Quick Camino story: We are walking in Galicia, up the coast north of Portugal. We were having issues with too many guidebooks not agreeing with the information I had so I picked one and while it was easy to use and ultimately got us to the next stop, I wasn’t happy that we had missed walking along beaches. We saw beaches from up, but not from on the beach.
So I got one really good guide and we ran with it. Until one turn, where I looked down at my phone, swore the next turn was to the right, but was facing down an older man who insisted, “No, Señora, the Camino goes this way.” At which point he showed me a yellow arrow painted on a well that did in fact point left. And he said, “Let’s go. It’s already mid-day and you have to keep walking.”
What to do – argue with a man who lives on the Camino or just plain follow him? We followed.
He took us down by the beach, insisting if we had gone to the right, there would have been no toilets and the bar was closed. Not the option he wanted for us. So, we walk, and walk, and he says, “Let’s go to a bar I know well and is open and there will be toilets and then I can show you where to go next to meet up with the Camino.”
I joked with him, if I had known we were walking 15 km to the bar, I might have said no. He is a retired truck driver, he used to drive all night to bring fresh strawberries up from Andalucía, delivering them all over Europe.
We get to the bar, and it’s just what we needed. A cold glass of something and a fresh, delicious ensalada rusa with some crusty bread. He paid for our drinks, and told me while he had the guidebook to Santiago de Compostela, he had never walked. He needed a girlfriend who would not only walk with him but pay his way.
So my thanks today to Lino on the Camino for guiding us along the beach to a bar and toilets, then walking us up into town to show us where to meet the Camino. Thanks to Michael Matynka for your insanely amazing map, thanks to Lucy for being a good sport when she thought Lino was just going to murder us and take our Euros, to Johnniewalker Santiago for getting us to the beach, and finally to Ultreya Tours and Nellie Meunier for looking after two crazy Americans.