Camino del Norte 2018 – Day 24

Camino del Norte

Day 24/25

Sept 26,27

Lots of photos…
A couple of big days…. Yesterday we left the albergue in Berducedo…a nice enough place but something was missing…it had no soul… nowhere for people to congregate so it just felt impersonal. We had the pilgrim dinner there for 10€ and it again was much more than we could eat…plus the usual bottle of red. 

We left before 8:00am as we were looking at another day of big elevation changes. We hiked up and up and up to get over the mountain top…saw the windmills far ahead and in time we were right beside them…as we came over the top we saw the valley ahead completely enveloped in a thick fog… we descended through a large burned forest area…black skeletons of the pine trees that were planted in rows only a few years prior. The entire huge area had burned right from the foggy valley to the mountain top we were standing on. The trail down was rugged in places with steep sections opening into great vistas. From bright sunshine we entered the fog and continued down ever more. 
We had to make a big curve around the lake at the bottom…across the dam then all the way up. The sun burned away the clouds and we walked uphill through green forest, fragrant pine trees and more mature growth. It seemed like we walked uphill most of the day….the windmills of the morning were now 20km behind us,still visible on the ridge. We pushed on to a recommended albergue just past the lovely town of Castro. 

We had been walking a few weeks earlier with a different group that included a Korean gentleman named Steven. We lost him when we stayed behind in Oviedo but have kept in touch by email in the hope that we might reconnect. Steven remains one day ahead of us (along with a few others…our Hutterite escapee and American guy with the Canada flag). We arrived at our place and were greeted by the hospitalero with a bottle of Sidria…the apple cider this region is famous for. Steven had paid for a bottle for us to collect on arrival. 
The albergue was outstanding…at the top of the hill with great views, lovely garden, bar, great showers and facilities for laundry. We washed our normal stuff and hung it out in the wind as we sat on the lawn and shared red wine with the new arrivals. We ended up sitting until dark, 4 bottles of wine later plus good food and interesting conversation with our crowd. We still have the Hungarian from Budapest, the Swedish girl, a girl from Argentina, two Germans, (one is a 25 year old who mostly camps and had his hammock stretched between two trees in the garden), we still have the Mexican girl who arrived at dusk and the older British guy who is driving his car along the route so that he can accompany his younger girlfriend who is walking the Primitivo. An eclectic mix of opinions and stories. 
There are also a group of Italians plus a separate group of French folks. They tend to stick together and converse in their own language. We notice that the older travelers have less English language skills so they stay a bit apart…especially the French. We were 18 last night…a full house and turning people away. 
Today we were away at 7:40…just light enough that headlamps are not required. Clear skies with a full moon still shining. Lovely walking today… mostly forest trails and again lots of uphill as the clouds rolled in and a light rain began to fall. We took a break in a small cafe and met others there who were waiting for the rain to pass. We crossed a line of stones with a placard that welcomed us to Galicia. Near the mountain top where I filmed the windmills… they are quite loud and I feel for the farmers nearby who have been there for generations and now have to listen to the throbbing of multiple blades turning above their homes. 

Galicia seems to put more effort into serving the peregrino walkers… the trails are wider and less rough and the Way is better marked with mileage to Santiago posted on each cairn. 
We walked into the town of A Fonsagrada where we had a reservation at the albergue right in town. Donna and I walked past the place and had to backtrack in order to tell the lady there that we were canceling our reservation and walking farther. We had a recommendation for the new albergue just 4 km down the road. The lady was not happy with our cancellation but it was still barely noon and she had lots of beds still to fill. 
A coffee break then the last easy 4km and here we are. A beautiful new place with beds for over 40 pilgrims, still only 10€ plus a restaurant with a pilgrim menu. New, clean, well designed with great showers, kitchen, large sundeck and a nice feel. 
Shower, wash a few clothes to hang in the sun, a short nap then drinks on the deck. We have the Hungarian guy, the girl from Argentina plus the Italian group of 4. One of the Germans stayed in Fonsagrada, the Swedish girl decided to walk the 20km to the next bed (that makes a 40km day for her!). We’ll see who else appears as the day winds down. 
Sounds like Donna has conjured up a 30 km walk for tomorrow and the weather is perfect. 
Only 150km to Santiago but we might just grab a bus from the next large town to take us to Porto, Portugal and walk up to Santiago from there. We have the time and it’s only a few hundred kilometres…..sigh!
Nice to have you along. 


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