Monday, July 20, 2015

Berducedo - Grandas de Salime

Camino Primitivo / Camino Finisterre day 9.
Distance: 20.0km (179.4km), time spent: 7:15 (58:07).
Weather: Overcast before it gradually changed to a cloudless sky.


At least I got a good night's sleep for the money I spent to stay at the albergue here. Today and yesterday where the two days on the Camino Primitivo that I had the greatest expectations for. Expectations are really not good; I often can get quite despondent when they are not met. A peek outside yields a grey sky, again, but the clouds has been in the habit of vanish after a while in the last days. On the way to the local bar to eat breakfast, I pass the church in Berducedo; a pilgrim is sleeping inside the entrance.

Berducedo in the morning.

The highlight of this stage that I have been looking forward to is the view over the constructed lake Embalse de Salime. I have said it before and mentions it again, but water in the landscape brings so much life to it. Before that time, I have to leave Berducedo beneath a pearlescent sky, where the clouds are draped in soft colours. It is a lovely walk in the morning where I am relatively early on the way, around half past seven. Behind me in the horizon, I can see where I came down from the mountain yesterday, Puerto del Palo, in a small gap just below the layer of clouds.

Leaving Berducedo, the sky covered by clouds in soft colours. In the gap beneath the clouds to the right in the picture, you can see the pass that I came down from yesterday, Puerto del Palo.

Alone on the way down towards La Mesa, is the sky about to break apart, the clouds are gradually gliding over into blue sky and back again. In La Mesa, there is a nice and old church of stone, where I find Francis, Robin and Douglas on the grass next to it. Francis and Robin, who are more free souls as they say, has spent the night here.

Walking alone on the road down towards La Mesa.

From La Mesa and over to Buspol, I walk over a hill where I on the highest point has my head in the clouds for a while. The wind is howling as if I am walking in the Scottish moorland, desolate lands, next to me the wind turbines tramples past me like mastodons in the mist. Buspol is yet another tiny hamlet high up, as Montefurado, and there is also a tiny and lovely chapel here. Capilla de Santa Marina de Buspol, which is constructed by flat slabs of stone.

Capilla de Santa Marina de Buspol. A lovely chapel built by flat slabs of stone.

After Buspol, there still is a veil across the sky; but underneath the layer of clouds, I can now look down towards Embalse de Salime. The view is incredible. Below lies the lake like a blue mirror, I can see the ridge that we will cross over tomorrow, El Acebo, and a larger collection of buildings that I assume to be Grandas de Salime. I put down my backpack and sit down on the ground to reverently enjoy the view. Shortly afterwards, Douglas is coming and sits down he as well. While we are sitting and just looking out over the scenery, the clouds are breaking up, amazing.

View after Buspol over Embalse de Salime towards El Acebo.

Today's stage was to offer a real downturn, we are talking height meters, and it begins at Buspol. Downwards the route goes on a nice forest track where you can see Embalse de Salime from several viewpoints, with a series of cliffs with a direct view down towards the lake the most beautiful of them. The descent in itself is by far as bad as it sounds like. For the most part, it is just pleasant. I have to make one of my pinecone animals, which I place on the top of a waymarker. On the way down, I can hear voices in the woods, which quickly passes me by, a young boy and a young girl going at a high pace.

Great view over the Embalse de Salime from some rocks on the way down to the lake from Buspol. Me, Douglas, Francis and Robin had a longer break here to enjoy the view.

I am very hungry by the time I am down at the dam, the little breakfast this morning is entirely spent. The hillsides alongside the dam are lined up with abandoned buildings. It is very tempting to go and jump out into the water, Robin is on his way out to take a swim. I have felt the heat on the body for a while now, but my stomach screams more. So, I go up to the Hotel Las Grandas that lies above the dam. The two Polish pilgrims, Mateusz and Joanna, are at the hotel in the same errand as I am, hungry. A third Pole, Joanna, arrives shortly after.

The last section of the walk down to the dam went in zigzag through the forest.

After over an hour of rest on the terrace outside the hotel, with a large bocadillo and drinks, I set off again. The walk is continuing on a paved road and the temperature is soaring. The sun is baking on the way upward and my refill of water are rapidly diminishing. The view down towards the lake and across to the other side where I came down from, are on the other hand impeccable. The last part of the walk towards Grandas de Salime is fortunately going on a shaded forest path.

Embalse de Salime.

In Grandas, I get the last free bed. Douglas is already here, and I was certain that he was behind me, he must have passed me by while I was at the hotel (I thought I was going to see him there). There are many pilgrims here that I have not met or seen before, and we are wondering where they all came from. I learn that one of the couples I have met are actually from Argentina and not from Spain, as I believed. The Brazilian family is here, they was a little bit surprised to see me, believing I was farther ahead on the Camino.

Going towards Grandas de Salime on a scorching hot road after having left Hotel Las Grandas (to the left in the picture).

The town of Grandas de Salime is by the look of it a pleasant small town. Together with Douglas, Jeroen, Valery and Marine I spend some time trying to find a recommended place to eat, but after going back and forth we eventually finds it. The dinner is worth the hassle of finding the place. In the evening, I sit outside the albergue together with Klaus, Rafa and Raul (the young Spanish brothers), the Malaga boy (who now has a really nasty looking blister on his left foot), and another pilgrim.

Yet another great day. Walking beneath soft coloured clouds, misty mountain hop and a fantastic view over Embalse de Salime. Today you can say the expectations were met.

Grandas de Salime.

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