Laguna de Castilla to Triacastella
April 27, 2015
8:15 AM to 1:40 PM
5 hrs 20 min for 23.9 Km
Moving average 5.7 km/hr
I cannot remember the last time my hands were so cold. Margaret knows that her hands were frozen like this at the end of our first day of hiking the Beaver Valley this fall. I don’t remember being so cold then; so, maybe my memory has erased that and will soon forget today’s misery.
Margaret did not waste any time waiting for us as she was freezing. Though Casa Olga had a few advertising signs coming into town, there were no directions around two corners and up a steep hill to Olga’s once we were in town. Margaret asked a couple of people for directions, as we did ten minutes later. Since Margaret arrived at Casa Olga ten minutes before us, she had the first hot bath in our three foot long tub. I stripped the minute I was in the room and leaped into bed. Olga showed up with a hair dryer; so, Brian plugged it in for me and pushed it under the covers to thaw my hands and feet. Oh, bliss!
After warming, bathing and changing, we gave Olga our laundry and went downhill with a borrowed umbrella to Fernandez’ bar. We had ordered our full pilgrim meal deal when Kanji and Susie arrived. They joined us for a plentiful meal once they knew Fernandez had a room for them.
We dressed for rain this morning in spite of the forecast that indicated showers and thunderstorm at 3 PM with mostly cloud until then. We had the cloud and fog. We were walking surrounded by clouds and those clouds were pouring or drizzling water on us all day except for two minutes. I wore my gloves until morning coffee but they were then soaked; so, I could not bear to put them on. Ten minutes later my hands were freezing; so, I put my merino socks on my hands. I sure wished they were the kind with toes. It is hard to grip poles with socks on my hands. As my sock mitts were getting wet I withdrew my hands and poles inside my poncho. Then my good husband would give my poncho a jerk now and then to reposition it so that I could see. The poncho kept twisting sideways. It’s extra hard to get a handkerchief out to blow your nose with sock mitts on!
Forget about the camera! I did not take many photos. My hands were too cold, and it was too complicated. For most of the day we could not see more than fifty metres. I studied the ground a lot. It was rocky and muddy. The good news was that for the last five kilometres the path was more fine gravel than rocks and mud. This was the big descent of the day, from 1200 metres to 620. Brian was pleased that his knees were pain free with such a big descent. He is certain that he could not have done this without limping three weeks ago.
We continued to ascend to O’Cebreiro after leaving Laguna. We actually had a breath taking view of our surroundings in the first kilometre before we reached the clouds. We arrived in O’Cebreiro, excited about seeing inside the ninth century church, the oldest on the Camino and one which Peter and Kristin said was a “must-see”. It was closed. We peered in through the bars to the dark church. Nada. We will rely on Peter and Kristin to send us the prayer to La Faba that they saw there.
There were many unique stone dwellings, most with slate roofs but also some round ones with thatched roofs: palloza. We saw a couple of these in Laguna, still being used for farming purposes. Of note, all the metal garbage receptacles had the print of a witch on them. They made me smile on a dark day.
Last night we had the pleasure of seeing half a dozen cows at a time being herded past the inn door, being brought in from the pasture for milking in the village, maybe in the palloza! then back to pasture. There were a few ‘cow drives’, by a man in blue coveralls and baseball cap on horseback past the inn. We found it quite humorous that there was a sign in the bar stating that you were not allowed to remove your boots for hygiene reasons but everyone walked through the mud running with cow dung into the bar.
We are back in our room in Triacastella with munchies and rum and coke for Brian. Margaret is looking up rules for three person card games. We are tired of the ones we have played. We wish we had our Hand and Foot deck but no one wanted to carry in the backpack the five decks required for play.
The forecast is for sun tomorrow then a week of rain. We do not believe forecasts much but we are now in Galicia, the rainiest part of Spain. Apparently the song about the rain in Spain being mainly on the plain simply is not true.
According to our guide, we will be in Santiago in 133.8 kilometres. According to the concrete markers that have been every kilometre since arriving in Galicia, we have 129 to go. The book warns that the markers are not always accurate.