Today was a day of two halves with lots of ups and downs. Last night’s village had more running fuentes than I have seen anywhere (there have actually been very few), but this place has them in every street. I should have realised that it had to be coming from somewhere, and it all seemed to be travelling along today’s route.
The first few km’s were downhill along a back road, but the following nearly 3.5 km went in the other direction – very steeply. The track rose 328 metres over 3.5 km, and practically all of the track was running with spring water, sometimes over rocky surfaces, but just as often over spongy mud, resulting in thick squelchy boggy areas. Now, as I may have mentioned, my boots are not performing at 100% water resistance, barely even 20% I would guess, so I picked my way through these areas very carefully with a fair amount of success. I was basically walking up a rocky gully except for the flatfish areas of bog. But the surroundings were beautiful, through woodland with the sun slanting through the branches. And when I reached the top, my feet were dry.
There was then a very sharp descent into the village Vilavello where I stopped for a hot drink after having walked for 12 km.
I have now passed from the province of Zamora in Castilla y León to the province of Ourense in Galicia. The second half of the walk reminded me very much of my first time in Galicia when walking the Camino Frances. The landscape was rugged and beautiful, with huge granite boulders to walk over and around and colourful yellow and purple flowers and the ever present broom. It was stunning and the km’s soon mounted wandering through this vast landscape. The last half hour was spent on the road approaching our destination.
The albergue at La Gudiña is operated by the Xunta of Galicia and my notes tell me there are 48 places, but I have only seen 24, there may be another room but I can’t imagine where. The Xunta albergues provide disposable sheets and pillowcases which are very welcome and the cost here is 6€. Tonight there is a ‘mujeres’ bathroom with one loo, two basins and two showers – all very clean and smart. The kitchen (unusually for Xunta) is fully equipped and pilgrim friendly.
I was very annoyed at myself today for not removing the rubber tips from my walking poles every time I was off road. Towards the end of the day one of the original rubber feet was sucked off deep in a bog. I lost my first one on about day 4 or 5 when I was swishing my pole in some long grass to try and clean it off. One swish too many and up it came minus its foot. I looked long and hard but couldn’t see it. I hate the sound of metal tips clacking on hard surfaces and I was lucky to find a ferreteria where I managed to buy a few replacements – by no means a perfect fit but just about ok with a lot of pushing and shoving. I have already worn through one of these and had to replace it and now I have to use the last one – and make sure I remove them whenever I am off road.