Ruitelan to Fonfria (21.7km)
I watched the sun slowly sink it's way into the valley as i hiked out of Ruitelan, with the sound of the Rio Valcarce on my left and beautiful fresh crisp air. I spent much of the day hiking with Katherine, a lady i met over dinner last night. She is a therapist from Ottawa so the conversation was rather deep for much of the time (for one day it was quite nice but anymore and i would have gone bonkers!). We hiked into Galicia today, the final province. Galicia is known for its wet, cold weather but so far we have been blessed by beautiful hot sun. Today´s hike had been talked up as a tough one but i think given we have good fitness now it seemed rather easy climbing up 700m in just a few hours to hit the peak of O´Cebreiro.
The houses in O'Cebreiro have these really cool thatched roofs, really beautiful town with magnificant views every way you look. Like the Cruz though, its a pity tour buses can get up here, if it wasnt so touristic i would have been very tempted to stay a day. Katherine and I hiked out through oak woodland when it suddenly opened up into cleared farmland. And who did we find lying in the sun with this awesome view? The siesta kings, Frank, Di And Pieter. They sure know how to pick a good lunch spot. I'm quite envious of their siesta's, if i stop for too long i cant get my ankle walking again, but it was certainly nice to stop for lunch.
We all stopped for the night in Fonfria at an Albergue run by a family from El Salvador and so spent the afternoon soaking in the sun with a few beers and listening to south american music. Very very funky albergue, only problem is they seem to have the building facing the wrong way...the courtyard faces the road, and the back of the building faces the magnificant valley views...bit of a fail there really.
Fonfria to San Mamed del Camino (25km)
Pieter and Diana have to be in Santiago by a certain date so now we start pushing ourselves a little bit further each day as we all want to finish together. Thankfully the heal inserts i brought in Astorga have sorted my arch pains and i have really good drugs for the ankle tho i'm having to walk on the side of my foot which has resulted in a new round of blisters (Farmacia's over here dont even ask what your pain is they just dole out the drugs).
Absolutly gorgeous day of hiking, particularly the morning as we hiked down into the valley of Triacastela all covered in fog. I ran on diesal today as i actually overtook people hiking..i may have taken one too many ibuprofens.
Today we met 3 Danish girls who mentioned that they had reserved beds at the San Mamed albergue just outside of Sarria. Not wanting to stay in Sarria we borrowed their tactics and booked ahead also. Most of the time you can just wing-it but we are heading into the busy section of the trail. The 100km mark is just past Sarria and many people start their trek here as you only need 100km to get your compostela (stairway to heaven). Spaniards can put the compostela on their resumes and so we are expecting a significant increase in numbers on the trail.
Very glad we did book ahead because as the afternoon wore on more and more pilgrims were being turned away and having to walk the extra 5km into Sarria. With Frank's knee playing up we were very thankful. The albergue was amazing as well with a huge green grassed area, sun chairs to laze in and the hospitalerio bringing out ice tea. Would have been the perfect place to get the hacky sac out but with Frank's dodgy knee and my stuffed ankle we erred on the cautious side.
The albergue had WiFi and so i introduced Frank and Pieter to AFL through some WCE highlights :)