Day 53 – O Coto to Melide

Walked today: 4.4 miles

Walked Camino 2019: 380.2 miles

When the taxi took us back to O Coto, our finish point from yesterday, it was still dark, so out came the headlamps.

The first village we walked through was Leboreiro, a busy pilgrim stopover during the 11-13th centuries. It was still dark and we almost ran into a small version of a hórreo, typical of Galícia. If we haven’t already mentioned, hórroes are for storing grain and corn safely from unwanted critters and weather.

Next to the unlighted hórreo was the somewhat lighted Iglesia de Santa María de Leboreiro.

Legend has it that a statue of the virgin was found at a nearby fountain and the locals moved it to this church. But the virgin kept going back to the fountain until the locals added a more fitting artwork (tympanum) above the church door and officially dedicated the church to the virgin. Then she decided to stay put in the church.

Still in the dark we crossed over a medieval bridge in the hamlet of Disicabo.

The path came away from the medieval hamlets and we walked along the back of a large shopping center, then back into some forests as it got lighter between dawn and sunrise.

We had planned to stop for breakfast at the medieval village of Furelos (pop.135)

Medieval bridge going into Furelos.

but we kept on walking because at 8:35 in the morning all their bars/restaurants were closed with no signs of life, inspite of the hoards of pilgrims surely coming up behind us.

We walked on past A Lúa do Camiño a few hundred yards and had breakfast at the take-out pizza place. We then walked back to our room, gathered Linda’s backpack and checked out at 9:25, beating the 10:00 checkout time, then walked another half mile to Carlos 96, our hotel for today and tonight.

So why would our next hotel be so close to our last hotel? If you remember, we had a logistics problem in that yesterday would have been a 12 mile day which for us is a no-no and there were no places for us to stay to ‘naturally’ break it up. Also, both locations that were available either today or yesterday in Melide did not have both nights available. So we took a 12 plus mile day and made it an 8 and a 4, and used two hotels in the same town and 2 taxi rides to make it all happen.

Fortunately, we’re now booked all the way to Santiago with each day less than 6.5 miles.

Melide (pop.7,824) and the surrounding area was well settled in prehistoric times. The town became a transportation and commerce hub in the Middle Ages.  Iglesia de San Roque features 14th-century tombs with local coats of arms, and the stone cross outside depicts the crucifixion.

Today Melide is well known for its Pulpo á la Gallega, boiled octopus served with olive oil, paprika, a hunk of bread and a ceramic bowl of cold, refreshing Ribeiro wine.

The Camino provided our first exposure to octopus in 2017. Since then, we have sampled it in a variety of places both on the Camino and elsewhere, and we think Melide’s version is the best, and more specifically, Pulperia el Garancha. This was the source of our takeout dinner last night. Garancha also has the best roasted Padrón Pimentos we have ever tasted.

Today, for simplicity, we had a mid- afternoon lunch/dinner in the Hotel Carlos96 dining room.

Linda had homemade chicken noodle soup and Jim has a Galícian version of macaroni and cheese. Second course was curry chicken and rice for Linda and roasted turkey with Padrón peppers for Jim. Dessert was rice pudding for Linda and ice cream for Jim. A local (no label) wine was included.

We coasted the rest of the day, mainly in our room, relaxing and realizing that seven more days and Camino 2019 will be history.

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