MELIDE – RAS
Already in early morning, masses of pilgrims where pushing forward toward Santiago. I had to let go of the solitude of the past two weeks. But a different energy replaced the silence and peacefulness – it was the energy of many joyful, openhearted, happy people. The pilgrims came from all over the world. I was very surprised to see so many Asian people, especially Koreans. Five years ago, I met only one Asian, a Japanese pilgrim.
At an old, public washing place, I saw for the first time ever somebody using one. This woman had a lot of fun washing her cloth.
The typical forests in Galicia are Eucalyptus forests, a tree imported from Australia. Although they are not good for the environment, especially because they replaced the native trees, walking through an Eucalyptus forest when the mist is dissolving the contours of the trees is a very nice experience.
This day, I met Austrians for the first time – Verena and Andreas from Styria. It is their profession to document their treks with photos and films and talk about them at home.
On the Camino Frances, there are many restaurants, cafes, and bars. Since the last 5 years when I was there, many new, fancy places have popped up. They did not fit into the image of the Camino I carried in my mind.
Although the Camino provides a training place to wind down, to trust the Way and to trust that everything is perfect that is happening right now, many pilgrims are not able to step into this mindset. Now, their competitiveness is focused on getting into the best albergue and getting there early enough for a space. In the photo down below, already at noon a huge line of people is sitting in front of the albergue waiting to get a bed for the night.
Now, many people do not carry their heavy backpack, but only a day bag. They use a special service to transport their bag to the next albergue.
The whole day, I had to walk slowly. My right knee was revolting and hurting. I had to take a pain pill to be able to walk. Towards the evening, when I was limping through the woods, an even more limping old man came towards me. He was a returning pilgrim walking back to his home in Slowenia. He told me that he went on this pilgrimage for his friend, who was killed in the war. I gave him a donation, which he gladly accepted.