Great day. Tiring day, but great day.
Throughout the night, the man in the bunk above me talked in his sleep. The first time, he talked for quite awhile. By the time it woke me up, I wasn’t sure what he had said, but a lady in another bunk thought it was hilarious and had a good laugh. The second time, I was awake and heard him as clear as a bell, “I’m gonna just keep walking! I’m gonna walk as far as my feet will take me!” Funny that even in our dreams it’s all about the camino.
We left El Ganso early this morning expecting rain. Looking at the forecast last night, it looked as though it would be a wet day. Now that we are nearing the Galicia region, we need to be prepared for more rain. This wasn’t the case today. Thankfully it wasn’t as hot as some previous days we have experienced, and we were grateful for that seeing as we had a pretty good elevation to climb.
After talking with some pilgrims in the albergue last night, we had braced ourselves for a steep climb. We knew that the iron cross was atop a mountain, but from our paperwork, were not expecting it to be too difficult until some conversations last night. Bah! I hate climbing mountains!
We started off in the cool morning air enjoying the views, animals and other pilgrims. We stopped for breakfast 7km into our walk at a great little bar with probably the best breakfast we’ve had. Karis had bacon, eggs and fries and mom and I had tea and toast. A nice change from the usual croissant. A couple of big, huge dogs swarmed us while we ate. Karis named them Peaches and Fergus.
Shortly after leaving this village, we came across a Shepard herding his sheep into a lower pasture over the path. That was really neat to watch. We walked through the herd as we continued.
We made pretty good time getting up to the iron cross. This cross is where pilgrims carry a stone to. We each brought a rock from home. This stone symbolizes your burdens in life and you are encouraged to leave it and your burdens at the base of the cross. It was very moving seeing all of the rocks, notes, pictures etc that have piled up for years and years. Definitely an important camino stop.
We thought that once we reached the iron cross, the trail would start to dip down the mountain. This was not so. It did on occasion, but still would climb quite often. Overall though, even though it was a higher elevation point compared to the Pyrenees, it was nothing, NOTHING like climbing the Pyrenees!
We stopped a few times for a small break, and met two sisters from holland who spoke great English. (One is currently living in West Virginia) they just started their camino yesterday in Astorga and were very excited of course! This is the great thing about the camino. It is what you want it to be. No rules. You walk it any way you want. No matter how short or how long. No camino is the same – and that’s okay!
We also met a father and daughter from Minnesota today. Vince and Macy. They have been great to talk to. Macy is 19 and they are also here with Macys 21 year old sister who has walked a bit further ahead today. She is in the next village. We’ve also enjoyed talking with a mother and her 16 year old daughter from Oregon. They were a in our Albergue last night as well as tonight. We all had dinner together, and briefly talked with a couple from Vancouver also. Finally some Canadians! We haven’t seen any in almost 2 weeks!
At one point during our walk today, we accidentally went off the trail. It was a little unsettling. A short time earlier, we had paused at an albergue in he middle of nowhere so Karis could maul their cat (we named it Pork Chop). While she snuggled this kitty, a man had briskly passed us. We smiled and shared, “Buen caminos” as he continued on. About a half hour later as we wandered down a road with NO yellow arrows, uncertainty filled our heads. Everyone says you will go off track at least once, and this was our time. After continuing on for about 3km, we finally saw the path on the hill just above the road we were on. Such great relief!! We excitedly hiked back up to where we should be and almost immediately I needed a break. The outside of my left foot was quite painful. I removed my shoes and discovered that a large blister had popped underneath the compeed. I decided then that I would finish the last 5km or so in flip flops.
As I was changing my shoes, the same man who had passed us nearly an hour earlier passed us again while we sat. He nodded at us as he walked by – and then – he did a double take. We waited until he was out of sight and then burst into laughter! Apparently our misfortunate turn when we thought we were lost, was actually a short cut! Awesome! 😉
The albergue we are in tonight is attached to a very nice restaurant where we spent a few hours chatting with other pilgrims. It was a great evening. Once we were enjoying our meals, the rain began. And boy did it rain! Thankful we were finished the 28km that we did today before that started.
Off to bed. Another early morning will be here soon. This will have to be posted tomorrow. No wifi up in the rooms.