The morning greets me in an empty hall … with a glow from emergency lights at exit signs and some street lights. I packed and started off at 4:45, remembering to leave the key for senhor Victor in a matchbox near the door.
First encounter today is a stray dog heading the other way . . . in the headlamp reflection his eyes have a strange green light . . sort of like an extra in a horror movie.
The Way continues through the fields and pitch darkness. Fortunately there are no mosquitoes around. In a sleeping town ahead, a dog choir bids me good morning . . . at least that’s how I’ve chosen to interpret it . . . with an occasional rooster pitching in.
The town is followed by a low hill. On top of the hill there are some strange looking silos that remind me of anti-aircraft artillery.
Further down the road two dogs appear in the middle of the road, heavily agitated … barking like mad. At first I thought they are having a disagreement, then I figured out they had a common target . . . namely me. After a short exchange of positions … following the Teddy Roosevelt school of diplomacy… we reached an agreement on a mutual non-aggression treaty. The smaller one wanted to add a later amendment but I had to turn him down.
Next up, a small sleeping village. I appear to have an extra boost to my step . . fascinating what a bit of a adrenaline can do.
The sleeping village leads to another hill, followed by a small town. A stone bench next to the fountain is calling me and I quickly heed its call. I am not sure if the water is drinkable but I am reassured when I saw a local drinking.
I took a slight wrong turn in the town and had to detour to the left until I reached the arrows again. The Way leads uphill again but its not too steep. The path winds through the olive groves and stone walls that remind me of the Dalmatia.
Below, in a slight valley, lies a town party stretching over gentle hills. Ah that must be Minde where I park for the day . . . alas it isn’t. The way continues up the hill that looks much less gentle up close. In fact it is quite steep. But there is road on top… that’s got to mean the Way continues around the hill . . . alas it doesn’t. It continues further uphill . . . an even steeper climb. Okaaay . . this is getting to be such fun . . . so much so I have to reintroduce my three-step style. One, two, three . . . five minutes to catch my breath . . . repeat. A leftover banana provides a bit of an energy boost allowing me to reach the top of this veritable Mt Everest.
There is a road on the top leading to the right with a town below. Wait, wait a bit . . . my navigation app says it is 700 m more to Minde, so that can’t be Minde … alas it is. But, but, but. .. its at least a few km to the town … that’s right.
Anyway, it turns out the navigation uses “as the crow flies” principle . . . and since I can’t fly . . . I have to follow the road downhill. After a bit arrows point to a shortcut straight down.
According to the map the albergue should be next to the church. I reach the church but no albergue there. I manage to get directions from a couple of kids to a firefighter’s place… with big red cars.
I managed to find my way to the firefighters who offer a large hall with nice soft mattresses for the pilgrims. Finally.
The entire town is hiding in the shade because the sun is blazing like a furnace. I asked around until I found the bar which offers a meal, where I encounter the owner and his wife having lunch. They interrupt their lunch to make one for me. I simply lack the words to express a compliment powerful enough … what a remarkable hospitality. And on top of that, the bill was 6.50 euros for a beefsteak with eggs, large portion of french fries, large portion of mixed salad and two beers.
After lunch I returned to the firefighters and closed my eyes for a short 10 minute nap. After waking up 4 hours later … I improvised a light dinner and returned back to sleep.
That was day no. 6.