It was a cold, misty, dark morning. I was up and ready to leave early because this was going to be a long day. I walked out at 06:20, my earliest start to date. It had been raining a few minutes earlier but had stopped by the time I walked out of the door. Luckily the kind camino amigos of A Fonsagrada had been busy with the yellow paint and there were plenty of large, clear arrows showing me the way out of town in the dark. If you’re planning a pre-sunrise departure it is advisable to check the route out of town the day before (which I had failed to do).
After a shortish stretch along the road the trail diverted onto woodland tracks and alternated between a little bit of road and a lot of track for the rest of the journey.
Once again there was low lying cloud and the temperature remained cold all day – sometimes very cold and sometimes I generated some body heat during a stiff uphill climb. But it was cold. Unseasonably so. I wore both my pairs of gloves most of the day, and was also sporting the very elegant look of shorts and matching gaiters. It’s surprising how much warmth the gaiters provide and they are excellent at keeping the boots a bit dryer and less muddy.
Since entering Galicia yesterday there are a lot of tracks that have been remade with nice fine gravel. I have read that some people are unhappy about this, saying that they spoil the authenticity of the camino. But I am very grateful to the authorities that have spent time and money making life a little more comfortable for we pilgrims, saving us slopping through slippery, wet, muddy, uneven tracks so much of the time
I set off alone but after a couple of hours caught up with my new pilgrim friend Oswaldo from Peru – a very special guy who decided to walk the camino on the spur of the moment, having made no preparations, ie wearing every-day clothes and either flip-flops or slip-on driving shoes (loafers), and carrying two rucksacks.
The 35 km stage passed surprisingly quickly, and I let Oswaldo do all the chatting whilst tackling the steep climbs, so that I could concentrate on puffing and panting my way up the hills. We made a couple of stops for hot drinks and arrived into Castroverde at just before 15:00, having struck an average pace of 4 km per hour for 8 1/4 hours, which included a lot of up and downhill elevation.
Marilyn and I made the decision yesterday to book into a pension today, thinking that the lovely new albergue in Castroverde might be full by the time we arrived. There are a great many pilgrims on the trail at the moment. I was a bit miffed when we popped into the albergue on arrival to find that there were plenty of beds remaining at 6 euros, but we were committed to the pension and it is certainly nice to have a room to ourselves with a lovely clean shower and bathroom that hasn’t been left swimming in water by the previous occupant. Fresh sheets and duvet two nights running – such luxury!
The Pension Cortés is very pleasant – our room overlooks a pretty garden. There is a bar and restaurant attached where they serve menu del dia. Twin beds, ensuite, 38 euros, so quite an extravagance but we’re worth it (well, we think so!). There is a Dia supermarket very close, so I bought supplies for a very tasty, healthy salad and a box of cherries and am now feeling rather full and looking forward to a good night’s sleep.
I have been asked about my camera – it’s one of a series of Panasonic LUMIX models that I have used, this one a DMC-TZ60 with a 30x zoom, a good macro facility and wifi for uploading photos to my iPad.
Also, someone asked about how I was taking selfies. The camera has a time delay facility which I set to 10 seconds and then run into position. I also have a GorillaPod flexible mini tripod that I can fix to a fence or branch of a tree or whatever is handy.
Today’s distance 35 km
Accumulated uphill elevation 611 m
Accumulated downhill elevation 980 m
Total distance 730.9 km
Average per day 27.1 km