Trajectory: Gonzar à Melide
Distance: 19.8 miles, and 31.7 kilometers
Blood Blisters: 2
Curious Insect Bites: 15
Sunrise over Gonzar
A Delightfully Stereotypical Day
I left the albergue with a French Canadian guy I’d met the night before, and we started walking together. At first, I was hesitant to walk with someone. I didn’t feel like having banal conversations, there were only a few days left, and it seemed pointless to try to make a two-day friendship. I know that sounds like Les Mis, but that was my initial thought. After an hour or two, the kilometers were still passing pleasantly. An open café appeared, so we sat down to enjoy the eponymous beverage. We were soon joined by an Italian woman, who the Canadian man knew from a few days prior, and, with little fanfare, we all began walking and talking our way to Gonzar. We stopped in Palas de Rei, where we ate bocadillos of cheese and bacon and laughed heartily at the ridiculous simplicity of Spanish sandwiches. Upon arrival in Melide, we shared both a load of laundry and stories of failed relationships. Once cleaned, we went out to a traditional pulpería and had a lavish (and cheap) dinner with a bottle of terrible wine that was apparently included with the meal. It was the Camino cliché: People from all over the world speaking different Englishes while eating and drinking the night away after a long rainy day. And honestly, it was fun. My point is that, after walking for nearly two weeks alone, and then a full week with one single other human, I had fully intended on finishing alone. However, at the end of a longish walk, everyone has experienced the same landscapes, the same snowstorms, the same strange hostel owners, the same funny foods (seriously – what kind of sandwich has a slice of cheese, three strips of bacon, and NOTHING else?). As independent as we’d like to imagine ourselves, no one truly does anything alone, and in situations like this, it seems almost pointless to try. I’m not going to say that “the people make the trail” because it seems melodramatic. But maybe putting yourself in strange and uncomfortable situations with other individuals who are doing the same thing can indeed make you a little more compassionate and open-minded.