Distance: 21.6kms, Steps: 30,735, Time total: 7 hrs.
After a reasonable good sleep last night, we had a quick breakfast in the restaurant – just one piece of toast with our drink. Mr D was not in good spirits as several more red lumps had come up overnight after they had appeared to be clearing up. Then he thought maybe it’s the washing powder used for washing bed sheets as he had slept directly on them instead of in his silk liner. I had expected it to be quite chilly but the temperature was humid & not that cold. It was very overcast with ominous dark clouds. This region felt very unpredictable & anything could happen in the blink of an eye.
We climbed some more as soon as we left the village before descending, then more uphill to the San Rogue statue of a Pilgrim leaning forwards as if struggling in strong head wind. Then down again – Mr D was not impressed with this as had expected it to be more downhill walking. It started as a light drizzle of rain which came & went. At the town Hospital, Mr D wanted to stop for a quick coffee break. It had already taken us a couple of hours & we had only done 5 kms. Mr D was annoyed we weren’t progressing quicker. The woman in the restaurant yesterday said it would only take us 4 hours to Triacastela. What a load of baloney! Maybe the fast workers but not us! And I’m not going any quicker, I like to admire the views & take my time in the mountains. Also Mr D’s new lumps on the back of his neck were itchy & uncomfortable.
So onwards we pressed with another steep rocky path ascent to the highest point along the whole Camino Frances at 1,330m called the Ato do Poio. I almost stepped in what suspiciously looked like a big human turd just by the path when I spied a great photo opportunity overlooking the small village & church Padornelo. Someone had left behind a pair of jeans on the steps of the church. After this it NOW is a gradual descent. At the next village Fonfria, Mr D was hungry & it was only 11.45am. So we had a small ham & cheese sandwich & Coke each. It didn’t help eating cold food & drink on a cold day. The drizzle of rain still came & went. I felt cold but at least not wet. Heading out of the village, some random older lady emerged from a building offering us crepes that she held in her hands. One, we had just eaten & two, she would ask for a donation probably if we took them so I declined politely & we moved on as it was already starting to drizzle again. The path started to follow the road but on the wrong side where I couldn’t get the views of the valley as I walked. Cyclists whizzed by taking me by surprise as they don’t use a bell or yell out to alert the walker. These ones were rude, the last one brushed past Mr D, leaving him cursing the cyclists receding figure.
The tracks were covered all along in big piles of large animal poop. It was smeared across the path, some looked diarrhoea like. And the stench of it was so bad, especially going through the small mountain villages, the stench of dung was overpowering! Totally yuck. I had expected to see more Pilgrims as we completed a stage in the book that most tend to follow. But there really wasn’t many that passed us. Mr D is not happy with the new Camino markers in this region – each one shows how many kms & meters to go to Santiago. It is a constant countdown. Mr D said ‘ It takes all the fun out of it! I enjoy counting how many kms we have done altogether & how much more to go at the end of each day! ‘
The book spoke about a steep descent after the second last town we pass through, which really wasn’t that steep. The gravel wide path was easy to walk on. But the weather was closing in as I saw the rain approaching my way. The cold wind picked up & the rain came so briefly as it passed through. Not so bad! I hardly got wet! We finished our steep part & then it was only 3kms into town. Pass more poop & angry barking dogs. The last 2 kms pass through a tunnel of trees through chestnut woodland which is very pretty.
There is pently of Albergues to choose from. We picked one that looked nice on the outside called Atrio Albergue. Old stone & wooden 2 storey building. Very nice inside if anything, it’s dark, not much lighting. We settled into a bunk room of which there were 2 guys already in there. Mr D was in dismay – more of his lumps had come up on his lower leg, his face even. It appears to be out of control. He is so itchy & frustrated & there’s nothing I can do to help get rid of them. So annoying to have this drama close to Santiago. We were lucky to have made it inside when we did as the rain became heavier outside.
We went out looking for a Farmacia for Mr D to get more creams for his allergies. We bumped into David & Sioux from Torquay, VIC, Australia. I had spoken to David yesterday at O’Cebreiro briefly about the accommodation there but didn’t know his name. They were also the ones sitting with the Alaskan ladies last night in the same restaurant as us. And they had just arrived from O’Cebreiro after 4.30pm today which is late. So David was asking where the Albergues were again & where was I staying. They seemed friendly enough & we are sure to bump into them again.
They went to find beds & we decided to head over to the closest restaurant to share a bottle of red wine & then have an early dinner. We had a standard peregrino 3 course meal which I enjoyed more today as I had not pigged out. Mr D’s grilled steak he told the waiter was a bit tough so the waiter very kindly gave him another plate for free with the bisket steak I had which tasted very nice. The temperature had dropped to FREEZING as we walked back. Still noticing it was after 7pm & dark with Pilgrims JUST arriving in town – crazy bloody people! Our Albergue bunk room had filled up with more people now. I guess it will be like this from now on to the end. Mr D attended to his problems & noticed in the meantime that more lumps had come up, his left foot covered in small red lumps. By tomorrow morning he may be covered in lumps from head to toe – I sure hope not. Well, we will get an early night & see what the morning brings.