Day 36 – Palas de Reí to Melide
19.1 km ~ 26,989 steps
Song of the Day: Come Down – Noah Kahan
As I’m trying to figure out a new good time to leave in the morning to avoid as much of the crowds as I can, today I tried a late start (which in the past I had tried to avoid as much as I could because of the intense heat but luckily in Galicia it’s not a problem) Surprisingly enough, it seems most people are leaving early because we had some nice long stretches with no people in sight 😱 When we did come across people, I had some great conversations with them mostly talking about Maverick as so many people like to do, and we enjoyed a few games of fetch with some younger boys from Madrid as well as two older ladies. Knowing we were just doing a short day, we took our time at any stream we came across so Maverick could splash and play and enjoyed a rest at different cafes. Crossing the bridge into Melide, I saw a nice place to go down to the river that I knew Maverick would love, so we detoured through the old cobbled streets and between the stone houses that have been there for hundreds of years to a beautiful little spot where we must have spent at least an hour. As I sat soaking my feet in the cool waters with the warm sun bathing my skin while Maverick bounced in and out of the river, showering me with cold drops as he chased a pair of dragonflies, I thought of how blessed I am to have him with me on this journey. I think I’ve been spending so much time thinking of how hard it is with him (because my gosh, it’s dang hard) that I’m not really savoring how much extra he’s bringing me on this journey. If I didn’t have Maverick with me, I never would have wound my way through these old streets to find this beautiful spot. I wouldn’t have envisioned what this same spot would have looked like in the Middle Ages with the village people coming down the the river here to do their wash. I wouldn’t have felt like I had stepped through history. If I didn’t have him, I wouldn’t step off the Camino like I do. I wouldn’t wander the streets and run into the older local townspeople that I do as they sit on their stoops or chatter with neighbors. I would have missed out on the majority of my conversations, because it’s these older locals that I talk to the most. They crack jokes, and pat Maverick, and ask about him, and tell me what a great protector I have with me for this journey. When I travel, I prefer to immerse myself in the culture as much as I can to get a feel for what life is truly like there rather than just be a tourist. If I didn’t have Maverick with me, I would have still just been skimming along the surface on the Camino. With him, I have no choice but to dive in deep and I am so grateful for that.