Saturday, September 22 – Breakfast at the Hotel Arco’s café, run by Manuel’s daughter. She too tells me about her mother (Manuel’s wife) walking from Sarria to Santiago in three days. 100 km in three days. I ask, “WHY?” and she says, “It was a promise, a sacrifice. All the pain was part of her deal.”
I ask again, “Why?”. She says her baby was born at 25 weeks and her mother promised God . . . ah . . . she puts up her hands. I ask how old the baby is now. She says, “Three years old.” So I guess it worked, if you believe such things. Whatever gets you through the night.
After breakfast, we pack up and go to the bus stop. Our plan for skipping 36 km from Sebaris to Redondela. I will go 10-12 km per day and no more unless I feel like it. I alternate between being ashamed of myself and being disgusted with being ashamed. This will be my habit, all the way to Santiago. But that’s another matter. For now, Redondela by bus, as per Ria, who has done this Camino before,
All the way to Vigo bus terminal, and we discover that the next bus to Redondela is FIVE hours from now. This time it’s Ria who nods toward the taxi stand and raises an eyebrow. On we go. 20 Euro.
Our reservation in Redondela is at Casa d’Abreu. My contact is Rosa, and when I spoke with her on the phone, her English was pretty fair. I asked the price per person of a private room with bath. 18 Euro each. No problem. When we arrive at her Casa, she says 20 Euro and I balk. She mutters something about another reservation she wasn’t aware of, and I insist on her quoted price. She then mutters again, about her English being “not so good”, but it was plenty sufficient on the phone. So she tells us we must take a third floor room. And she takes forever to check us in. Probably 30 minutes, rather than 5 minutes. We trudge up the stairs. Ria thinks I might have been too sharp with Rosa. But she soon changes her mind.
What we find is that we have a bunk and a “flat bed” in our “room”, but no privacy at all, no window at all, and one bathroom on the second floor for about 12 people. Where our window might have been is an opening to another room for three people, and out theirdoor is a balcony where everyone can hang their laundry. But one must go through that room in order to hang clothes, thus disturbing the three people sleeping or relaxing there.
Fortunately, those women are happy to keep their door, our “window to their room, and their balcony doors open so we can have fresh air all night. But since I drink so much water on these Caminos, my four or five visits to the bathroom during the night are treacherous, down narrow, steep and creaky stairs, hoping no one else will be occupying that one tiny room at the moment.
I check out the place on Trip Advisor (too late, of course), and find many people with the same type of complaints . . . overcharged, falsely represented accommodations, and in some instances, suggesting that Rosa doesn’t actually record everyone’s passports, perhaps so she can rent more spaces than she is authorized to do. I see two girls in one closet, with two foam mattress pads crowded next to one another on the floor. BLEAH!
After another uninspiring Menu del Dia down the street, we return to our “room” to sleep, ready to get out of Dodge early the next day. We forego a shower, not wanting to fend off the other inhabitants. So we are not sad to leave this habitacion.
And there are no photos today. Not of the bus, the taxi, Rosa, or our blah dinner. Mañana.
But I will end with a fresh image just for relief.