Friday, May 19, 2023

Day 12 - 18 May - Pontevedra to Silvan

As thirty thousand Sheffield Wednesday fans are singing, right now:

Qué será, seráWhatever will be, will beWe’re going to Wem-ber-ley

All for one and one for all. Is how I ended yesterday’s blog. Obviously, I failed to bargain for our spirited, impressionable and swashbuckling musketeer D’Artagnan.

Today we were planning to pick up the optional Variante Espiritual route which promises hills, streams and waterfalls. We departed Pontevedra on the Ponte do Burgo bridge, over the Rio Lérez, heading in a generally north easterly direction towards the town of Combarro which, if you look at it on a map, is in a generally north westerly direction. So, the long way round which took us over the VG-4.8 road, through villages, along a woodland path, back alongside the VG-4.8 road heading into Combarro, then along the coastline for another mile or so until we reached the town itself. The old fishing town is stunning in appearance, albeit obviously geared up for tourists with its bars, restaurants and gift shops. Every property on the seafront has its own Hórreo, sometimes more than one, being the traditional Galician wheat stores. One suspects that many, if not most, of the stone Hórreo’s on display nowadays were built more for ornamental than practical purposes. Nonetheless they make for very attractive tourist bait.

So, five miles in to a total fourteen mile day, this was where our contingency plan demanded a decision. Were we to relax in this beautiful town of Combarro for a couple of hours before taking a taxi to the Monasterio de Santa María de Armentera, only one mile shy of our accommodation in the middle-of-nowhere Silvan? Or do we walk the six miles to the Monasterio, all uphill including major steep bits? I really wasn’t feeling it. I told Andrea that I was going to vote the taxi option, partly because I knew she would have gone along with the rest of us had we all wanted to walk, but also because I needed an ally too. 

All for one and one for all! Mick opted to stay with his missus even though I think he would otherwise have chosen to walk. D’Artagnan? Oh the youth and feistiness of our young companion.

I’m bloody walking!

We swapped phones (mine has GPS). D’Artagnan was on her way. And so nearly was her phone as I left it in a bar. Half an hour later when that realisation dawned on me, my cognitive capabilities were put to the test and they came up trumps with phone safely retrieved.

Lightened of the load of her rucksack, D’Artagnan completed this feat in an impressive two hours. In the meantime, the rest of us took opportunity to relax in the sunshine. Whilst Mick did indeed do the decent thing and enjoyed three bottles of 1906 cerveza during this period, I pathetically stuck to Aquarius Lemon all day. I have read that Aquarius Lemon is infused with zinc which contributes to normal cognitive function, so I probably have Aquarius to thank for the speedy recovery of the abandoned phone, if not for my losing it in the first place.

At the time we began to contemplate calling for a taxi, D’Artagnan messaged to say that she had already arrived at the Monasterio so we made arrangements post haste to join her there. Outside the Monasterio is a bar where we took some lunch, Mick had another 1906 and I didn’t. Thereafter it was only a twenty minute walk to our luxurious accommodation in Silvan which I think must be Spanish for nowhere. We have young bamboo growing on our terrace so D'Artagnan is at least temporarily usurped by Dick Van Dyke.

Apparently we didn’t miss out on streams and waterfalls so maybe we still have that to come tomorrow. We have fifteen miles ahead of us and none of us want to miss out on that. Especially D’Artagnan.

We have been incredibly lucky with the weather so far on our Camino. I suspect that at least part of my current malaise is having had too much sun. Despite a generous dollop of Factor 50 on my shiny bonce every morning and a propensity for spending much of my time in Spain at other times of the year, I seem to have taken on a lot of sun and acquired an all-over body tan, even through my tee-shirts. When one has a troubled night’s sleep, all sorts of weird stuff can go through your head. Last night, the words that kept repeating in my sub-conscious were spontaneous combustion, spontaneous combustion. I guess I must have been pretty hot.

And finally, unlike last year whilst on Camino, my football team apparently showed a bit of all for one and one for all themselves tonight in turning around a four goal, first leg deficit from the League 1 play-off semi-final to qualify for the Wembley final. This sort of thing doesn’t happen to Sheffield Wednesday and I probably need to get more Aquarius Lemon inside me as I am seriously doubting my cognitive function here. Was it all simply more confused nocturnal ramblings or are we really in Ted Lasso territory? If this does indeed turn out to be true then the phrase greatest comeback since Lazarus will be replaced by doing a Sheffield Wednesday and I will need to pick up my Camino pace if I want to sort out a trip to Wembley.

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