Stage 17 – Cabanillas to Buiza, 25.5 km

The day started on very pretty tracks and almost immediately our hearts were melted by a floppy, lollopy, huge-footed mastin pup who had somehow managed to escape from his enclosure with mum and dad making half-hearted attempts to reprimand either him or us, we weren’t quite sure. He absolutely lapped up the attention and when we tore ourselves away he just tagged on behind. I had to pick him up, open the enclosure gate and pop him back in, and then listen to his cries as we left him.

We walked for 4 km through woodland tracks above the Rio Bernesga, a wide and fast flowing river that accompanied us at various distances most of the day.

We emerged onto the road at the village of Cascantes. The houses in this area are made of flint-like stones with brick trim around the doors and windows – quite charming.

Towards the end of the village we were presented with the option of following the original path of the camino along the road for 5 km towards La Robla where we would find an interesting monument, or taking an alternative 6 km route, bypassing the monument and the road. We opted for the alternative. Mistake. What started as a very pleasant country track with a few farm animals to keep us distracted turned into a hard newly-compressed drivable gravel track which ran between a rail line and what looked like a power generating plant. Hard walking and hard viewing. One quarter pleasant and three quarters not so.

The horses in these parts are massively built – like draught horses

We found our way back onto the camino proper at La Robla and stopped for our first drink of the day after walking 10+ km. Another 5 km on the road before diverting alongside the railway line for a few km including a lunch-break at a picnic spot by a very pretty Unesco listed church. We were then on and off the road until we reached the town of La Pola de Gordón. We failed to reach this town by 14:00 before the supermarket closed. We were too busy talking to animals and snapping flowers. No facilities at our end stage again and we need to take food with us. We stopped at a bar and were given a fabulous plate of tapas and I had the brainwave of requesting the barman pour two glasses of white wine into my spare water flask so that I could enjoy my end of day in the style to which I have become accustomed. And then we popped across the road to a restaurant to request some food ‘para llevar. A huge tortilla Español was produced and a portion of salad which we strapped to our packs for the final 5.5 km.

This last stretch was also pretty much on the road, but by now we were walking through a gorge where we were dwarfed by the towering cliffs on either side – truly impressive and truly daunting, as we have our biggest climb tomorrow.

There was a point at which Marilyn pointed to a silhouette of an animal standing on the point of a cliff. It looked like a dog, but seemed too big. I zoomed in with my 30x camera lens and true enough, it was dog shaped and looked very much like a wolf. We trod carefully hoping not to disturb it before I could get a better shot. It didn’t move a hair. It took some time before it dawned upon us that the wolf was in fact a metal sculpture. I wonder how many pilgrims are as gullible as we short-sighted 60-somethings!

We reached the albergue at Buixa after 25.5 km which should have been a doddle, but in fact had certainly taken its toll on me. Having remained blister-free for two weeks, I picked up a few minor, but still uncomfortable, blisters yesterday. Very annoying, especially with our hardest day looming tomorrow.

The albergue at Buiza is another gem. 16 places, decent well equipped kitchen, two bathrooms with lashings of piping hot water, plenty of seating indoors and out. No wifi, but pretty good mobile coverage – 5 euros.

We’re rather concerned about the weather in the coming days. We have been promised rain which will be a big blow for tomorrow’s hike. We shall have to wait and see – the sky isn’t looking particularly threatening as I write this.

Today’s distance 25.5 km
Accumulated uphill elevation 233 m
Accumulated downhill elevation 0 m
Total distance 448.4 km
Average per day 26.4 km

About magwood

Trepidatious Traveller - camino blog is about preparing for and walking the Camino de Santiago. Many future pilgrims have found the blog useful and inspiring, and many who have no plans to walk the camino have simply enjoyed the dialogue http://www.magwood.me
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6 Responses to Stage 17 – Cabanillas to Buiza, 25.5 km

  1. Mary Lynch says:

    Thank you for all the photos dear Maggie. It brings your journey alive for me. Love that gorgeous puppy and the sculpture of the wolf was very convincing to my eyes also. How resourceful of you to have a take away dinner with wine. I just love your style. Sorry to hear about the blisters but I’m sure you’ll nip the problem in the bud. I hope you don’t get the bad weather you are expecting. Much love and buen camino xx

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  2. Sally says:

    Morning Maggie. I hope you escape the rain. Keep dry and look after those blisters xx

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  3. Janice Tyler says:

    I hope your blisters recover quickly and tomorrow’s walk is in good weather after all. I did smile at your resourcefulness and was glad you found your evening meal para llevar! X

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  4. Siepi King says:

    I so enjoy your blogs and the pictures are awesome. Wishing to be out there too! Good luck with the blisters hope they heal quickly.

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  5. rebrites says:

    You are traveling one of my very favorite stretches of Camino in the world… the next couple of days are superb. And you were smart indeed to get your dinner at Cafe Buen Sucesso — they are great cooks. And that chapel — I hope you popped in. The Virgin there is supposed to give you amazing luck with lottery tickets.

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  6. lynharrison4wind says:

    I am totally falling in love with the Mastin breed and so is your much beloved pooch Roly. He was with me on an eight person, six dog hike high above Sedella today. One of the four footeds, Mastin-cross Polly, immediately took charge of the dog pack and dealt out severe reprimands to the others when they got too boisterous with Roly. He soon ran to her rather than me for help! She also gently marshalled both dogs and humans whenever required, including guarding our rucksacks in a temporary pile, warding off raiding snouts. I was totally taken with her pack leader techniques. And on return from all that your adorable Mastin puppy pics . . . I was also struck by the resourceful management of evening dinner, just as Mary was. Sorry to hear about the blisters. I’ve been wondering how the “100 kms boots” were faring? We did 11 kms and 600 m elevation today. Very modest compared with your daily accomplishments, yet I’m knackered!! Certainly sets your achievements in relief, along with those of Marilyn, too, of course. What a walking phenomenen the two of you make!

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