The following morning, at sun rise, we set off for Os Valos and we are met with some stunning views!
The weather begins to brighten up and we notice there are a lot more pilgrims now. Some of whom have only just started their journeys, some without backpacks, and there is one pilgrim being pushed in a wheel chair by a group of people from south America. We see quite a few familiar faces, and bottoms, as the rear view is sometimes all that you get.
On this stretch, one girl stands out from the rest. I noticed her when we were all struggling up the steps to Sarria, and then when we were struggling up the steps to Portomarin (there is a theme here!!!) because she was wearing unusual tie-dye leggings and now I seem to keep spotting those leggings!
The heat increases and we are well ahead of Nick and Caroline when I notice ‘Tie-dye girl’ sitting at the side of the path on her mobile phone. She looks upset and I assume she is having an argument with her boyfriend. Robin is striding ahead of me at this point. He is trying to make up time on a flatter pathway, as he knows he will struggle later with the downward hills. Conscious of keeping up with him, I decide not to approach her and continue on my way. I console myself with the thought that if it were me, the last thing I would want is someone prying into my private life.
By the time we reach our next albergue, I have forgotten all about ‘Tie-dye girl’.
Nick and Caroline arrive a little later and tell us why they have been delayed. Apparently, they noticed the young girl too. She appeared inconsolable, so they stopped to see if they could help her. Caroline was of the opinion that if it was her daughter, she would like to think someone would do the same for her. So to cut a long story short, the girl was from Sweden and was talking to her brother. She suffered from depression and anxiety, and had been upset all day after finding a bed bug in her bed and after squashing it, found it was full of blood. This had literally knocked her sideways. She was travelling alone and had nowhere booked for that night, so Nick told her where we were staying and offered to meet her there to sort things out. Thankfully she did did turn up, had something to eat and sorted out the rest of her journey. I am sure that without Nick and Caroline’s intervention it could well have been a different story.
“Blessed are you pilgrim, if you discover that one step back to help another is more valuable than a hundred forward”
I can’t help thinking how brave she was. I could never have attempted this journey alone at my age, let alone at hers!