Sunday, October 27, 2013

Gumtrees? Nope, it's an entire Dry Sclerophyll region!

Despite having proper cotton fitted sheets and a room on my own I still didn't sleep that well. Weird isn't it. No place like home! First I was cold, then with a second blanket I was sweating,.... Anyways, woke up relatively early and was aiming to get on the road by 730 for the potentially 30+ km day ahead. Charlene left about 715 and I finally left at 8am in search of breakfast. Good thing I had some yoghurt and a banana as nothing was open this Saturday morning. It was dark for almost an hour as I slogged up the first hill on a wet narrow forest path on search of hot coffee in the next village. Next Sunday summertime in Spain ends and we will have light in the morning.

Rains came and went and came and went regularly, the path was seriously wet, like a river in places. Glad my shoes are awesome. Gumtrees everywhere, this is crazy. Not like the plantation style patches I saw before Santiago, this truly is like home!

I hit a few villages over the next few hours, but none had signs of life. Nothing to do with it being a weekend either, these villages were merely bunches of homes without shops/cafés. The map i have actually tells me if there is coffee, but would I believe the map? I stopped for muesli bars, nuts, chocolates and lollies. A handful of peregrines overtook me during the morning. Not too many, and most I didn't know and most were Spanish or non-English speaking at least.
Then I finally came to the village that had a cafe. It was noon by now. I had eggs and bacon, a couple of coffees and a bottle of water. Replenished my kamelpak, I don't like carrying two litres, so just put in enough for half a day. The barman always looks a little surprised when I ask for a glass of water and our it into my backpack and ask for another two glasses...

And just then Charlene appears. She had taken a wrong turn. Same wrong turn that had me fooled, but I did a quick number two in an adjoining paddock whilst I was well off track. Always take advantage of opportunities when you see them. John from Cyprus and his Taiwanese women was in the cafe as well, and a Danish lady I'd seen a few times before, you certainly can't get away unnoticed on the Camino, even on the way to Fisterre! I told Charlene I'd stop again in the town where I might stop for the night in Santa Mariña, 7kms away, but she said she was definitely going for the 30kms today, all the way to Olveiroa. 
The narrow stone huts used for drying corn are looking older and older. I wonder how many have collapsed and buried a human. Some you see half collapsed! Wind turbines are dotted all over the countryside again. Every time I see them like in the photo below I believe it will be downhill soon, but that wasn't exactly the case. Maybe the track just follows the ridges.
I stopped at Casa Pepa in Santa Mariña for 'lunch' at about 3pm, and despite a fair number of punters seemingly stopping there I decided to have a beer and carry on. Not sure it was wise, but what else can you do in these tiny hamlets all afternoon.

The track continued, following more and more roads, bunches of dogs everywhere, many German shepherds, and many loose. They bark at you, then come up for a pet. I assume if they were biters they wouldn't be loose, and barking dogs don't bite... I know Charlene is a little worried abut them as she got bitten in San Francisco whilst running. I expect her to be ahead, so I might hear her scream if she gets bitten.
The weather keeps on being threatening, but the wind is great and the worst of the rains seemed to avoid me. Come 7pm, well not much change from 7 anyways, I was exhausted when I finally pulled into Olveiroa. I even wore the Vibrams for the last 10kms, despite mainly being wet road. It is a pleasant change to my sore feet and joints. These barefoot runners just make you land on your joints slightly differently so it is nice to have the change.

Located and booked into a perfect little hotel called As Pias with apparently the nicest restaurant. I first had a beer, but needed a shower before dinner. Everyone there had arrived much earlier, like 3pm!!!  Ken from Scotland didn't recognise me I'm pretty sure and I didn't recognised the rest of his company, I spoke to Kerry who was waiting for her French walking partner for the day. The Frenchman asked if I wanted to join them for dinner but I had to go unpack and shower first. On my sore sticks that was not going to be a quick affair. With beer in hand I drooped off to my upstairs room and cleaned up. I had some tea later on my own and disappeared for an early night. Charlene is at the Albergue; she is a bean counter at home, so the spending money in hotels registers more with her than it does for me. No seriously, I can ill afford it too, but I can even less afford to get sick these last few long days of walking. Best spend a couple of dollars extra for a warm comfy room. And seriously, it is not that super expensive anyways at €35 for the night. I put it in the travel insurance budget!

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