I left nice and early this morning – there was not much of a sunrise due to the cloud, but it was warm enough to leave my jacket in my pack. After some time on very quiet country roads, the route took to the woods, alongside a babbling stream with the birds belting out their dawn chorus at the top of their voices.
The woods hereabouts are mainly beech with some oak and holly. Very little eucalyptus I am pleased to note, although I do love the scent when they are near. The tracks are alternately soft leafmold, soft mud, or hard stone. Not too much elevation during the first part of the walk, but we were to pay for that later.
We also walked through some very pretty villages and by-passed a few farms that gave off some very pungent aromas. The cows here seem to have a very privileged life grazing in lush green fields, their bells ringing out, each one with a slightly different tone. As I passed a field with five horses I remembered that I had some less than fresh bread in my pack. It was much appreciated, but a bit of bullying ensued with one very pushy horse nipping the others to keep them back.
When walking the camino you can’t rely on the guidebook information that there will be a bar for sustenance. If you have made an early start you may need to wait three hours until you find one that has opened, and it is usual for bar owners here in Spain to close one day a week. I have been disappointed very many times when I was hoping for a warming drink and bite to eat only to find the door firmly locked and a long hike to the next possibility.
Today, the first open bar was at the sizeable town of Cornellana at around eight and half kilometres. And the next at the affluent town of Salas at 20 km where I enjoyed a beer and a couple of free tapas. Then it was a short seven km to my end point at Bodenaya. But I hadn’t looked at an elevation profile and had no idea of the huge incline that was to come.
It had been warm all day but was threatening to be very hot during the last couple of hours. I prepared by soaking my two buffs in cool water and covering my shoulders – such a refreshing feeling.
We are staying tonight at the donativo albergue in Bodenaya, and we all received a very warm welcome from hospitalero David and volunteer Victor. There are 16 places, communal dinner, washing is done and returned at breakfast time, we are given a talk about the coming days on the camino, and there is a general feeling of camino lurve. Seriously, it is a fabulous destination and I would highly recommend a stop off.
Today’s distance 27.7 km
Accumulated uphill elevation 796 m
Accumulated downhill elevation 398 m
Total distance 594.4 km
Average per day 27 km