Day 29: A River of Bodies (Ferreiros to Ligonde)
Compared to yesterday, the Camino was a calm and temperate stream of bodies, today it is a seething, frothing mass ofshiny new rucksacks and glistening walking poles. Everyone is told that the volume of people picks up after Sarria but the difference is night and day - you are literally weaving through people all day.
Apart from the sheer number of people the biggests differences are that there are lots of families now, linking hands and walking four abreast so as to bloke the entire path, instead of the usual roaming nomadic types and then there is the sorry fact that people are nowhere near as chatty and smiley. There is a definite air of tourism and holiday rather than pilgrimage and people are happy to stick in their tight huddles or tour groups and not open up to others.
An unfortunate and surprising change in myself is that I find myself to be increasingly sanctimonious! Having walked 700km and bared the burdens of pain, heat, rain and mountains I feel that the people adorning themselves with pilgrim scallops to be unworthy and incongruous. I can feel myself becoming butter as people pay to send their bags on to the next leg rather than carry them and bikes rocket past you without a bell or warning. Now, I totally understand that I am being irrational; I've thought on many occasions that Matilda would love to walk the last few days and sleep in bunk beds, collect stamps in her booklet and walk adorned in scallop shells and a walking stick but I just feel resentful that so many of these people are having a leisurely walk in jeans and being dropped off by buses when we have all slogged our guts out for miles and miles only to have the same reward.
I had to have a very stern word with myself around midday, becausw I had started Muttering mutinously to myself about the cramped walking space and refreshed looking people. I appreciate that it is their camino/holiday and I'm just going to be happy for them and enjoy my own experience. Its bloody hard though!
As today was swelteringly hot I was overjoyed to see the minute village of Ligonde, where I had booked an albergue for the night - I have booked my alberguea for the remainder of my journey now as many places are full! Ligonde itself boasted one cafe and two albergue, that was literally it. Although, it was nice to watch the steady throng of people sail past and know that I would be behind that wave the following morning!