The next morning the sun was out again and we off. Jon, Eleanor, Mary Jane Alida and I went for coffee and breakfast, Jim and Geoff set out ahead of us as usual and Sarah caught the bus to Monte do Gozo.
After breakfast as we crossed the street I noticed a woman perhaps in her twenties pushing another woman in a wheelchair. Not an unusual site except that she was wearing a backpack and another one was stored under the wheelchair’s seat. Peregrinos no doubt, but I had to wonder how far she could travel in a day and what roads she could take. As we left the main road to find the camino I watched briefly as she continued on down the sidewalk. I figured that this would be the last that we would see of her as she could not possibly keep up with us. Once we left Pedrouzo we were once again in the forest and on yet another hill climb. Jon and I struck out on our own pushing up the hill which seemed to go on forever. At every turn I expected to see the summit but the path kept climbing higher. Finally the path dumped into a dirt road which leveled into a gentle incline and we slowed down. As we rounded a corner near the top, much to our surprise the two women with the wheelchair were stopped on the side, breaking out water. We smiled and waved as we passed, but were amazed to see them up on top of the hill. I had pretty much figured that they would be taking a gentler paved road route, but no, they were doing the camino with us. What a real feat! If ever there was a humbling scene, this was it. My knee issue was of absolutely no consequence by comparison. Once on the other side of the hill our decent to the airport, which lay in our path, was a gentle one. Rounding the end of the runway I took pictures of Jon with poles outstretched, standing under the end.
On the other side we waited at a rest area for the others who were not that far behind us to catch up. About that time a small group of German women showed up and we all exchanged photo-taking duties before setting off again. As everyone was getting hungry we decided that at the next town, lunch was in order. Stopping at the Cafe Bar Botana in Esquipa no sooner had we ordered than in walked the couple from Nevada with the two children. As we ate Eleanor struck up a conversation with them and graciously bought them lunch. After leaving the Botana we headed out across the highway and again we ran into the two women with the wheelchair or rather they almost ran into us on a downhill stretch. They do get around quite well! Once again we were going up and down hills again. This time our path took us past the TV Galicia complex and on to the Albergue do Gozo in Monte do Gozo, our last stop before Santiago. We easily could have continued on to Santiago but our reservations were for the 31st and it was only the 28th. As it was we were going to have to find accommodations for a couple of days in Santiago. As we walked over and down the hill towards the albergue it’s immense size became apparent. Jim had told us that it had 500 beds, but that seemed to be an exaggeration. Now this huge complex of 30 plus buildings stretched out before us. Impressive! This was the last stop before Santiago and all of the various caminos must converge here was my best guess for its size. That night we ate in the albergue’s very large cafeteria and prepared ourselves for the final trek into Santiago. Our camino was coming to a close in a scant 4.5km.