Camino Primitivo Day 13-Boente to Santa Irene
We left the albergue around 7:00 am after eating breakfast in the restaurant and headed toward Santa Irene which is 24.8 km away. The day was starting out with light rain, but heavier rain was in the forecast. The temperature was nice and cool and would make for a pleasant walking day. The first Camino marker was right across the street behind the church. You can see it on this house. In the center of the picture you can make out the shell and arrow if you look hard.
Here is another cute house right next door to the one above.
The walk to Santa Irene was relatively unremarkable, but very pleasant on a tract that passed many farms like these.
Galicia is a very green province. The reason for it is that they get a lot of rain being a coastal province. Throughout the day the rain became a little more intense but it came in spurts. The town of Arzua was about 10 km from Boente and we reached it about 3 hours after leaving Boente. Steven led us right to a favorite church of his and we caught the 10:00am Mass shortly after it had started. We got a stamp for our credential, and I was able to take this photo afterwards. A very pretty and simple local church. The pews are all wood and the kneelers have no padding. This is seriously old-fashioned Catholic here. I’m glad my problem was foot issues and not my knees!
We left after mass and walked down the street to a bar to get a cafe con leche. We stayed way too long. The lady who runs the place is Dominican and her story of getting to Spain and living among the locals just intrigued me. I interrogated her for a good 30 minutes before Steven finally dragged me out of the place. I wish I could remember the name of the bar. The coffee was great. But we had to continue on and so we hit the streets ready to tackle the road again.
After Arzua the rain started to pick up again. Still pretty light rain and as you can see from the picture below, everyone had their pack covers or ponchos on. Billy and I were happy with just pack covers and shorts (me in my skirt of course). But the other pilgrims seemed chilly. Not sure why. The temperature was a comfortable 62F and it was humid. As long as I keep walking I can stay warm without additional layers.
The pilgrim in front of Billy with the pretty blue poncho was a girl from Australia named Dani. She had been walking for over 30 days and started on the Camino Frances almost 500 miles away. She was walking alone and was suffering a lot of knee pain. Once the crowds thinned out and the fast walkers disappeared it was just her and us. I asked her if she was okay and realized that she was in tears. Poor thing. I offered her Kinesiology tape for her knee and some of my prescription strength anti-inflammatory tablets. But she said all she wanted was for us to stay with her. Walk with her until Salceda where she hoped to find a place to stay. Geez. Of course we’d stay with her.
We walked with her all the way to Salceda where she decided to stop and give her knee a rest for the day. Such a sweet girl. She had graduated college with a degree in Psychology (just like me) and wanted to counsel adolescent offenders. Well, as you can imagine given my profession as an adult Probation Officer, she was filled with questions for me about the criminal mind and the justice system. It helped both of us forget about our collective pain and pass a couple of hours in distracted conversation.
We came upon a bar in the middle of nowhere on this path. I think it was the town (I use the word loosely) Calle-O Outeiro since that is the only bar in the guide before reaching Salceda. We decided to stop there and eat some lunch and drink some cafe con leche. Unfortunately, the only seating was outside in a small area under a roof. Of course, the rain decided to turn into a real downpour at this very moment. The video below shows us all huddled in this tiny area trying to stay dry while we ate. The downpour became a torrential rain and threatened to flood our little oasis. If you can’t make out what I said it was this: “Yeah, I would say that Santiago makes you work your ass off for the last few days”.
So we waited it out for about 30 minutes. Enough time for me to decide it was time to switch out of my skirt and into some hiking pants. I think I may have even put on my rain skirt but I can’t remember. The rain would pass and soon we were on our way again. On a much muddier path. Thank goodness for my waterproof shoes and gators. Otherwise I would have been walking in soaking wet feet. Which would not have made me a happy pilgrim and probably caused blisters.
A couple of kilometers up the road we came across this magical forest. The rain had let up and we were all dry again. I kept thinking that elves or fairies where going to pop up in front of us. Alas, none did.
After dropping Dani off in Salceda, we continued on to Santa Irene where we had reservations at the private Albergue Rural Astrar. It was about .5 kilometers off the main road but the owner gave free rides to and from the only restaurant in the village. He would even pick up and deliver food if we didn’t feel like going into town. I knew it would be a better alternative than staying at the albergue that was right on the busy road.
Again we opted for a private room with 2 bunk beds and a private bathroom. The place was hardly full so we had the room to ourselves. I think we paid around 12 Euros per person. The owner offered to wash and dry our clothes for a modest fee of a few Euros and we accepted. I was not in the mood to wash clothes and gladly paid him. After showering and getting our gear sorted out, we gathered up another couple of pilgrims and asked for the ride to the restaurant. We ate at the Cafe Lar Sant Yago. Good food and nice people.
After eating our usual pilgrim meal of meat, french fries, salad, and wine, we headed back to the albergue where we found that our clothes were now dry. Can’t beat that kind of service. We packed up our packs and set everything up so we could leave early the next morning. We wanted to leave by 6:00 am so we could arrive by 3 pm. Tomorrow would be our last day. Santiago de Compostela was in our sights and only 22.8 km away now. I was looking forward to finally reaching the cathedral and ending our walk. But I was also saddened by the fact that Steven would leave us after tomorrow. Such a short time together.