Monday, June 30, 2014

Day 59: Cádavo Baleira to Lugo (30kms)

Camino path once the fog cleared

We left Cádavo with little sleep. Last night there was a bar having one hell of a party less than a block from our hotel. I reached for my ear plugs at 3:30 am, and they were still hitting it hard. Doesn't anybody have something to do on Monday other than nurse a hangover? Apparently not. As soon as the hotel reception opened the next day Robin, and I bolted for the door anxious to convert whatever energy we had remaining into kilometers gained towards Lugo. We didn't bother with breakfast or even coffee. We just wanted to get moving. The morning broke with the surrounding hills shrouded in mist, and (finally) a sepulchral quiet. We huffed and puffed up the hill out of town, and then enjoyed a series of downhills, and small hill climbs all the way to Lugo. We walked on a fair amount of roads today, but for the most part, they were quiet rural ones. The guide book says it's all downhill to Lugo, but that is not quite accurate, as several climbs came our way as we made our way towards Lugo. There really weren't many sights to see today. We did stop and admire the Church of Santa Maria in Vilabade. It had an unusual wide porch around it that probably sheltered pilgrims coming down the Primitivo in the 15th century. As we walk this Camino we have seen so many churchs, pilgrim hospitals, and shelters that connect us back to those many other pilgrims, who over the centuries past, found themselves walking these same trails. I find it to be very humbling to connect back across time like that.

I would like to say that the day slid blissfully by, but in truth, we had to dig deeply into inner reserves to reach Lugo. We were just tired, and our feet wanted to stop walking. But, there were more kilometers to go before that could happen. So, after about 7 hours of walking we finally snaked our way up to the city wall, through St. Peter's gate, and into the old city of Lugo. We are booked into the Hotel Pazo de Orbáne. Our plan is to lay over here for an extra day, and leave on Wednesday to continue our Camino. At this point we are planning to arrive in Santiago on July 6th. We are almost there.

Camino path
My girl
On the road to Lugo
First sight of Lugo
Lugo's city wall
St. Peter's gate
Home at last




Sunday, June 29, 2014

Day 58: Fonsagrada to Cádavo Baleira (24 kms)

Leaving Fonsagrada

We were in dry clothes and boots as we made our way out of town this morning. The owners of the albergue/hotel were kind enough to turn on the heat after yesterday's storm, and that allowed guests to get warm, but also allowed hard to dry things like boots to actually dry out. This albergue, with hotel rooms above it, is right next to the church. The albergue section is brand new, and has been open for about a month (so I was told). The owners were very accommodating, the facility was very clean, and the kitchen was fully stocked.

As we walked out the door the air temperature was 45 F. Yesterday it was 60 F. On went our rain jackets over long sleeve t shirts, and off we went. The Spanish forecast called for another rainy day, but they were wrong again. It stayed dry all day (no complaints). Today's stage was quite a mix of trail types, and grade changes. There were some quite steep climbs, that had some distance in them, and there were some long descents as well. It was an enjoyable day that let you know you had done some work by the end of it. There was a bar, right on the Camino, just before Paradavella, that made a perfect lunch stop. This was the first bar we had seen, since leaving Fonsagrada, so in we went. It was a jumping place as every pilgrim coming down the trail turned in for a drink or something to eat. Leaving there it was about another 12 kms to Cádavo. The trail wound around hillsides, cut through forests, challenged us on the uphills, and downhills, but in return, provided us with a quiet day in the hill country. We could see the change in the topography as the more mountainous terrain, of previous days, has now given way to the more rounded profiles of lower hills. Still these lower hills had some tough sections to handle. By the time we came upon Cádavo, and started our final descent into the town, both Robin and I were done. We walked past the municipal albergue that looked new and modern, and walked through town to the Hotel Moneda, where we booked in. Our laundry is now done, and we made the lunch service before it closed, so all is well. Tomorrow, we are off to Lugo. We intend to spend two days there as our arrival date in Santiago is still ahead of schedule.

Another windmill ridge to top
Pilgrim hospital
Pilgrims on the trail
Still going up
Lunch stop
Thoughtful trail marking
Into the woods
Follow that girl
Camino path
Typical Spanish bar
Down into Cádavo


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Day 57: Grandas de Salime to Fonsagrada (25 kms)

Departing Grandas this morning

We left this morning dressed for rain as the forecast gave it a 65% chance. There was also one of those exclamation marks next to the day's forecast (but no further elaboration). I did see a half inch of rain in the forecast, so that sort of clarified the exclamation point. We started out under cloudy skies that really did not look that bad. As we moved along those skies took on a more threatening look. We pushed on along mostly flat terrain heading up to a ridge of windmills. It was a long slow climb that gave the weather a chance to grow into a full menace, and then embrace us with its fury. At first, as always, a few drops were felt. Robin and I popped open our umbrellas even though the wind was rising, and I had questions about how much wind they could be effective in. We were about to find out. We fortunately traveled along some wooded paths that sheltered us for a bit, but then it came time to pay the piper as we dropped onto an open road and the wind and rain rose to a crescendo. At this point we had rain pants and gaiters on, but no rain jackets just our umbrellas. We put them to the test as the wind gusted close to 40 mph, and the rain came at us as if out of a fire hose. At this point we couldn't change into our jackets as the conditions were so bad. So we hung on with our umbrellas which were now being bent in ways they were never ment to be bent, but they did not break (amazing). We walked along into very strong headwinds, always climbing towards this bloody ridge of windmills. Up and up, wind and more wind (how much harder can it blow), rain and more torrents of rain. It was an absolute mess. We hung on to our umbrellas with one hand and brought our trekking poles into a cruciform configuration to keep the whole show from folding back on itself. We struggled up, and up until we found a main road and opted to walk that to the next town instead of going up into the bush in those conditions. A kilometer, and many umbrella adjustments later, when the wind seemed poised to simply carry everything away, we reached the summit of our climb, and started down off the ridge. I would like to report that all quickly calmed down as we descended, but that was not the case. Each bend in the road brought another blast of wind, and a good hosing down with torrents of rain. All we could do was keep inching forward against the weather that was determined to stop us. Fortunately we had the strength, so we just leaned forward, soaked to the core, and placed one squishing step ahead of another until an eternity later the hamlet of El Acebo loomed into view. As we squinted into the tormenta we could see signs of life ahead. We set our course for the building in sight, and step by step we closed the distance. As we fell through the doorway we found a handful of others sheltering from the storm. Inside the dimly lit, tiny bar, a quick head count was taken and four of us opted for a taxi out of this weather and into Fonsagrada. We had climbed up and down about 13 kms, and the taxi would take us the final 12 kms. We were done for the day. In truth, the afternoon's weather moderated, but we wanted no part of it. All we could think of was how to get everything dry for a fresh start tomorrow. What a hell of a day. Not many photos as we were preoccupied with the weather. Actually, I would be hard pressed to even describe the areas we walked through, once the rain started, as we were so tucked down under our flexing umbrellas. The forecast for tomorrow, and the days ahead, looks much better. I'll let you know. For now, it is time to sign off and get some sleep. It is now 8:30 pm and we are still wringing water out of some of our gear.

Before the storm
The woodshed


Photos from Berducedo to Grandas de Salime

Leaving Berducedo
A Mesa
Approaching the reservoir
Camino path
Grandas in the distance
Going down
A Thelma and Louise moment
It looks steep
Bottom of the main descent
Path down to the dam
Arrival Grandas