Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Spain 2

From Pedrafita, about 168 km from Santiago, I walked. I passed through O Cebreiro that night and continued on to Hospital Da Condesa. It was very cold, and when I reached the hostel I learned they had no hot water (good thing I didn't take a shower). They also didn't seem to have heat as I froze even with my sleeping bag.

The next day I found snow on the path I was walking (that's the white patch in the upper right corner of the first picture). I had to walk 27.5 km to reach Samos, the monastery albergue I wanted to stay the night at. I made it but it was a pretty gruelling walk. I walked up and down several mountains. At one point I passed a shepherdess and her sheep on the path. The view was incredible everywhere I looked. My legs killed by the time I made it to Samos. Several times I thought I'd reached the city only to discover I was several kilometers away. When I finally did make it I had to wait for the hostel to open. I toured the monastery and went to Vespers and Mass that night.

The next day was an even more gruelling 35 km walk. It was hot out and part way into the walk I developed a blister on the pad of my right foot. It only got worse as the day wore on. To give you an idea of what the hike was like, I've included images of an entire hamlet I passed. It took 6 photos (above). And many of the places I walked by looked like this.
I also passed the 100 km marker. These markers were placed every half kilometer and made walking you still had to do that day easier. By the time I reached the hostel (around 4 pm) I was in a lot of pain. But I made it, figuring out how much which was the important thing. Portomarin, my stop that night, was a city on a hill next to a lake. Which meant after walking for a long time I had to climb another hill... Life can be cruel.

From there I went to Palas de Rei, walking by lots of small hamlets and villages. Several pilgrims on bicycles passed me. It reminded me of the Tour de France that one of my co-worker always watches so I took a picture. The picture beside it represents the majority of the scenery that day.

Then on to Ribadiso. This was my favourite albergue. After another 27 km day it was wonderful to discover, for once, that the hostel was closer than I'd expected. The place looked like a campground, with cabins and a river running next to it. This was the day I really enjoyed the walk.
I took time to sit and listen to the birds and the frogs (which, if you watch the video made the oddest sounds), to admire the trees and enjoy the sunshine. I also took stock of my blisters. Not every band aid covered a blister, some were for 'protection' against new blisters. But I had enough to make walking a lot of fun. Still, no pain, no gain, right?  
The next day I walked to Arca, my last albergue before Santiago de Compostela. This was the shower stall type I found in two of the albergue I stayed. You can look directly into the shower. This wouldn't be a problem except... all the bathrooms (except in Leon) were co-ed. Which either meant no modesty or taking a really quick, furtive shower.

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