Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Padron - Castroverde

Camino Primitivo / Camino Finisterre day 11.
Distance: 31.3km (237.2km), time spent: 8:56 (76:24).
Weather: Foggy, later sun and blue sky.


At three o'clock in the night, a smartphone alarm goes off in the room I sleep in, but there are no one that makes any move to turn it off, it continues to wail until it stops by itself. Not many hours afterwards, Lucas and Rafael whom I am are sharing the room with, are waking up. Later, I can hear their voices from outside and see small lights moving in the dark. They are really in a stress to get off early.

Yet another misty morning walk.

Weather repeats itself, outside there is a grey layer of lightly wet clouds occupying the air. After an initial walk alongside woods and acres in the fog, the route begins to move into higher grounds. It looks as if the clouds cannot decide whether to lift or becoming denser, with the path up to and from Montouto only offering occasional views through them. The small hamlet itself is another travel through time.

View back from Montouto, the clouds provides small glimpses of the outside world below.

The highlight of the day, both in height and experience, is the small Hospital de Montouto, a pilgrim's hospital from 1360. The mountain behind the hospital is hidden in the fog that winds its way around the old stone buildings and substantiates the mystical aura that surrounds the place. A small chapel is standing nearby, where one of the wooden bars that blocks the entrance to the chapel are torn out; probably by one who did it to take shelter inside of it. Francis is feeling like he almost is back on the Scottish highland. It is a delightful place, and the fog does not make it any less atmospheric being there.

Montouto, an ageing hamlet.

Sadly, someone has defecated next to the backside of the hospital. We are here talking about a building from the 1300s and people does not have any more respect for it than using it as a toilet (there are more than enough space to do your business a little bit off the track). Me, Douglas and Francis are just shaking our heads in disbelief and resignation.

Hospital de Montouto, founded in 1360 and in use as late as in the early 20th century

Down from Montouto the path goes through a more modest forest without any highlights until we get to Casa Meson, a pilgrim friendly bar according to my guidebook. The place serves some huge bocadillos, so huge that Francisca gives me a good slice of hers. Typical for the Camino it is also so that these places becomes large gathering points for pilgrims, so there are many people here and the owner of the place is stressed (I do have sympathies for him). It takes so long to get to order a cup of coffee that I instead put on my backpack and walks down to a bar in Paradavella.

Hospital de Montouto scenery, the ephemeral clouds contributes to the atmosphere at the place.

That bar has won a price for serving the best coffee in Galicia three years in a row apparently, and it is truly a good coffee they serve. It is little on the remaining part of the route that can measure itself with the atmosphere around Montouto, but it is still a nice walk afterwards. The clouds did eventually found it too good to be there and moved on; it becomes hot throughout the day. The route now alternates between walking on paths and alongside the tarmac. A new pinecone animal sees the light of day.

Through the woods before O Couto.

When Douglas and I arrives at Cadavo Baleira and the albergue there, we have passed by several small and pleasant villages, with views over a green world with a blue sky above it. In my original plan, I had thought to stay the night here, but that plan has changed. Both Douglas and I wants to walk on further towards Castroverde. We stop for a lunch at the town and leaves it at that. The town itself is not much to talk about, but the name sounds good. Douglas admits that it probably was his alarm that went off during the night, set for a long time ago and then forgotten.

Douglas waiting for a cup of café con leche in the bar in A Lastra.

It is a nice walk after Cadavo Baleira, even though there is small climb in the heat at the start. The route towards Vilabade goes on a pleasant gravel road through the woods. With as much blue sky and as verdant as it is now, my eyes are being bathed in contrasts. Vilabade is a lovely village, which also looks very tidy and well kept. The church has an impressive entrance. I think that both Douglas and I would have stayed if there were an albergue here.

Descent towards Cadavo Baleira.

Madi and Lucy are sitting outside the albergue in Castroverde. We are excited to hear about how their night had been, they continued further from Padron yesterday to sleep in their hammocks. Apparently, it had been a somewhat wet night, due to the humidity, outside the albergue their equipment lies spread out to dry. They are quite tough, so they cope nicely with it.

Vilabade, the church at the village has an impressive entrance and the small place was tidy and well kept.

Castroverde is pleasant small town. I eat dinner together with Douglas, Isabelle, Olivier, Valery, Marine and Klaus. Plato combinado consisting of a large piece of meat, two slices of bacon, pommes frites and a vegetable pâté, all for the sum of 6 euro. This was also the last dinner together with Olivier, Isabelle, Marine and Valery; tomorrow I have a very long day ahead of me and I will not meet them again.

Dinner in Castroverde together with Olivier, Isabelle, Marine, Valery, Douglas and Klaus (not in the picture).

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