Wednesday, October 16, 2013 Waking up in a non-bunk bed is refreshing, and having only one roommate is rare in an albergue. But here we are . . . Ria and I, in our hippy haven at the end of the earth. I head downstairs to take our laundry off the racks, since the dryer didn’t quite do the job last night, and when I return we each pack up our backpacks, hoping for the possibility of walking from here to Muxia.
But looking outside at the dreary pouring weather, we don’t have much hope of that. Our alternative is to meet Barbara at the bar across from the bus stop, eat breakfast, share a cab to Muxia, 28 km from here, and then ride the bus from Muxia back to Santiago de Compostela. And given our bus nausea yesterday, we must find an open farmacia in the mix. Annie, our British host here at Albergue Sol y Luz, gives us directions to two establishments just a block or two from our breakfast place, so we pack up, give hugs and waves to the volunteers, and head out.
The air is thick, with low clouds and not great promise of a better day. Settling into a table with Ria and Barbara, we order carefully. Eggs, croissants, tea. No juice, no cafe con leche. If we have to take a bus later today, I want no repeats of yesterday’s motion sickness. And while we wait, I leave to find the farmacia and some dramamine. Success . . . finally a farmacia whose posted “open hours” sign tell the truth. I ask for the ibuprofen I’ve needed for the last two weeks, and finally have a supply of super pills. What we get in the States is a 200 mg pill. Here . . .long white tabs of 600 mg. Hope I don’t need them at this point, but we’ve got them. Ria and I split the pack of nausea remedy, take one dose each, and slowly eat our food.
The owner of the bar calls to the driver of a sleek unmarked car parked just outside. Apparently this driver is a taxi for hire, though you wouldn’t know it if you didn’t know the bar owner. I settle myself in the front, Ria and Barbara in back, and I pretend I can see more than the cloud-encased buildings ahead of me as we head north to Muxia. For those of you who have seen The Way, Muxia is the gorgeous coastal spot where Martin Sheen’s character scattered his son’s ashes at the end of the Camino walk. We only got a glimpse of it in the film, and I find myself regretting that we will head to this potentially stunning spot in this weather.
However, halfway to our destination, the clouds give a hint of a reprieve, and as we approach Muxia, we can actually see blue in patches among the mass of grey. Very quickly, the sky is ablaze in sunlit blue, and the effect of sky on water is breathtaking. We have almost four hours to explore before the bus leaves for Santiago. Off we go down the path next to the ocean . . . three Muxia-muskateers.
The big destination here is at the end of this long coastal path, but first, a bit of cafe con leche across the street, and as we walk toward the bar, there are two familiar faces . . . Kevin (backward baseball cap), whom I first met in Foncebadon where I met Ria, and Larraine, my Cacabelos pod-mate from about 10 days ago. They and another woman had walked from Santiago TO Muxia and are headed to Finisterre today. It always surprises me when I run into two people, each of whom were from separate parts of either my life, or in this case, my walk. But there they were . . . so both Ria and I checked Kevin off our list of people we wish we had seen just one more time. And talking with Larraine gave me a chance to learn that she and Kevin MET in the pods of Cacabelos . . . well, not IN the pods, but at the municipal Albergue there. There are those strings of connection again.
After our drinks, we are refreshed and head toward the rocks at the end of the walkway. The legend of the Nova Señora de Barca, or Our Lady of the Boat, takes place here, and the Sanctuary of the Virgin Mary of the Boat represents the Virgin Mary’s voyage in a stone boat to help St. James the Apostle in his ministry. According to the legend, the boat is petrified in the stones on the headland. Boat or no boat, the headland and surrounding coastline is stark and stunning. A contemporary stone sculpture adds to the magic. And the bell tower of the Santuario is beautiful in its simplicity.
The three of us split up and explore in directions that move us, wandering along the rocky water’s edge, climbing to a higher rock hill to see the town to our left, making the circular pathway around the hill and back to the Santuario. Eventually, we all end up where we started, in the middle of “town”, albeit from the sea-side of the village, rather than the front path. Everywhere I look is a sparkly, peaceful scene.
As we revisit our bar from earlier today and order lunch, we see Robert and Tim, the Canadian priests, relaxing at a table near us, and we smile, wave, and walk over to talk for a few minutes. Another connection reunited for a moment on the post-Camino path.
After our lunch, we have just enough time to walk the block’s distance to the bus stop. Armed with more dramamine, we sit on the bus, traveling down a winding road. The sunny weather stays in Muxia as we travel east, more rain clouds gathering above us on the journey. The bus stops at several little villages, picking up and dropping off its passengers, until we arrive back in Santiago de Compostela, our post-Camino exploration nearly complete.