Melide to Arzua
Fourth Day of Walking the Last 100 km to Santiago
Elevation: 301,54 meters up + 370.47 meters down
I woke up feeling so refreshed on this day! It must have been the swim in our albergue pool that did it!
We walked back up the street to have breakfast where we had eaten yummy ice cream the night before.
Everything was delicious. We had our usual fresh squeezed orange juice and cafe con leche, but also we had churros and pancakes and fresh tortilla de patatas.
We filled up for our relatively easy day of walking.
It was another beautiful day, and we walked up from breakfast to the town square in Melide where I read out loud a quote from one of my favorite Richard Rohr books (Falling Upward) to start the day:
Setting out is always a leap of faith,
a risk, in the deepest sense of the term,
and yet, an adventure too.
The familiar and the habitual are so falsely reassuring,
and most of us make our homes there permanently.
The new is always by definition, unfamiliar and untested,
so God, life, destiny, suffering,
have to give us a push, usually a big one,
or we will not go.
Someone has to make clear to us that homes are not meant to be lived in,
but only to be moved out from.
I congratulated this beautiful group of friends on getting out into the world to experience the unfamiliar.
On leaving home and comforts.
We were halfway through our walk, so some of the excitement could be wearing off.
And yet we still had a lot of unknowns in front of us to face.
Unknown foods and unfamiliar pillows.
New shower heads to figure out every day and more imminently,
many more miles to walk.
And so, onward.
We walked out of Melide and back into the forest.
Even with a few treated blisters and morning aches, folks were in good spirits.
We stopped in a church in our first village, and then carried on walking and talking down the trail.
Greeting the other pilgrims and the cows and cats and dogs.
We walked a mile or so with an extended family of hikers from the Midwest, listening to their stories of the Camino.
Two of them (sisters) had walked all the way from the beginning, and the rest had joined them for the last 100 kilometers.
On this day, my mom also decided to officially retire a pair of shoes that were bothering her. She had brought two pairs with her, so she could alternate. But this pair gave her a blister the day she wore them, so she thanked them for a lot of great miles and left them on a mile maker.
You often see shoes left on mile markers or even hanging on trees along the Camino.
We only had one or two hills on this day, so we played the Rocky Theme Song out loud on our phones to push to the top of them.
And then we stopped at a bar to celebrate once we crested all the hills. This bar had special coffees that included sweet layers and I believe we ordered up several of them among our group. Plus smoothies and sandwiches and cakes.
I felt like this day went by so quickly. It was another gorgeous day, with lots to see.
The day before I had been dragging a bit by the end of the day, but from Melide to Arzua, I felt like I could have walked twice as far.
I think it was partly just because of how beautiful the day was. The sun was out but it wasn’t hot. It was just one of those perfect days that you never want to end.
We reached the sweet village of Ribadiso in the early afternoon.
We took our time coming over the bridge and into the village.
We only had 2.5 km left to go, so we stopped in Ribadiso at the Milpes bar for beers and a soak in a foot fountain!
The views over the countryside from Milpes are so stunning. We stayed here and rested for a long time before getting up and heading on into town.
Mary Polly, who had gone on ahead, texted us from town and said that where we were staying was gorgeous, so everyone got excited to get to the hotel.
Since it was just over halfway through the week and we had a little more time (and energy) this afternoon, several of the gals wanted to do some laundry.
So into Arzua we went.
We walked through town and down some cute side streets before finding our hotel.
And truly, I think it is the nicest hotel on the whole Camino…
I had found it online and booked it as a treat for our halfway point, and it did not disappoint.
Everything about it was beautiful.
It is sort of 1930s Paris themed. We all went to see each other’s rooms and explored the terrace in the back and the dining room on the top floor.
We ended up being able to book both dinner and breakfast here, which was a huge treat.
Everyone loved not having to walk to and from dinner at the end of the day.
Plus! Another cold salt water pool! Only two of us jumped in on this day, but it was a gorgeous place to sit around all afternoon for those of us not doing laundry.
Some ladies went shopping and others just rested in their rooms.
Before dinner, we went to mass around the corner, which was a treat. All in Spanish, we only caught bits and pieces, but it was a beautiful service and we were sprinkled with a pilgrim’s blessing at the end.
At dinner, it seemed like everyone was less tired than usual. Maybe it was the gorgeous day or the shorter miles.
Or maybe everyone was just getting used to walking.
I do think your body starts to adjust and get into the rhythm of walking all day.
Of course everything we ate was gorgeous. It all came out in several courses, mostly served family style.
Except we all got our own little amuse-bouche and dessert plates at the beginning and the end.
Most of it we ate too quickly to even photograph. It was a fixed menu, so it was a fun dinner where every so often, another round of surprises came out of the kitchen.
Now it was only two more sleeps until Santiago!
Enjoy your beds, I told everyone, as they were for sure the nicest we would have.
Some folks save their nicest stay for the end in Santiago, but the hotels tend to be quite a bit more expensive there, plus there is so much to see in Santiago that I don’t want to be in my hotel very much. So it was fun to me to have such a lovely stay in Arzua.
The next morning we chatted some to the owner, who started building this hotel with his family six years ago, and then they opened 15 days before COVID shut everything down. Now that they have survived such a rough first year, I hope they will enjoy many years of welcoming pilgrims and travelers to their beautiful space.
PS. I am already planning to return to the Camino in 2022! So if reading about the Camino is making you wish you could hop the next flight, sign up here for updates about when and where I’m going next. Or feel free to shoot me a message via the contact form on my about page to let me know you are interested in walking the Camino.