Date: 21 April 2018
Walked from: Ponte de Lima
Walked to: Rubiães
Distance: 20 km
A short day, and one that was over, walking wise, by lunchtime. The hike involved one steep-ish climb up a ridge from the valley of the Labruja river and quite a lot of walking among pine-scented woods. The rest of the day consisted of me watching the relatively small municipal hostel I had chosen as my home for the night continue to fill up with people.
You wouldn’t think one tiny place – a hamlet really – could house so many tourists for the night, but ours was just one (admittedly the cheapest at €5, and so no doubt the most popular) of about five accommodation options available to Camino walkers in the immediate area. There were 38 beds in the dorm room, and by early evening, once they had laid out an extra seven mattresses in the common areas, the place was rammed – and not in a good way. The lady running the place started turning people away. I knew there have been a lot more people on the trail since Porto, but I hadn’t realised there were quite this many, relatively early in the season. I miss the quietness of the first half of the walk.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that all these so called ‘pilgrims’ on this walk are wholesome, religious types (or at least wholesome or religious). It’s fair to say that I’m neither, although I like to think I’m almost always nice and try very hard to be considerate… unless provoked. By and large, the vast majority of people you meet on the Camino (hell, in life) are alright. Which was why it seemed odd to have two guys in the hostel (I guess in their early 20s) having a very loud conversation in which they kept saying they had been ‘raped’ in a jokey way. I have no idea where the fashion came from that it’s ok to use the word rape out of context, but unless it’s grown in a field and produces oilseed, or you happen to be taking about the wanton destruction of a place or area, I see no justification for using the word. Nor should it be bandied about in such a casual way; in a room full of 38 people, some of those forced to overhear their ‘jokey’ conversation would undoubtedly have been a victim themselves. So of course, because I always have to be the one to say something, I said something. They didn’t like it and spent the rest of the evening glaring at me but if it makes them think twice about using such a serious word so casually in future, it was worth it. Anyway, rant over; suffice to say, ‘pilgrims’ can be arses too people; think it’s a hotel for me tomorrow!