The final countdown

Day 32: Lourenzá ➡️ Vilalba. DM: 26.8 mi. Elevation gain: 4232 ft 

Sol may be gone, but the Camino is keeping her spirit alive. 

I walked into town for dinner with my bunk mate, a young German gal who aspires to save the world by working for big multilaterals like the UN. You know, cuz, that’s where the real impact happens. 

In walked a family that she recognized, which saved me from having to debate her on the point. 

The German gal gives me the quick highlights of their family history as she waves them over:

The parents are from Argentina 

They have three kids 

Who mostly grew up in the States

I could almost hear Sol — Ma friend, we’ve got some fellow Argentines up in here!  

We get to talking and the son tells me he was just accepted to Princeton in Africa. He spent some time in Tanzania and now wants to work in the region long term.

I almost ask him if he was sent to a tennis academy in France at age 11. 

I offer him my number. I see the Mom raise an eyebrow. 

What — you think I’m trying to cougar? No no no, strictly for networking purposes — no te preocupes.

When the family leaves, the German girl also asks for my number. I tell her I have 0 contacts at the UN.

I may have scored a new Argentine friend but I am definitely missing my OG one. Today’s marathon felt extra long without DJ Sol there to play some groovy 80s tunes.

I left later than normal, and, had to summit frickin Mt Everest over miles 7-11, so by the time I got to the Albergue it was 5pm. Late! 

I was so tired and distracted after a catch up call with a friend that I put 0 thought into dinner logistics. I sat down at the first place I saw. The waiter reassured me that they did indeed serve food at 8pm. A restaurant open before 8:30 right next to my albergue? Too good to be true. 

I look at the menu and quickly realize it is actually too good to be true. Es muy cara. Since when did Vilalba become like the gastronomic hub of Spain? I look up, and, through the power of observation, notice that there is a Michelen star sign posted on the door. Muy bien, Carolina.

The waiter comes out and I don’t have the heart to tell him I need to go find a restaurant that serves a pilgrim’s menu — 2 courses, 1 dessert, 1 drink all for the price of 12 euros.

I’m not looking for a small, expensive entree with delicate flowers and other inedible garnish on the side. Does he know I summitted Mt. Everest today?! Necesito mucho comida. Mucho. 

I do a mental inventory of the food items I have in my pack at the albergue. Thank god for my emergency stash of snickers and clif bars. I buckle myself in for a treat yoself dinner and order the cheapest appetizer. And dessert.

Not gunna lie — it was fully worth it. After subsisting off a diet consisting mostly of Spanish tortillas (eggs and potatoes), bread, clif bars, nuts, and French fries for weeks — Vilalba’s finest tomatoes tasted #fresh. The whiskey cake was also dope.

Day 33: Vilalba ➡️ Parga Natural. DM: 17 mi. 

Idk who sponsors / runs the Camino. But whoever does has a sense of humor. Starting at the 200km mark they’ve posted cement blocks indicating the kms left — to the nearest thousandth — every 400m. Yes, that’s 3 decimal places. 

Walking by them is like watching paint dry. Oh wow, look at that! I’m .003 km closer to Santiago! And here again! Ballin’!!

I did, though, stop today for lunch at a place called the KM101 cafe. Because, obviously, #supportlocalbusinesses.

I’m starting to meet people who are just doing the 100km — so they can get the credential at Santiago that they definitely deserve after the huge distance they’ve covered. Don’t get me started on the people who electric bike this thing.

Today, emotional and exhausted, I tried to take a mid afternoon nap. I’m staying in an albergue that has several rooms. It creates a more private experience. Or at least that’s probably what the couple I’m sharing a room with thought — until I opened the door and saw them in a PG13-looking embrace on the top bunk.

All good — I’ve never been good at taking naps anyways.

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