This might not be a very long post as I am rather weary after my log hike in the hot sun.
Today I planned to take another variant to the main camino. I had rough instructions that someone had kindly posted on one of the camino forums, and the plan was to keep me off the Camino Frances for another day.
I walked the first section (that I didn’t walk yesterday) to the town of Boimorte (where the albergue is 10.5 km from Sobrado). There are plenty of bars and shops here and I took the opportunity to stop off for a Fanta and a breakfast bacon buttie, and to soak my buffs and put them in a plastic bag for later refreshment. In this town begins the diversion. As far as I had been informed it was an unmarked route, and I was glad to have some direction.
So I was very surprised when I discovered there were mojones (granite camino markers) and tiles at very regular intervals, although the stated distance remaining to Santiago was rather less than I was expecting. However these markers reflected the directions I had noted and so eventually I stopped reading the directions and just followed the markers.
The walking was almost entirely along quiet roads. But don’t be fooled that quiet roads infer slow and careful drivers. They most certainly weren’t slow, but mostly very respectful and because there were rarely two vehicles passing at the same time they were able to give me plenty of room. Nevertheless, the backdraught from some of the big lorries was rather fierce!
8.5 km from Boimorto I stopped for a short rest and sat on a shady stone bench at the pretty Capella de Mota. Some way further, during a spell of around 2.5 km on a gravel track a deer leapt from the field on one side to the woods on the other. I quickly readied my camera in the hope that others might follow, but alas it was alone and I had missed a great photo opportunity.
Today was probably the hottest day I have experienced on this camino and unfortunately there was precious little shade, particularly in the early afternoon when the sun was directly overhead. I wrapped my long buff over my neck and shoulders, and took the opportunity to soak it again when I passed some running water.
After I had walked 29 km I rested in a shady bus shelter and ate the second half of my bacon bocadillo.
I found a bar at 32 km (21 km from Boimorte) and downed two ice-cold Fantas, resoaked my long buff, and asked for a water bottle refill which was supplied complete with plenty of ice. On speaking to the proprietor I discovered that the route had only been marked for the last three months.
It was so hot that I put my (wet) neck buff over my head to protect my scalp from the sun. Worn like this over my visor it looks rather like a baseball cap and felt lovely and cool for a while.
I was walking to the side of a major road, the N-634, and began to realise that the distances shown on the mojones probably related to the distance alongside this road directly into Santiago. Having already walked 32 km I really didn’t want to continue for a further 20+ km and arrive in the city a day early. So I consulted the app ‘maps.me’ and chose an appropriate side road to take me to my intended destination of O Pedrouzo.
I am sure I walked a route that differed at the end to what I intended, but I was expecting 38-40 km and that I exactly what I got. If I had followed my intended route I would have joined the Camino Frances about 5 km sooner, whereas I was off the camino until I reached my destination. This route wouldn’t suit everyone – a great deal of road walking, some of it along major roads, although not too much. In the end it was ok, but not great.
I would be interested to know more about the route I was following for most of the day and where it joins the CF, if in fact it does. There definitely needs to be somewhere to stay between Boimorto and Santiago. I shall have to do some research and discover what this alternative route is called.
I have been in touch with Marilyn who is also staying in O Pedrouzo, but on the other side of town and neither of us has the energy to meet up. So we shall see each other on the way tomorrow and walk into Santiago together, just as we should.
I am staying in the private albergue ‘Otero’, very spacious, two dormitories each with 18 places, washing machine and dryer, good showers and bathroom facilities (separate), a small garden opposite to dry washing and sit and relax, not much of a kitchen, but microwave , fridge and vending machine. 10 euros. Good value. And all my clothes have been machine washed so that I can enter Santiago in pristine condition.
I have to report that I have just eaten the best meal on this (or probably any other) camino. Two sizeable pieces of steak served very rare and presented with a hot stone so that they can be cooked to individual taste. My taste was just exactly as it arrived – very rare – so I sent the hot stone away (it really was hot enough in the bar without a furnace sitting on the table). It was served with a plate of salty chips and a delicious salad with a dish of garlic and seed mustard dressing. A few chips were left but nothing else. I was also given the option of drinking a complete bottle of wine, which of course I declined! Bar O Pedrouzo. Highly recommended.
Not such a short post after all!
Today’s distance 39.4 km
Accumulated uphill elevation 180 m
Accumulated downhill elevation 406 m
Total distance 847 km
Average per day 27.3 km