Friday, May 22, 2015

Camino de Santiago Friday May 22nd: Day 10

Molinaseca – Alto do Poio
68.6km, total time on the way 12:00hrs

It was tough work getting going this morning with calves and Achilles particularly stiff. In fact, this was the first day when the whole thing became tough and everything started to hurt.

Left around 06;20 and ate a couple of pastries on the go. Made good time to Ponferrada and its magnificent Templar castle, which was, at 07:00, naturally closed.

Grabbed my second breakfast in Columbrianos at 8:10. This food stuff is beginning to get expensive.

Passing through Fuente Nuevaas a small chapel caught my attention. I felt drawn to go inside. A German lady was sobbing. I went up to her, put a hand on her shoulder and asked if she was OK.
“It’s just so hard….so tough…..walk, eat, sleep, repeat….day after day”
I tried to console her and reassure her that she would be OK and that she could do it. She smiled and thanked me. A very nice but somewhat surreal experience.

I visited a lovely little chapel in San Roque and through several small villages before swinging off through farmland to Valtuille de Arriba. This tiny village took ‘sleepy’ to a new level – ant sleepier and it would have been hibernating.

In Villafranca del Bierzo, I stopped for my regular chorizo y queso (chorizo with cheese) boccadillo, some cake and an apple. Fortified, I start on the long trek to O’Cebriero, 29km away.

The Camino now went gradually uphill along roadside concrete/tarmac for about 20km. My feet were really beginning to hurt as were my calves and I wasn’t having much fun at all. A magnum had little effect and I was forced to have a sit down in Trabadelo to fortify myself again – coke, doughnut & chocolate.

I trudged onwards through several more villages. In Vega de Valcarie I got some nice chocolaty, spongy thing.

At Hermianos, the road started getting significantly steeper, and then at last we were onto trail up to La Faba. Now the trail opened out and we were treated to spectacular views in all directions as the way entered Galicia.

Feeling much happier now, I made short shrift of the final few kilometres to O’Cebreiro. I decided to carry and drop down towards Triacastela a little.
Hospital de la Condesa looked like a good bet for a bed but everywhere was full. I rang ahead to Fonfria – again all complete (full). I was beginning to get a bit worried as I had now been out for the best part of 12 hours.

Fortunately the albergue at Alto do Poio had a space. At 1335m, this is the highest point of the Camino in Galicia. The hostel itself was a bit grotty and both showers were broken with only a trickle of hot water. However, the meal was absolutely superb. Pasta with chorizo, followed by a superb beef stew and potatoes, and then Tarte de Santiago. One lady appeared to be doing all the checking in, cooking and serving. Her husband seemed to be helping by sitting at the bar.

A really tough day – my legs were not happy – but a great day as well. When the view opened out approaching O’Cebreiro it was magnificent.

Phrase of the day:

Comment of the day:
“Walk, eat, sleep, repeat”

Life is that simple.

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