Yesterday the number of views on my blog tripped over 900,000. I find it unbelievable that it has reached this number. Thank you all for taking the time to visit.
And a huge thank you to everyone who goes to the trouble of making a comment. This is so much appreciated – and I delight in every one. I’m just sorry that I can’t find the time to respond to them all. It takes a long time to prepare the blog each evening and I have no head space left for responses, except the few that ask specific questions.
I had a comment relating to taking a taxi the other day…
If you felt uncomfortable taking a taxi (and I understand it completely), why not having walked a short and relatively easy stage from Campiello to Pola de Allande or Peñaseita? There are 4 albergues there nowadays. Seems like you skipped the best part of Primitivo with a taxi. Kind of sad
In response I just want to reiterate that I have walked the Hospitales route before in beautiful weather and it was absolutely stunning. I thought long and hard about how to manage this stage with an injured knee. The Pola de Allende route is even harder on the knees (with unforgiving descent) than the Hospitales route. And there is also an unremitting descent on the following stage down to the reservoir. The lovely Dutch pilgrim we shared our taxi with is a nurse and she commented that I will want my knee to support me for at least another twenty years and I do not need to abuse it in the meantime. So, taking all the circumstances into account I am happy with the decision we took and I hope that I can begin to walk slightly longer stages from here on.
As I have already stated in previous posts, this was never going to be a camino as I have walked in the past. I have previously always started at the perceived beginning of a route and walked every stage until the end, and often beyond. This trip was intended to test my new hip, and my stamina after three years of relative idleness. I didn’t start at the beginning and I’m not finishing at the end and so it doesn’t really matter what happens in between. But, most importantly, I have learned the lesson that I should have invested that enormous sum of money for bespoke orthotics, which may well have resulted in a pain-free experience this year.
So, on to today…It starts cold and very cloudy and dull. There is a mixture of quiet roads, busy roads and tracks to start the day. But soon enough we are on track through farmland which is most pleasant, except the loud voices of the four men who are walking behind me. They are virtually shouting to eachother and I find it takes me entirely out of the zone where I wish to be. This is exactly what I don’t want early in the morning walking in nature. So I stand aside and let them pass so that I can walk in peace again.
As I have already written, there are many more pilgrims on this route than I have experienced before. Lots of Spanish, French, Germans, Dutch, Austrian, Australian, North American, and a few Brits. There are probably many other nationalities that I haven’t yet discovered. The proportion of men to women is high, as usual, and there are quite a few couples.
There is a bit of light rain early on and I stop at a bar at around 12 km that is full of slightly soggy walkers. There’s another donativo cafe at 16 km and another opportunity a couple of kms further on.
The tracks are mostly beautiful through woodland, following the ridge of a steep valley. There have been some ridiculously steep climbs. My eyes constantly lie to me, telling me that the incline finishes at the next bend, or just a few metres ahead and my body so wants to believe my eyes, but it is almost never true. However I made it to the top in one piece.
The paths have been lovely to walk on – the recent rain has made them soft without, for the most part, making them muddy. The views over the valleys are marvellous revealing wide vistas of pine trees and green fields all topped off with threatening cloud. The sun hasn’t put in an appearance so far today and it is currently noon.
And about 12.05 it starts raining quite hard accompanied by a drop in temperature which makes it quite cold. I could even see my breath for a while!
After yet more steep climbs I finally descend into O Cádavo, my stage end for today. Not the most exciting or interesting town, but most small towns seem a bit sad in the rain. There is an abundance of albergues. Paul and I are staying in the municipal albergue, €8, reasonable kitchen, and sensible separate bathroom facilities, but very few power points. I find myself sleeping between two of the noisy men that I tried to avoid this morning, in a room for 10 where I am the only woman. Wonderful!