Dinner was, again, good last night – the spicy lentil soup which we’d enjoyed the previous night, particularly so. Evidently a Galician speciality :-). Mental note to self, though, to go easier on the local red wine which comes with every meal – the carafe they brought Rosie and I last night must have been a full litre. Though we shared it with our German friend and made no attempt to finish it, less would definitely have been more!
We get a better night’s sleep, despite or because of this, with no snorers in our six bedded room and I’m the first on the move, again, at 6.30 am. We decide to forgo the basic breakfast on offer and head to Portomarin for food and a pharmacy. The cloud is low as we set off and the path descends steeply but, by the time we cross the bridge into Portomarin, the cloud is breaking up and we are treated to lovely views. The toe from which I removed the Compeed last night is much more comfortable today so I buy some gauze and tape from the supermarket and give the other foot the same treatment, getting instant relief :-). Breakfast is less exciting – we’d hoped for churros or maybe cooked eggs but end up with packet croissants again. The freshly-squeezed orange juice is lovely though.
We meet our bravest pilgrims yet in the cafe – a young couple walking with two small girls, maybe three and five years old. When they set off, each is pushing an all-terrain buggy with a sizeable rucksack in it. When they pass us sitting outside tonight’s Albergue, some 16 km later, they have the packs on their backs and a girl in each buggy – brave indeed!
The route from Portomarin is uphill nearly all the way to Ligonde, where we finally stop, and we both find this hard on our heels. The paths and roads are, again, very busy with walkers, particularly at first. The first cafe we come to after Portomarin is some eight km along the route and best described as a greasy spoon truck stop for pilgrims, probably even busier than usual as its drizzling by this time. After this, people are more spread out and there are some lovely woodland sections but with the same, relentless uphill gradient. We buy empanadas to eat on the hoof again, having both found that our feet and legs stiffen painfully after all but the shortest sit down.
We stop at the first small Albergue we come to on the way down the hill about 2 pm, having covered 22 km – just 76 km to go! We don’t really want to reach Palas de Rei tonight and are also worried about getting a bed as there are only 20 in this hostel. This fear turns out to be groundless – we are the only two here for the first hour or so and there are only seven people here in the end! This might have something to do with the fact that, after booking in, we realise there is no shop to buy food, or in-house catering…. It’s also the first place we’ve stayed with no wifi (shock, horror!). Fortunately the place 600 m along the road does have a restaurant, so we will hobble along there for dinner later. We can’t break the pattern of eating like horses AND losing weight. We seem, inadvertently, to have discovered a very effective diet plan!
We doze in our bunks for an hour or so, then sit outside enjoying the sun as our hand washing finally dries. The scene is even more rural than yesterday’s – only the wind in the trees, cowbells and the occasional cockerel crowing to disturb the peace. On a less idyllic note, Rosie has some bites on her legs which might just be bed bugs…