Having a room instead of sleeping in an albergue meant I could wake up in my own time, nice and refreshed, and have a leisurely breakfast of café con leche and Santiago cake at my favourite table downstairs. Then it was off to find one of the two lovely green paths out of O Cebreiro, though to my surprise I noticed some brand new signs pointing to the road as a recommeded route. I certainly can’t recommend walking on the road, so I walked up to the municipal albergue and took the trail that leads practically from their front step. This path gives you brilliant views of the valley on the other side from the one you walk up. What better way to start the day!
On this day’s walk there are two altos, two peaks or high points. The first one is the Alto de San Roque, with a statue of the man himself struggling in the wind on the top. Well, I was glad I had my purple Rab wind top myself, though I have to say old San Roque has a better look!
After San Roque I warmed up with a quick coffee in Hospital de la Condesa before moving on towards the Alto de Poyo. That last hill before the Alto is sometimes referred to as The Cursed Hill Before The Blessed Bar and I have to say I agree. The trick is to stop and turn around every so often, and maybe take a photo (see below) while you catch your breath. That bar is such a gem too, the lady in the kitchen will make you what you ask for, in my case just one piece of bread with just one egg and two rashers of bacon. I deserved it after that hill and bocadillos are always tooo big!
The alto being the high point, it was downhill from here and all the way down to Triacastela. I stopped for the largest café con leche yet in Fonfría, and met the American ladies again and had a nice chat with them. The albergue in Fonfría looks really nice but it doesn’t quite fit with my habit of staying at O Cebreiro. Maybe one time when my daily stages are shorter.
This wasn’t a particularly hot day, it was overcast and windy and chilly, but that makes for perfect walking weather. The countryside was so green and the air so fresh it was an absolute joy to go for a Galician wander. As I got closer to Triacastela I had to stop and admire the stunning old trees.
I was staying in the Xacobeo albergue for the first time, and it was really nice. Lots of people sitting in front of the fire in the afternoon, spacious dorm rooms, close to the restaurant and lots of showers. Unfortunately the showers had started outside too, and everybody was talking about the rain – some had seen forecasts for torrential rain for the next couple of days, some were hoping it would rain off during the night. I made sure the poncho was packed in the lid, that’s all I could do. Then let the rain fall where it may.
In the evening I went to the Xacobeo restaurant to meet Piia. I like the Xacobeo because they have some of my favourite foods there – not just a good pilgrim menu, but also zamburiñas, small scallops, and a churrasco, grilled meat with two sauces – and they also have a remaining kilometres count on their till receipts!
Piia and I shared a meal and a bottle of pilgrim wine, and for once I had to get up and leave at ten to ten to be in before curfew, while she could finish her drink in her own time. I really wasn’t ready to go to bed, but the dorms were dark and everybody else was quiet, so I snuggled into my lovely, lovely sleeping bag, read for a while and let the soft drumming of the rain lul me to sleep.