Ok – it was Day 43 – I was a bit over the whole Galician rain thing and this little crap pilgrim decided to take a taxi.
(Generally, pilgrims don’t like taking taxis – I didn’t – but sometimes needs must so don’t thrash yourself for it.)
(I would later pay for being honest about that when I met up again with Patrick about to train back to Madrid – his face changed when I told him and he sort of ran away from me in the dining room – so as not to catch taxi-germs? Very odd.)
I woke up in Basilia’s establishment to the sound of pouring rain pounding the cement outside and I just had HAD ENOUGH of hiking up highways in the wet and dangerous circumstances. Yes, another bunch of pilgrims would have strode out courageously and just got on with it – but not this little crapola.
I got Madame or her son to arrange a taxi to Laza. It was the 16th of October. There was a pansiyon there recommended in my photocopied notes. The car sped me away from La Gripa and onto my next adventure/etap.
He dropped me at the hostal and I had to scout around trying to find the owner. One thing that did scare me was that a lot of times, on the casa doors, you will find the phone number and you have to call that person on the phone. With my lack of Spanish and my bad temper (I’m affected by weather conditions – if it’s gloomy then my happiness quotient can be messed with, if I’m alone as I was in Spain) I loathed that whole phone call stammering thing.
The lady of the hostal was found and she said the place was fully booked for the night. I was stuck! Royally!
It was then I threw ethics to the wind and thought “Eff it! I’ll just go straight to Ourense!!! No more fandangling about in the pueblos.”
Ourense is the last major city before Santiago. It’s 100 kilometres away from Santiago and if you have only a short time, it’s officially the shortest Camino you can do and still get your certificate of completion. With your passport stamped along the way. (On the Via de la Plata/Granada walks).
This is good to remember – it might be a good way to break yourself into walking – 100 ks is a 5 day walk and is recognised by the Camino office in Santiago. No need to do the full 1000 ks. You can start anywhere BEFORE Ourense, anywhere. (But not after Ourense.)
Eventually the next taxi came, picked me up, and I can remember how wonderful it felt to be driving through the rain instead of walking through the driving rain! 😀
The distance I taxied from Padornelo to Ourense is 148 kilometres. So that gets deducted from the overall distance of 970 kilometres, in addition to the other bits and pieces I’ve admitted to along the way. I reckon I taxied about 200 ks which is still a pretty good walking distance of around 800 ks overall. But be warned, your honesty about taxis will be met with poorly-veiled scorn by some righteous pilgrims. I know from experience.
For me, it wasn’t a competition – it was a once-in-a-lifetime bucket list event! If ever I get to walk the Camino again, I think I would fly to Madrid and start walking west to include the stretch from Padornelo to Ourense.
Anyway, once ensconced in a classy hotel in Ourense I went on walkabout as a tourist and got welcomed into a private jazz club for their private jazz concert that evening. But more on lovely Ourense next time! Suffice to say, Ourense was a gift.