The main dining room had a spread that consisted of toast and jam and the rest was rather nondescript. There were no whole pieces of fruit to take with us, so we would have to make due with what we had. We finished eating, went back to the room and got our bags out and up to the main desk. It was then that the rain started coming down, and we had to run back to the room to avoid getting soaked. With our ponchos on, we headed right out of the hotel grounds and down into the town, winding our way down the slippery streets and steps to the western outskirts and across the busy N-547 and through the tiny villages of San Xulian and Casanova. There was a slippery climb out of the rio Pambre valley up to Casanova that was certainly exacerbated by the heavy rain. Since these were uphill climbs, I lost sight of Greg for about two hours until somewhere near O Coto where he was waiting in a shelter alongside the trail. The rain was not letting up, and we were both already soaked. Our plan was to stop at Melide for lunch, so we got back on the Camino and moved along as best we could. In a couple of hours we reached Melide and found a little café right on the Camino. Inside, we took off our wet stuff and sat a table and ordered some food for lunch. We spent an hour here, and it was good to be out of the rain for awhile. But we had to get moving. Not far from the café, we spotted a restaurant that was serving pulpo. They were pulling the octopi out of the boiling pots and chopping up the tentacles right in front of us in the open window, then sprinkling it with spices and serving to the waiting customers. Greg got excited over this and I felt my stomach turning. We kept on moving through the city and found the Camino across the busy main street and up a couple of blocks. Before long, we were headed down and out of town into the rural surrounds. The rain was coming down so hard that it was nearly impossible to do anything but just keep moving. Every step produced squishing sounds, and I could only imagine what shape my blisters would be after today. I was also completely soaked up to my waist, as the rain was coming at me sideways. My poncho buttons came loose and wind took off with the poncho. A fellow pilgrim stopped to help me readjust. She and her husband were also from Ohio. They were very friendly, and we walked the rest of the way into Arzua together. We caught up to Greg at a bar/café near Castaneda, and the four of us made the final trek into Arzua to the Hotel Suiza, way on the other side of town. It was nearly six o’clock by the time we checked in, and all of us were exhausted. Up in the room, Greg and I tried to find appropriate places to put our wet clothes out to dry somehow. I found the radiator for my boots, and Greg had stuff draped all over. It took me nearly an hour to tend to my blisters and re-bandage everything. Then, as usual, I went down to the bar and had a beer and tried to get the routine for dinner. When Greg came down, we walked over to the dining room and sat down at a table. It was then that we were told that we had to make a reservation for a later time, but if we wanted to sit at the table, we could, but it would be a half hour or so before we could get service. This turned out to be much less time. Our new friends from Ohio came into the restaurant and we asked them to join us. They did, and we had a great conversation about theology. They, too, were Catholic and very interested in the liturgy of Epiclesis. Dinner was finally served to us and was quite good. I bought a good bottle of wine that we all shared. Before long, Manfred came into the restaurant with another German that he had met along the way. They sat at another table since they had just arrived. It was another great reunion. We all said goodnight and went back to our rooms. There was only a small amount of toilet paper left in the bathroom and Greg used it all to blow his nose. This was when I began to notice that I may be coming down with what he had. I was very congested and had a terribly runny nose. I took one of the towels from the bathroom and used that through the whole night. It seemed as if I slept no more than an hour or so, after that long arduous and wet day! I prayed through the night for the rain to stop, for clothes to dry and for me not to get sick.
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