When You Can Laugh Afterwards

Portomarin to Lestedo – 19kms (plus an extra couple of kms for Riley)

Sooooo…. I didn’t have the day I was expecting.

I’d had a terrible sleep and the 6:45am alarm has never been more hated on the Camino, even at the beginning! I did get moving relatively quickly though, so we still managed to be out by 7:20am.

We decided to have breakfast in Portomarin as the first village was nearly 8kms away and all uphill. We passed a place that was open, but went with the rule of not going in the first place you come to. Everyone seemed to know this rule on the Camino!

Popped into a cafe further down and just as we ordered, Heather from Perth walked in and joined us. Riley went with a chocolate croissant again (he is going to become diabetic before he leaves Spain!) and I thought I’d go the toast with tomato and oil again.

I became even more excited when it came out and it was rye bread. Then I tried to bite into it… and couldn’t. I thought, I’ll just let the tomato soak into the bread for a bit. No change. I eventually went with trying to cut it. (Riley told me later he was struggling not to laugh because as Heather was telling us her amazing Camino stories, all he could hear was a constant scraping of a knife against toast that wasn’t wielding any results!)

The one positive of this is that it took me so long to eat my breakfast, as we started walking up the woodland path, the daylight had started creeping through. I was a lot more energised today so moved much quicker.

Once again, the rain was holding out and it was lovely walking.

THEN we came to another “alternate” path.

Riley, of course decided to take it. I said I would meet him where the path rejoins the one I was on. According to the Buen Camino app, his path actually missed the first stop village so I waited for him there. A number of people came up that path, but when I saw the girls who had walked in front of Riley come up and no sign of Riley, I knew we were in trouble.

On the app, it showed a place on his track, but not on mine, so I began to worry he would stop there, thinking my path would meet this. I figured if he is waiting for too long, he would continue up, so I pulled out my little mat and sat on the ground and waited. And waited. And waited.

Unbeknownst to me, his path had a little offshoot that actually did bring him into the village, which he took.

Next thing, along comes Sara and Evan who had run into Riley, with him telling them he had lost me. He was going back to the village but if he couldn’t find me, he was going to the next village, which Sara and Evan sent me a message about. (I unfortunately no longer have data).

Riley would never admit it now, but they said he did look quite anxious. I was in a no win situation. I couldn’t move because if he did go the other way, I would miss him, but by the time he did come along, he would see it as completely all my fault. Evan laughed and was in total agreeance.

As we were standing there, half-laughing about the situation, a couple of Asian ladies came up and looked at me and (insert Asian accent here) said “Oh, you look for son? He back there. He look VERY angry.”

Sara, Evan and I fell over laughing. She was so serious and I could totally imagine Riley’s face! I joked that I was definitely staying put now.

Sara went back a little to look and finally, around the corner comes Riley walking with the father and son Johns. Honestly, thank goodness for Sara and Evan because when he finally came up, they told him the story of the Asian lady and we were still laughing that it caused him to be laughing too.

Riley continued forward with son John and I commented that maybe it might make him listen better. Father John said the Camino is many things but it doesn’t perform miracles.

The whole situation kept Evan going for ages. He kept chuckling to himself as we walked, especially when he came back and said he could still feel Riley huffing about it a few kms down the path.

While we were talking about it, Father John made a few jokes about how he doesn’t lose his child and even said that they have a plan in place if this scenario arises. Remember this moment!

As we had missed eating at the first village, I said to Riley I was going to stop and asked if he was going to. The response I got back was, he had walked an extra 2kms looking for me so yes, he was stopping!

The two Johns joined us and Sara and Evan moved on. After a quick break, we all left and started another climb up.

At the top, I stopped to take photos of the amazing views…. and this is where my day changed again.

Both boys waited while I took the photos and took in the incredible views. Father John had moved ahead. We cut across the grass to take a shortcut and I couldn’t see Father John anywhere.

We went through the next village with no sign of his dad so we continued on walking to the next village.

