We are in the woods almost immediately on leaving Salas on an ever upward climb. This is an area rich in spring water and there are channels trickling alongside the path most of the time, and now and then fuentes. We pop out of the woods for a short stint on the road and pass under the towering legs of a raised motorway, before being directed back onto a track.
I walk through the large town of La Espina at around 8 km where there are possibilities for refreshment, but I continue until I find a well placed bench by the side of a tiny chapel where I take a break to eat a snack.
My knee pain is a little reduced but still making itself very evident. I have managed to raise my pace from yesterday’s 3.6 to 4.2 kmph, still drastically slower than I would normally walk.
It is a lot cooler today with a blanket of high cloud and no sign of the sun. It does eventually put in an appearance, but it’s quite brief. I’m not complaining – I was still walking in a sleeveless T-shirt and shorts (as always) and it’s easier in cooler weather.
The outlook over the valleys is very very green and beautiful. Last time I came this way I saw a painted sign which said “how green is my valley” which was very apt. It wasn’t in evidence six years later.
At the village of El Pedregal at around 12 km I have a short walk on the very busy AS216. The village church provides a stamp for my credencial. Once I turn off onto a quiet country lane I see a guy up ahead, just standing on a bend in the road and looking towards me. He made me feel rather uncomfortable, but in fact he was the owner of an albergue in Tineo, my destination town and was catching pilgrims as they went by to tell them about it. He could see I was struggling and seemed very sympathetic.
There are lots of new mojones (camino marker bollards) along the way. I have to say ‘top marks’ for the tenacity of the people who have placed them often in quite difficult to reach situations. Thank you caminos friends.
I found these chopped logs just as I was looking for somewhere to take my second break – they made perfect perching stools
I finally limp into my destination town and reach the Albergue La Plaza. The same guy greets me sympathetically and leads me to the first room that is almost full, although there remain a couple of lower bunks. He asks if I would prefer a different room and takes me to a smaller empty dormitory with just four bunks. That will do me! The beds are excellent quality. The whole place is very clean there is a full kitchen and washing machine and dryer, a really good bathroom for each dorm – mine consisting of two loos, two handbasins and two excellent showers. And there is a terrace overlooking yet another valley. Very impressive. €10. I end up with two room mates.
I’ve been juggling ideas about how, or whether, to continue this camino. It’s no fun walking with my injured knee and there is heavy rain forecast for exactly when we most won’t want it – when walking over the high mountain pass on Sunday. There are in fact two options for the mountain stage -1 walking over the top of the mountain on the Hospitales route which I walked before, or 2 walking round the mountain which still involves a climb in order to meet up with the other route. Paul came up with the suggestion of taking option 2 over three short stages, hopefully missing the worst of the rain. I’ll give it a go and see how I feel at the end of each stage. If I’m not enjoying it, I’ll have no qualms about going home.
Maybe if I’d invested in a decent set of orthotics I wouldn’t have had knee trouble!
Maybe time for a rest day, or rest few days, miss the heavy rain, take a holiday within a holiday somewhere, then start again when you’re ready? Spain seems to be gearing up for a heatwave in some places but I guess up north, it’s rain you have to watch. A glass of red and all will be clear…
Your words and photos make it so real (the good and the – well not as good). Like I was there (without the knee pain however).
So beautiful! but walking in pain is not good. Your new hip has served you well. I’m sending healing thoughts your way.
Sending hugs. Take care of yourself, Maggie. Melx
So glad to see you back on the camino, but don’t go wearing out your new hip! You are an experienced pilgrim and I’m sure you will make right decision about whether to continue. It does sound like the orthotics and the new shoes are not agreeing with you as you suggested. It doesn’t sound too serious, but you cannot walk with pain, or try to push past it with too many pain killers. It may make the situation worse. Good luck, and thanks as always for all the wonderful posts and pics.
Maggie, I really am sorry to hear about your knee. Take care. I’m not sure whether you know all of this, so just in case — the route from Pola de Allande up to the Puerto de Palo (where Hospitales merges with the Pola route) has 200 more m of elevation gain and it is steeper than the Hospitales route. That’s because to go from Borres to Pola de Allande, you descend 200 meters. Pola de Allande to the Puerto is 8.4 km with 620 m ascent. Borres to the Puerto is 15 km with 430 m ascent. And since both routes meet up at the top, you can’t avoid the hard descent, which is undoubtedly the worst for your knees. It is true there is an albergue in Peñaseita, but it’s only 3 km from Pola de Allande.
Hoping that things go well, and thanks as always for this lovely blog.
Many thanks Laurie. I’m sure this info will be useful to others. Meanwhile, mostly due to the weather , we are planning to jump in a cab. More of a holiday than a camino!
It is amazing what a couple of days rest will do. Love your photos!
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