If I were a duck…

Day 31(17km)
Gonzar – Palas de REI
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We awake for an early start. Why? I don’t know. It is just what we do. Frankly it’s turned into a bad habit as far as I am concerned. Most people are still in bed as the pattering of rain can be heard against the red tile roof. We don our rain gear. Even Dave has decided to break out the poncho his sister in-law has sent along with him.
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It is yellow, like his jacket, so at least we will be able to recognize him. We step out into the darkness. It has started to rain hard and initially we can not find the trail. We wander about in the rain until we find a sure sign we have taken the right route…a yellow arrow and toilet paper nearby. Success! Onward we plod, laughing about what idiots we are, and attempting to figure out who’s idea was it anyways to do this in the first place.

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Excess soap from my socks froths out of my shoes with each step, which means laundry will not be necessary. Any attempts to avoid puddles have been abandoned…What’s the point? I am not sure that we can get any wetter. If we were ducks, this would be “balmy”. This rain is not like the other day’s rain.

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The air has turned cold, and with it, the rain. Within 2 hours, the rain has not let up and taxis now pass us with regularity, filled to capacity. “Pussies!”, we yell at them in a most unchristian like manner, as they pass. It’s only rain! Ya cowards! We linger at our coffee stop for longer than “normal”, until the rain at least slows to a drizzle. A lone taxi waits patiently at the next bar ½km up the road for its next fare. We pass through small villages, each with their own church. 3-4km before we reach Palas de REI, the top of my left foot and instep start to hurt…again. Our plan was to make it to Melide at 30km. Not sure that is going to work out, I tell Paul. Dave has hurried ahead of us, so once we reach a restaurant/hostel just outside if Palas de REI, Paul ducks inside to see if Dave is in there. By this time, my foot is really aching. Not wanting to walk any further than I have to, I take a seat on a large rock outside of long walkway to the restaurant…in the rain. Several people, I’ve seen regularly on the trail are leaving the establishment and ask why I don’t go in. I tell them I am waiting for Paul to check for Dave. They laugh and tell me that they are both seated inside eating. Seriously?! I have been sitting out here for at least 5 minutes! SHIT!(so much for thinking Paul was using the W.C.). I hobble inside, just in time to miss a torrential downpour. When I find Paul and Dave and they smile and ask ‘where I’ve been’, I am less than pleasant with my response. As there are no beds left at this exorbantly priced hostel, where peregrino rolly suitcases and full backpacks are being delivered, we must hike on…in a minor deluge. We see Joe again. He is wrapped like a 7-Eleven burrito (to go), in his poncho with only his face showing. He is drenched as well. He is stopping in Palas de REI, and has had enough of the rain too. Dave and I overrule Paul, and decide once we reach Palas de REI, and they have room for us, we are STOPPING. Paul is not happy about this, as he thinks we are stopping too soon. It is barely 2pm. I don’t have another 3.4km in me to San Xulián, or the 6km to Mato-Casanova, and certainly not the nearly 15km to Melide, nor does Dave…so we stop in Palas de REI. Not one of our more memorable stays, but we get a chance to rest and dry out. Only 17 KM today.

Buen Camino!
Be Strong! Austin Strong!

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