Our plans for today shifted while we were walking to Silleda. The weather was perfect, we felt rested and so the question rose, shall we forget about Silleda and just carry on to Ponte Ulla? A quick back of the napkin calculation confirmed that if we could leave Bandeira by 12:00 we could reach Ponte Ulla by 3:00 and still make lunch before everything closes around 4:00 pm.
We had been walking for two hours when we found a bar that was open just outside of Silleda. We dropped in for a quick coffee and caught a taxi from there to Bandeira. That put us back on the camino, ready to walk, at 11:30. So it was that we found ourselves, now in shirtsleeves, bound for Ponte Ulla, 13 kms ahead, hoping to make lunch at the Restaurante Villa Verde, a restaurant with a great reputation, and us with growing appetites.
We had walked this stage before in December, 2015, when we were finishing the Via de la Plata, and remembered it as particularly nice. Full disclosure, in 2015, Robin had some serious pain in her right heel due to a bone spur. So her rememberances of this stage were colored by that. But today all was bliss. Our bodies were mostly pain free, the weather was clear and quite warm (65-70F), and a great restaurant awaited us. All we had to do was get there. Up and down we went until we found ourselves crossing the bridge at Ponte Ulla at 2:20, and ordering a cold beer at the Restaurante Villa Verde at 2:30.
It was a perfect day by any measure. An additional plus was that we were now going to arrive in Santiago one day earlier. A quick call ahead assured us that a room was available for an extra night at the Parador. So no worries. We will get on the track in the morning and God willing we will arrive in Santiago by early afternoon. This has been a challenging camino in many regards, but it has also been a blessing. We have much to process in the day’s and weeks and perhaps even months ahead. So for now we will just focus on one more day’s walk and then we will see how this remarkable journey settles out. Peace to all from a very warm room near Ponte Ulla.