I left Palas del REI about 6 this morning. Now, it is dark until almost 7:30, and since I have a re ord of getting confused in the dark, I was especially cautious. But, all went well, and soon I was confidently moving up the trail, away from the city. The challenge in this is that there are MANY ups and downs, and often the trail is very rocky. I suppose I was "gingerly picking" my way ( but feeling the pressure to get the 20 miles in. In the dark there is little awareness of what I am walking through. This morning I thought about being fraud of the "bogey man" in such a dark and strange place. There were lots of large trees around me, and occasionally I could smell cows on the other side of the stone wall (actually cow "smells" are characteristic of El Camino). Fortunately. I am not freaked out by walking in a deep, dark woods without a clue of who or what might be lurking to grab me! Soon the light came and then a series of small villages. The "gently rooting hills" of Galicia turned into a series of long and steep up sand downs, and I found myself annoyed that I had not anticipate this. The day will soon be here when walking on sharpe stones is OVER!
Several people have asked me about the food on the Camino. I donor have an adventuresome palate, so I may not have much to offer. I usually eat a banana and some sort of bread for breakfast, and most days I have a left over from dinner sandwich for lunch, along with a handful of nuts. Most dinners are what is called the Pilgrims Menu. It costs about 9 Euros and has three courses. El Primero might be soup, or salad, and usually has spaghetti (good for carb loading). The serving of spaghetti would feed at least two people. It is tasty and all,Amy's some of my fear about carb energy. El Segundo might be ham or pork or eggs, and, rarely chicken. However, often the slices of this meat Re VERY thin! Spanish people in this area really like fried eggs! There are fried eggs served on top of French fries, and I even saw pizza with two fried eggs as the topping. French fries are served at most every meal. And one day I actually ended up with a potato sandwich!
Pulpa is very popular...a choice one night was piulpa cooked in its own ink! I actually tried some as a tapas - much too fishy for me!! Sometimes what is called ham looks more like fat back, and I've actually seen humans gobble this down! Some days I just stick with cheese.
All that said, the service is typically great, and the servers are patient and want you to take your time. Most real restaurants do not open until 7:30 or 8, and that is definitely too late for this old man! There is always plenty to eat even if the options might be different. My friend, Eric found a place in Burgos that he Re mom ended, and I actually got three of my buddies to go there. But, when they saw that the meal might cost 25 € they passed. Pieregrinos do not go for fancy I guess. I think that was the night I got pasta with fried eggs on top. Yummy!
Ok, enough of this. As the end nears I think a lot about how to describe this experience. I have not come up with much, but I will try to sort a few things out. It has been amazing and VERY challenging at the same time. More on that later...maybe.