almost nasty. I’ll take some photos of what I mean as I see them.

There are a lot more people on the Camino now than we’ve seen since September 6 when we started our journey. We met a couple from Atlanta, and 3 women from Oakland and Pomona, California this morning. Although we are far from home, our hearts are breaking with the news of yet another mass murder, a domestic terrorist attack, this time in Las Vegas. Two Manhattan Beach residents were killed in that rampage, a civilian employee of the police department, and a special education teacher at our middle school.

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