I treated myself to a private room with my own bathroom and towels! I slept 12 hours straight. of course that meant I had to twiddle my thumbs for an hour waiting for the first glim of light and a cafe con leche from the cafe owner who gave me a pitying but indulgent look when I revealed I was a grandmother like her. A large black dog who put the fear of God into me at the end of the village took one look at me, turned tail and fled. Was it the pink backpack? Who knows?
It was spooky in the forest, walking along a paths lined with gnarled chestnut trees. I almost expected a wolf to appear and ask the way to grandma’s house Oh, I forgot, I am grandma.
I had to watch my footing too as I manoeuvred down some steep stone steps, then I noticed there was a little cabin under the bank. Why? Who? Don’t you think it’s funny the picture turned out weird?
I hurried on to the town of Sarria where those doing the short Camino set off. I met four people I already knew! One was my first Camino friend from when we set off, I expect more of this as we are all converging from different Caminos to finish at Santiago.
It poured with rain last evening and everyone was apprehensive about the day to come. We need not have worried. It was a lovely day
It was quite dark when I left but it soon warmed up and I got a bit hot. I really got hot when my Camino app showed the little blue dot that represents me off the trail in the middle of nowhere. The stone markers clearly said this was the trail though and the prospect of toiling up a steep stoney track to the road where one vehicle an hour passed did not appeal. So I marched on through the most lovely lanes
Finally I came upon this sort of hippie yoga house in the middle of nowhere and they assured me that I was on track. Charming? Yes but the hosts of flies visiting from an adjacent barnyard sent me hurrying along. Turns out the powers that be had made an alternative path off the official one. At the 20 km mark I was very glad to see my albergue appear at the side of the road. Getting into the last week of planning now. Some more beautiful scenery from today.
Her name was Paula and she was perfectly behaved. Victor who got four pretty elderly people up on their various steeds revealed that his ex wife lived in Montreal. A snort and a snicker from Paula and me, a reserved Spanish lady and a couple from Texas were off. Getting off was even more bizarre. I discovered bones I never knew existed.
I was frantic that I would be late but no, thanks to a most unBudist awakening (Stevie Wonder played at top volume) I was soon scuttling along in the dark to the next village and my rendezvous with Victor.
For an hour we labored up the steep mountain. Victor kept us al in check. The horses had a well deserved drink after an hour
Good luck to them and then we got hauled off the horses and had to walk 10 km to get to our really lovely albergue. Up and down like a switchback. I never would have made it without the horse ride, We had the best dinner in a long time in a sort of stone yurt. I met up with two young people I knew and liked from before and we ate togetherness.
I have to sleep now 20 km ahead tomorrow. It termed rain this evening in true Galician tradition so I hope for better tomorrow.
I was a bit nervous about today as the guide books talked about two paths-one spectacular and desperately difficult. The other was described as a walk along a highway with little to recommend it. In the dorm with me was Carmen, a woman a little younger than me also travelling alone . We talked it over and left together in the dark …to take the more conservative route. Although it was on hard surface there was hardly any traffic and a protected designated path allowed us to relax. Our main complaint was cold as the sun did not penetrate the valley floor where we were walking until 11 am! I used an extra pair of socks as mitts
It was pleasant to hear the stream beside us and to talk some muddled up language together. It was also a wonder of engineering to see the fly-over highway that allowed us to walk in relative quiet.
The villages were pretty, the terrain was mercifully flat and I arrived early at my albergue which appears to be run by Buddhists. The best thing is that I have managed to book a horse ride over the worst of the mountain ahead. Imagine climbing in 9 km 100’s of meters in altitude. The horse can do it!
Not too far and a good trail. I arrived in Villafranca by 13:30 and had time to shower and wash my clothes. I set off through the steep little town …many streets are sets of steps, with handrails. However everything was shut for siesta of course so here I am in the lovely municipal garden still bright with roses and other white flowers. I easily did 20 km with the good walking conditions and will do a little less tomorrow as the place I wanted to stay is closed. However the substitute offered me bed, supper and breakfast for 20 euro so I took it!
Somehow it was almost as tiring as hills. We are at Los Arcos in a quirky albergue that boasts a mangle to squeeze out water from out washed clothes. The walk through undulating farm land was mesmerizing.
I ran out of water and was glad of this wine from Irache .that and a gooey remains of a chocolate bar in the bottom of my bag got me through.
Los Arcos is a nice town named for the archers who defeated an enemy. Forgive me but I can’t find the reference