Continued from Presedo to Bruma.
After the rest break at the AC/DC mural, I had enough energy to forge ahead, and I had a good tune in my head. I was keeping a lookout for the place where the Camino Inglés routes (one starting in A Coruña and one in Ferrol) converge. I thought this fork in the path might be it, but the spray painted arrow on the tree was way too subtle.
Then, I saw the two-sided shell way marker on a farm road.
I wasn’t expecting hordes of pilgrims after the junction, but thought there might be more. I met a Dutch man who had walked all the way from Gijón on the Camino del Norte! He stayed on the coast and cut south at A Coruña. One of the great things about the Camino is that there are so many routes, you can piece together your own itinerary.
Always take the time to smell the roses. Notice that these two dogs had no concern about me walking by!
Finally, I arrived at the municipal albergue Hospital de Bruma.
Fortunately, I didn’t need a hospital. Just a bed for the night.
I walked all day to get here, and so did people who started their Camino in A Coruña. Hospital de Bruma is where both Camino routes converge. Pilgrims who walk from Ferrol, like I did, are eligible for a Compostela (certificate of completion) because the route is more than 100 km. From A Coruña, the route is only 75 km, so it doesn’t qualify for the certificate.I fell in love with A Coruña when I spent a day there before starting my Camino, but I’m glad I started from Ferrol. I like the feeling of accomplishment, and the Compostela certificates are mementos that I cherish. It’s not just a piece of paper. It’s tangible documentation that I accomplished a physically and mentally challenging goal. More on that later.
When I finally arrived at the municipal albergue, I was hungry and tired, but also excited.
Excited because there were more pilgrims here than I had seen during the previous four days. I enjoy walking alone, as you can see from my previous post, but I felt like being around more people. I felt like partying!
But, first things first. I had to check in and get a bed. The hospitalero asked for my passport and €6 for a bunk bed. He started to show me to the sleeping quarters, but he suddenly changed direction and shepherded me over to a truck that had just arrived.
I had no idea what was going on, but he made a big deal that I should get there before the line became too long. It was a food truck that stops here each day to sell snacks and provisions to pilgrims. This was the first time I had seen or heard of this food truck thing on the Camino! I didn’t know what to get as there were no menus or pictures on the outside of the truck, like food trucks in California. And there was a line forming behind me, so I was under pressure to order. I took my chances and asked for things that I was craving. First priority: potato chips. The truck driver showed me two options in a big bag: salted or no salt. I chose the salted, then he asked “que más?” I then asked for yogurt, a banana, and grapes. This was fun! I thought about how I felt like partying with pilgrims at the albergue. I asked if he had any red wine and he showed me the options: wine in a box or a bottle. I had some awful boxed wine in Neda, so opted for the bottle. I didn’t know how much any of this would cost, and was wondering if this guy was making a profit on us pilgrims. The entire lot was just €5! Not only that, the wine was not just 750 ml, but a full liter. Excellent! I was planning on sharing it, so the more the merrier! This was a “Camino provides” scenario.
Then, I went to where the beds were and picked out a lower bunk. It was really crowded. There was an upstairs loft that had more space between beds, but I thought if I had to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, I wouldn’t want to go down and up stairs. The bathrooms were across a courtyard. Anyway, I was lucky to get a bed because this place was filling up fast. Nancy arrived a little while after me and she got a bed too.
I brought my potato chips out to a group of pilgrims who were sitting in the sun on grass by the creek. A girl was playing guitar. They motioned me over and offered me a spot on one of the yoga mats they were sitting on. I passed around my bag of chips and made some new friends. They were from Italy, France, Spain, and Ireland. We chatted for awhile, and then they were talking about heading across the street for dinner. When they left, it was still sunny out and there were these yoga mats beckoning me. I seized the opportunity to do yoga on the grass, right next to a creek.
I love doing yoga outside, and especially by water. It was exactly what my body needed after hiking for ten miles.
In the courtyard where people hang their laundry, I met these two American woman who had walked from A Coruña. They, too, were happy to see more pilgrims because they hadn’t seen any in the three days they had been walking! Lynn Talbot, pictured at left, is one of the pilgrims who helped reestablish the Camino tradition in the 1970s.
Lynn has walked the Camino eighteen times since the 1970s, and Annette was on her eighth Camino. It was serendipitous to meet such experienced peregrinas. We decided to go for dinner at a new restaurant that just opened, Casa Graña, which was conveniently located right across the street.
Nancy joined us for dinner, and we four Americanas got to know each other. It was fun to share our Camino stories, and we were amazed by some of our mutual connections. Nancy had been to some national American Pilgrims on the Camino (APOC) gatherings and knew some of the same pilgrims they knew. Annette and Lynn know Emilio Escudero, an APOC board member from Berkeley. In fact, they had seen Emilio’s presentation on the Camino Aragones at a previous gathering and decided to do that route. They didn’t feel like continuing on the Camino Francés because of the crowds, so they decided to finish on the Inglés from A Coruña.
There was a pilgrim menu with salad or soup, entree and dessert, with wine or beer for around €11.
There was an impromptu birthday celebration in the restaurant.
Back at the albergue, I brought my wine to the comedor, (dining area).
I shared some wine with a few of the Italians who were there, but most people were in bed already. And one peregrina who had arrived late didn’t get a bed so she was sleeping on the floor of comedor. No partying tonight. Sigh. Pilgrims usually rise early, and I had to as well, for this was a municipal albergue and pilgrims need to be out by 8 a.m.
The Next Morning
Many people left early, and the rest of us fixed our own versions of Camino breakfast in the comedor.
One of the Italians showed me her Camino credential.
I took a video as I was leaving the albergue.
Up next, Bruma to Sigüeiro.