On arrival in Arzua (only about 40Km left to Santiago!!), I find I am staying in the same place as Priscilla, a 60(?)-something Floridian lady born in Puerto Rico and now living in a 5 bed house, on her own….family fully fledged. Priscilla is a fun lady, with a thigh-slapping laugh. She loves the British accent, adored Princess Diana but was not so keen on the Queen. No! Don’t like her, she said. Total cold fish…the way she acted when Diana died…she was out of touch. I had to agree that there is a certain anachronism about the Monarchy, both its existence and the behaviour of some of its members….but, I say, the Queen is a product of her time; straight-faced and devoted to duty and protocol – I guess she is the embodiment of the nation…and if she does feel that, then maybe she feels she can’t be seen to crumble. Priscilla seemed to understand that possibility.
Next morning we breakfast together and Priscilla spreads a stack of tablets on the table – an assortment of supplements plus 1 tablet for diabetes, 1 for high blood pressure, 1 for cholesterol and 1 for asthma. How far are you walking today? I ask. Priscilla will be using a taxi for part of the way, as she doesn’t think her body can cope with more than about 7 km. I say to Priscilla that I think our bodies are marvellous and very capable – have you tried going a bit further? No, she said – I really don’t think my knees will let me do more.
Priscilla spots me about 8 hours later, around 20 km down the road at our next stop in Pedrouzo, and beckons me over excitedly. I remembered what you said! she said, and I did 13kms today!! I congratulated her and felt so pleased that she’d tried, with my encouragement. We suppered together..and I have to say that although I know numerous people who watch out for the sales/bargains at their local stores, I’d never met anyone who was as keen as Priscilla, or had rooms for closets and one closet for black clothes and another for white. People tell me to de-clutter and downsize she says…but I keep people entertained with a new outfit every Sunday at church…I can’t let them down. Besides, she packs up some of her bargains for the homeless at Christmas. She has promised to show me how to shop if I’m ever in Florida.