I was very glad to leave the albergue this morning. Definitely not a shining example, although the kind hospitalera found me a bottom bunk to sleep in. Bottom bunks are obviously easier to get into, but I am always a bit anxious about what might fall down onto me from the mattress very close above my head when the occupant of the upper bunk moves about during the night – actually it is much better not to think about it.
Anyway we left to a lovely bright day, although a little chilly. We walked through more delightful hamlets and actually saw a pair of carriage wheels attached to an axle, and then (even more exciting!) I saw a pair of wheels attached to a cart. Now I have the complete story – very satisfying.
We reached Portomarin after 9 km, a good sized town with a lovely approach over a wide river, but we were disappointed in our search for breakfast. After trying about six cafes for something warm with no success, we gave up and bought supplies from the supermarket and ate bread and jamon and some fresh apricots in the church square.
When we departed the town we climbed through a pretty wooded area, I was surprised at the lack of other pilgrims on the trail, and it seemed that my fears of being inundated with day trippers was not to be proven.
Here is a picture that will be of interest to Helen and David (and Blossom), but probably not anyone else (possibly not even them!)
Also possibly of interest to horse owners – the farmers hereabouts have been making the first cut of their grain the last couple of days, so assuming this will have been done a bit sooner in Granada province, perhaps there is a chance that we can buy some decent hay for our horses soon.
The camino continued on and off road, but was generally very pleasant. Mid way through the day we were passed by a group of gaggling youngsters, one without so much as a daypack and all in lovely shiny new trainers.
We stopped for a break after another 8 km and I downed a reviving beer before continuing through the beautiful countryside. This is definitely cattle territory – all the hamlets and villages have dairy farms and all are full of the resultant muck to pick our way through.
Just before our last planned rest for the day we come across a couple of guys at a picnic spot, washing up serving dishes with some lovely looking food on the table. I first thought that they were some of the kind people who provide for tired and hungry pilgrims along the route. And they were actually, but not the normal kind. They are tour guides, catering for a party of ten English speaking ‘pilgrims’, who have just been fed and are now walking their final stage whilst the guys clear up behind them. They invite us to help ourselves to the left over food, a fruit salad and chocolates and olives and cheese. Yum. When I have eaten as much as I can they suggest I pack up the rest and take it with me as it will otherwise only be thrown out. I happily oblige and am careful not to lean back on my pack for the rest of the journey. This guy reckons that he has guided the camino (not in its entirety) seventy or eighty times in the last 12 years.
After a quick break a bit further on we tackle the last 8 km of the day, racking up 33 km.
As we enter the town where we are staying I saw this elderly couple sewing seeds by hand in an enormous ploughed field. Incredible! Goodness knows how long it will take to complete the task.
Our carefully chosen albergue is spacious, clean, with lovely hot and powerful showers. It doesn’t help me sleep though and although I was in bed before 10 pm I woke regularly throughout the night, which is pretty usual. It has given me the opportunity to finish this post and get it off bright and early in the morning though. I shall return to my bed now and try and grab another hour’s sleep.