I was concerned that we hadn’t seen his dad and was worried he was waiting back somewhere, so when we arrived at Casa Molar, I said we’d stop and have some food and got son John to message his dad once he got WiFi, saying where he was and that he was with us, hoping his dad would do the same.

At the same time, I messaged Sara and Evan to see if they had seen Father John as they were ahead. I wish I’d been there to see Sara and Evan’s faces hearing the news that Father John had indeed lost his child!

I asked John how long he had been separated from his dad before on the Camino and he replied never. Never?! My anxiety increased further. I asked if he knew the final destination. Nope. I asked him what their plan was for this situation and he said they didn’t have one! ūüėź

By this point, I’d had both boys with me for over two hours with no sign of his dad. A gorgeous dog kept them amused for a while while I waited to see if his dad would arrive.

We were getting cold, so I said we’d move on and just keep checking each village. I don’t think I’d moved this fast in days, even with some interesting terrain.

We checked a few more villages before finally finding his dad sitting in some random location waiting for John. (Nowhere near a cafe with WiFi).

They walked a little bit further until they found some accommodation in the next village, so we left them to it, me with much relief. I had temporarily lost a child and gained another.

Just after Portos, we were walking past a cafe when Sara came out! She laughed again about the situation I’d been in, especially given how much the father had made jokes about not losing his child. They thanked me for providing today’s entertainment.

We walked together a short way before arriving at our accommodation and had to say goodbye to Sara and Evan. They will now be a day ahead, so we will no longer cross paths with them until we meet in Santiago.

On first arriving at Rectoral de Lestedo, I just needed a drink. We were supposed to be arriving by 1pm at the latest. We finally walked in at 2:30pm.

I found a gorgeous corner room filled with light and cosy warmth, with views out over the fields and resident horses. It was quiet and peaceful and exactly what I needed to shake off the day. Along with a glass of vino tinto.

In our room, when I walked into the bathroom, I completely freaked when I saw the bath. It was a pool I could swim in! I was so excited to fill it up, until I discovered there was no plug! I went downstairs to ask if they had one, and after the initial miscommunication of thinking I meant electrical plug, I found out, no bath plug.

What kind of Spanish torture is it to offer a swimming pool bath in private accommodation and not include the plug to use the damn bath?!

Grumbling, I had a shower before dinner. At 18‚ā¨, it has been the most expensive meal on the entire Camino and nothing to write home about, so I am feeling a bit put out.

Looking forward to Melide’s specialty tomorrow…

6 thoughts on “When You Can Laugh Afterwards

  1. Dearest Karen,
    What an amazing journey, & so near the end. I can imagine you have experienced every possible emotion on your spiritual walk for Bree. It’s an incredible achievement. Hope you can enjoy the last part of your trek.
    You are missed very much back here
    Warmest love
    Sue ūüíē

    1. Hello Sue!
      Yes, it has been a journey filled with everything imaginable and I have loved every bit of it. So close to the end now and I know I don’t want it to end.
      It has been lovely having so much love and support sent my way from home.
      Big hugs xx

  2. Maureen came with me today TCF AGM. A very close one but our vote won with the help of John Stebbins and my little input. More later about today. Sandra and John looking forward to seeing you in the UK. Like all of us reading your story Sandra looks forward to the daily blog. We laugh and cry but your writing is wonderful and we feel like we are with you. Mother and son, Father and son doesnt matter where you are in the world we are always the parent !!! Im sure you know what Im saying.Hope you sleep better tonight , maybe and extra gin and tonic may do the trick. Goodnight Sweet Dreams of Bree love and big hugs to you both xxx Pat

  3. Hi Karen,
    I am vicariously enjoying your adventure. You are providing me many laughs and helps me remember my Camino in 2016.
    Remember the bath tub plug I was going to give you? Would have come in handy for that lovely bath!! XXOO

    1. I had totally forgotten about your plug!!
      I just couldn’t comprehend how they would think you’re paying so much money that you would be expecting to carry plugs too!
      Glad you’re still enjoying it. We are drowned rats this morning, so hoping it clears soon. xx

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