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Saturday, May 19, 2007 

Day 26: "I have a date with an octopus."

Believe it or not I said this to a older German man as I passed him today. [ I later found out his name was Heinz.] He must have enjoyed it as he guffawed once he deciphered my words & probably thought I was crazy as I sped my way past him at Mariette-speed to Melide.

I was originally was only going to walk 25km today & stop at Palais de Rei. I got there fairly early (like 11:30am) had a coffee & thought: "I want to get to Melide! I want pulpo!"

So once again, I ended up doing another 40km.

Tell me *that's* not worth it??

If I push I will be in Santiago in two days. However, if I take it easy, I can still arrive in the morning at Santiago on the 23rd, meaning I can have two and a bit days in Santiago, the rest of the 23rd, one night in Finisterre, the 24th, the 25th & leave for London the 26th.

I'm hoping to slow down. I don't want to walk anymore, but the little 15-19kms a day will be easier, I think.

In any case the 40km to Melide was worth it: The octopus was FANTASTIC. Went to what seems to be the most popular place, the 'Pulperia Ezequiel', where you sit on long wooden benches to eat a heaping plate of octopus, sprinkled with spanish paprika & drizzled in olive oil, & drinking cloudy Ribeiro wine out of a ceramic cup! It is SO fresh...

I was the first one in the door [ at the Pulpería] just before 7pm. But by the time I left, about 8pm, the place was jammed with pilgrms, tourists & Spaniards for Saturday night. I especially loved hearing the owner snip snip snipping away all the octopus as more people started to swarm in.

Then on the way back to the hostal, (I splurged again, because I wanted to relax after the 40km), who did I see but John & Gen, the Aussies from way back in Viana!

On the camino, its easy to meet people everyday & quite often you run into the same crowd along the way. But being so transient, and sometimes one goes further, etc., one can feel quite lonely and a bit tired of the meet & greets.

So when you run into someone from long ago, its like running in the great old friends. And sometimes you may not have even shared more than a few words with them, but the recognition alone is there...

Just the other night, at Ohhhh Cebreiro, I finally had introductions with a German woman who had sprayed antisceptic on my deep knee wound way back in Redecilla. I was walking up that steep climb earlier that day, and suddenly her & her friend were next to me and we erupted into this scream of joy! This seems to happen a lot, at least for me, this recognition & some comfort in a familiar face. And that night at the top overlooking the incredible view, Brigette (this German woman) and I hugged, and introduced ourselves for the first time!

Had a glass of wine with John & Gen as they finished their supper, and gave them M's and my cell numbers so that hopefully we can all meet up in Santiago for dinner next week.

Only 50kms left, people... 50kms to go!

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