Clemency was in considerable discomfort, but I was not far behind her. I had shin splints developing and was feeling a little ill, I guess from something I had eaten the day before. I left her sitting on the fence and hobbled slowly on.. It took me another couple of hours to reach the provincial service centre of Melide and find the hotel recommended to Clemency by the taxi driver. It was a nice neat clean little place but our room was on the third floor, and what with this being rural Spain and all, there were no lifts. I went to bed with a fever and some displays of fairly primal vomiting and slept for about 13 hours. Clemency spent a fitful night, unable to lie in one position for long, whiling away the night by watching Spanish cable TV. We woke fairly haggard, and considered the possibility of calling the whole thing off. We decided instead to go on, at least in the meantime. Clemency would take the packs on to Arzua, and I would walk for both of us. Then we would reconsider. We always have a prayer time to start the day, but today's was short and to the point. "Bugger it Lord, how about a slightly more encouraging day today?"
I left Clemency in a cafe and walked into the dark with a painful shin but with the fire in my gut almost gone. I found myself walking at almost my normal pace and the pain in my shin died down a bit . I fell in with a man about my own age, Stefan, an architect from Belgium and had a very pleasant few km of conversation. By the time the sun rose, I was walking on soft tracks through pleasant farmland. I stopped at a rural bar for orange juice and arrived here in Arzua about midday. The markers which count down the half kilometres to Santiago passed by with pleasing rapidity.
A morning's wait in Arzua parish churchWe found an albergue near the church. It is housed in an ancient stone building but has obviously been recently refurbished. It is clean and bright and spacious and it is good to be amongst pilgrims again. We put our clothes through the regulation Galician government washing machine (4 euros for half an hour) and pegged out our now fragrant gear in a little sun trap courtyard. And in two days we will be in Santiago, God willing. And Oh how I have freshly learned the import of those two words.