Thursday, May 2, 2024

Camino Primitivo Day 14: Melide to Taberna Vela


This was our first day after the Camino Primitivo merged into the Camino Frances.  Because the Camino Frances averaged 223,000+ pilgrims in 2022 and 2023, while the Camino Primitivo averaged less than a tenth that number - 21,000 pilgrims per year - we expected to see many more fellow pilgrims starting this day.

Our hostel was on the north end of Melide, directly on the Primitivo and several blocks away from most other hostels, located directly on the Frances.  And we had a private room, so we did not see any other pilgrims in our hostel.  Our first task was to walk to the point where the two caminos merge, shown in the photo below.

After that, we were on the Camino Frances, and as we left town, we saw more pilgrims on the route than we had seen the entire day previous.

But the route never seemed crowded, and we had many more opportunities to stop and eat than I had experienced on the Primitivo.  Good thing, because we stopped for breakfast after about an hour.

Towns along the way were in really nice condition, and it appeared that much of the local economy involved hosting the pilgrim populations that flow through.  Because everyone obtaining a certificate of completion had to walk (or bike) the final 100 kilometers into Santiago, this means that least 240,000 pilgrims passed through these towns in 2023!  A nicely maintained town has to be more appealing than a run down one to folks walking through.

At the day's 9 mile mark, we reached the town of Arzua, where many of the pilgrims who had stayed in Melide would stop for the night.  We had a beer and lunch here, but I had made reservations further up the route at a small rural albergue.  In Arzua, the Camino Norte merges in, which adds another 20,000 pilgrims a year to the route we would take.  We spent a lot of time in Arzua wandering around, because we were in no hurry to reach the rural hostel.  We hung out for a while in a bar nursing beers and watching 80's American pop music on an old MTV tape - old American pop is curiously popular in Spanish bars and restaurants.

That night, we stayed in a small crossroads called Taberna Vella, about 3 miles past Arzua.  Heidi, the owner, told us that we were the only people in the hostel that night, even though it had been full the night before.  We had reserved a small private room, so the empty hostel was a blessing - we got moved into the regular accommodations, where there were only 6 beds.  The private room looked pretty dreary, to be honest!

Heidi makes dinner - a turkey curry stew.  It was great!  The only downside was the fact that it was raining outside and the Wifi did not extend to the room.  I had to stand outside under an overhang to call home.

Day 14 Camino stats: 
Date: Tuesday, April 2, 2024
Distance: 13.2 miles (3.4 miles shorter than the previous day) 
Time: 7 hours, 01 minute
Start time: 8:32 AM
End time: 3:33 PM
Total daily steps: 33,803 steps 

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