We walked about 30kms from Puebla de Sanabria to Lubian. A significant part of the walking track was diverted to the side of the highway due to road construction. The last 6kms or so was a very pretty, grassyrack heading into mountainous country. Lots of trees and a beautiful entrance into the small village of Lubian built into the side of a hill.
From Lubian to Gudina, a 25km walk up and down, very muddy and crossing a number of small streams and rivers. We crossed over into the province of Galicia and noticed all the cows and cowbells. Very cool winds and not easy to warm up unless walking uphill. A lovely, scenic walk reminding us of New Zealand treks.
Excellent hotel room for the night.
From Gudina to Laza was 35 kms and it took 20 kms to get to the first coffee break. Hard going to begin with but easier afterwards. A very comfortable bed and a much needed sleep. We continued to eat too much food.
From Laza to Xunqueria de Ambia was 33kms along a well marked path through mountains. A challenging walk because of all the ups and downs. We ended up having 3 coffee stops along the way. One of them was at a Bar famous for all the shells hanging on the ceilings and walls with names of peregrinos who pass through. The walk was in perfect weather and was up high most of the way giving us superb views with beautiful spring flowers.
Some Random Thoughts about the Camino
1.Everything in my rucksack
After nearly two weeks of living out of My rucksack I am becoming very attached to it. Not heavy because I only have necessities, it is so liberating to only have to remember about the things in my pack. Each afternoon I usually wash about 4 items of clothing . Thankfully the washing dries quickly and it goes back in my little clothes pack within my rucksack or is set out for wearing next day. Everything I have lives in a special part of my rucksack or in one of my pockets so that I can find sun cream or socks or anything I need immediately.
2. A bit of pain
As we get closer to Santiago and meet more peregrinos and hear more stories it is evident that many people are struggling with the walk in their own way. Various people have abandoned the walk, resorted to taxis or consulted medicos about foot problems. For most of us the pain is bearable and something that seems to disappear once one has walked for a few hours. For me the first hour is the worst. I hate getting up in the dark for a 6.30 am start. Each step seems heavy to take and it’s a matter of warming up the body. Likewise at the end of the day’s walk the toes ache and the calves and a tough mind is needed to keep going.
3. Unexpected surprises
Around 9am there is nothing more restorative and delightful than arriving unexpectedly at a cafe and having a great coffee, usually with other peregrinos. Very uplifting. The other thing which has taken us by surprise a few times is that villages suddenly pop up around the next bend and reaching destinations takes less time than at the start of the Camino. Instead of villages in the distance being a mirage we are now happy to find villages within easy reach. We are getting closer to our main destination, Santiago.
4. Stats on Walkers
This is very unofficial and is based on my limited observations only. Our Camino is no so busy and popular as the French Camino. It seems to attract older walkers and perhaps single walkers. We have met no Australians although apparently there are some. 90% seem to be male, 80% over 60 and most walkers ( including women) are walking alone.Many men we have met have left their wives at home. 90% are from Europe especially France,Holland and Italy and Germany. Not many Spanish.
5. The Camino Community
After 11 days of walking we feel connected to the same group of people that we keep coming across on the track, in restaurants or in our accommodation. People walk at their own pace like the two Dutch ladies who walk 10 km a day and take buses and taxis or the Russian guy who walks over 50km a day. In the last 3 or so days we have settled into walking with a Spaniard living in Switzerland, a Dutch guy and a German guy. They have all walked many Caminos and it makes the journey much more enjoyable and achievable doing it together