Bro Allan says he received only the word "We" for 29 so I hope it actually got to others in fully form. Unfortunately the computers were down at Portomarin so I could not write yesterday.
Set out to Porto on the track but the first section had several very steep sections so I took the road option as soon as I could. This was not a good choice as it was not well marked and longer, the last 9 km seeming to take forever. All beds in Albergue were taken but they opened the old school building and i got a bottom bunk. The showeres were not so much warm as uncold but I braved them. Ate out with four Canadians - Anne and John, and a mother and daughter whose names I have never known. Frankly, it´s not the first thing we pilgrims ask or say but it is remiss of me to have not asked. A week ago I bought a thriller book called 24 Hours about a kidnapping. It is very engaging, but I wondered if it were the trigger for the TV series 24? Halfway through. Read a big section last evening and slept very well. That shows how tired I am.
Left at 7:15 this morning and on the way met Lee, the Czech woman married to an American whom I had assumed had come to grief crossing the route Napoleon. As it is, she did exactly what I did - walked to Valcarlos on April 25, and so on. She had far too much weight and has shipped home (to Luxemburg) at least 5kg. It was excellent to see her. She walking slowly but clearly welcomed a chat. This slowed me down and together we devoured the kms. The 24km for today was the most she had walked and she was delighted. We walked the whole way on the track which was in very good condition and mostly level.
Lee told me that as Germans living in the Sudetenland in 1945, she aged 9, her younger sister, brother, and her mother had to pack their belongings and were shifted in cattle trucks close to the border. They then had to walk for days (she can´t remember how long) before reaching East Germany. She and the others played hide and seek while their mother toiled up and down the mountains with a backpack and all the belongings they could pack in it. Her mother had packed a new backpack but it was stolen and so had to use an old one with leather straps that dug in. They had to hand over their house keys and any jewellery before being trucked away. Even while Lee played she felt guilty and feels now that one of the driving reasons behind her camino was to be at one with her mother´s experience. Her mother is still alive.
We arrived at Palas de Rey to find no bottom bunks available but managed after some time to find single beds, she in a sort of hotel for 18€, and me in a Pension for 10€. I have a single room, sheets, and towels. Not having to unpack and then pack again the sleeping bag and liner is like a holiday in itself.
The computers are in a cafe and cost 2€ for 66 mins which is quite fair. Yesterday and today we have seen large purple bell-like flowers arranged up stalks. They are so large they look like garden escapes and I suppose it is possible they are, but there are so many! Today we saw brilliant yellow flowers with 4 waxy petals, and huge quanitites of purple heather. It was sunny the whole time but with a good breeze. We are having marvellous weather with only three wet days. Quite amazing.
In this same cafe, on arrival we saw Barry, Deanne and Jean, but they have moved on another 5km. I forgot to have my bag shipped today so I did not have had the energy to go with them. Anyway, I have invited them to my birthday party in Compostela. I´ll supply the Santiago tart and maybe subsidise the bill. It will be good to celebrate with others, though on the train to Bari in 2000 was an unforgetable experience.
Time to go. God bless you all.