Today was shakeup day. Diverging from my plan. Separating from my spreadsheet.
I am not looking forward to joining with the Camino Frances and its hordes of pilgrims, many of whom will only be walking the last hundred km and will be full of vim and vigor and will be clean in shiny new shoes. Not that there is anything wrong with the CF or its hordes, it’s just that I don’t want to be part of it after such a long time of walking very quietly. There are some fabulous people walking the Primitivo, really nice guys, but they are all self-contained and don’t invade your space either whilst walking or at the albergue.
So one way of delaying entry into the CF is to make a cross-over from the Primitivo to the Norte. This can be done from Lugo to Sobrado dos Monxes, with a stop over in Friol. I estimate that I will walk only an additional 12 km by doing this, but reality may prove different.
Dave, who we met on day 2 and came across once or twice over the next few weeks, coincided with us in Oviedo at the beginning of the Camino Primitivo. He was also keen to try this alternative route, known as the Camino Verde (because is it marked with green arrows). Marilyn is sticking with plan ‘A’ and we will meet up in Santiago in a few days – it really is only a few days now – we will reach Santiago on 24 May, and I am planning to walk on to the coast if the weather promises to be ok.
So Dave and I set off at 06:15 amongst the Saturday night revellers still out and about and even still entering clubs. Many of them bade us a ‘buen camino’.
We in turn bade our camigos a ‘buen camino’ as they walked the traditional way and we searched for the first green arrows. It turns out there are plenty of arrows showing us which way to take, and if there was any confusion we have a track downloaded on our phones that we can refer to. Dave likes his own company, as do I, so we walked our own walks for most of the morning, although we did walk together for some time.
After a few kilometres we were directed onto a narrow track alongside a river. It was beautiful and very peaceful. We saw no one else for hours. The only sounds were the water running and the dawn chorus. The river alternated between millpond still and silent and raging waterfalls. The paths varied from narrow tracks where I had to be careful not to trip over raised tree roots, tiny tracks just a foot-width across very close to the water’s edge and now and then there were raised board walks, going up and down and around bends like a rollercoaster.
I made plenty of photo stops along the way before we eventually exited the woods and were on the road for a while, through a tiny hamlet where we set the dogs barking in their ones, twos and threes in all the houses along the way. I imagine their owners might not have been too pleased to have their Sunday morning lie-in disturbed.
We stopped just short of 20 km at 10:45 for a snack and sit down before tackling the final leg, through still more beautiful countryside, through pine and eurolyptus woods, along very muddy farm tracks, through a few villages with the most beautiful stone buildings, and along some asphalt roads but even these were pretty with almost no traffic.
I have seen a different kind of stone wall construction today that I have not seen before, with large upright triangular pieces of granite surrounded by flat stones. Quite beautiful but I imagine very difficult to construct.
Our day ended in the town of Friol where we are staying at a pension called Casa Benigno. The room is a good size, but rather tired and old fashioned. But with a private bathroom with a curtain, so I made up for yesterday’s indignity with a long, hot shower. Cost 15 euros which seems very reasonable. Hopefully we can find somewhere open for supper and we will probably need supplies for tomorrow as I don’t think we will pass any shops or bars and all I have is a stale bread roll and half a packet of Oreos.
Today’s distance 27.8 km
Accumulated uphill elevation 393 m
Accumulated downhill elevation 385 m
Total distance 780.6 km
Average per day 26.9 km