Friday, July 24, 2015

San Roman da Retorta - Melide

Camino Primitivo / Camino Finisterre day 13.
Distance: 28.2km (306.0km), time spent: 8:47 (97:47).
Weather: Cloudy and light rain, then overcast, before lightly cloudy in the evening.


It is with a strange feeling I wake up in the morning, today is the last day on a 'pure' Camino Primitivo. In Melide, the primitive route follows the same way as the Camino Frances to Santiago de Compostela. From that point on, I can expect meeting considerable more pilgrims. In San Roman da Retorta, it is in that respect significantly quieter in the morning. The breakfast stands ready when we wakes up, and is by no means sparse; a big thumbs up for that.

Dark clouds in the morning on the Roman way from San Roman da Retorta.

Rain outside; it is dripping from the trees. From the albergue, the Camino goes on what was once upon a time a Roman way, Via Romana. There is little reminding of the Romans along the way, but that will have to do. The world is looking tired in the morning. At a junction Douglas and I gets confused as to which way is the correct, even though there is a sign marked with Via Romana on, it points to a track that returns in the same direction as we came from. We do what you never should do, but are always done, in a horror more and split up. The direction the sign is pointing is of course the correct way. I make an arrow on the ground to help eventual pilgrims following in our footsteps.

Yellow arrow points the way towards flowers.

This might be the darkest walk so far on my Camino. Where it before were just clouds and fog, these are now dark in addition. My mood is however not dark. I walk, together with Douglas, past villages where we wonder what the villagers makes their living of, past landscapes in mist, past my own high expectations. We take a break in Ferreira, while we for a short while can observe sunlight.

San Jorge de Aguasantas.

A horreo and old buildings at the entrance to As Seixas.

As Seixas, I like that name. I originally wanted to go here, in the same way as Cadavo Baleira. This place is a lot nicer, as it also is smaller. Against a grey background, I can see the cliffs rise up from the crags that I have been looking forward to see today. The modern albergue here looks nice; already one pilgrim is sitting outside waiting for it to open. Douglas and I stop for a break at the bar in the village, Casa Goriños, which is a nice place. Pablo, Rocio, Pol and Caty (who I first met yesterday in O Candido) also stops for a break here. The walk here has been good, but we are moving on.

Scenery above As Seixas.

When I feel the raindrops on my head as Douglas and I are climbing up from As Seixas, I notice that I again feel somewhat disappointed. I got to experience the Hospitales route in great weather, both the pass over El Acebo, Hospital de Montouto and now the landscape above As Seixas that I have been looking forward to have been in fog and grey weather. It is however only a short disappointment, which I quickly shakes of me. The rain only lasts for a short while and the landscape is not disappearing into the weather either.

Waymarker extended with the colours of the rainbow at Hospital das Seixas.

Above As Seixas the route climbs up into the crags, where rock and cliff formations pushes themselves up from the ground, to me it is beautiful. Unfortunately, I know that this part of the route does not last too long, so we walk slowly to enjoy it while we can. The path continues further up past Hospital das Seixas, barely a hamlet in time, and up towards the highest point of today, just below Monte do Hospital. A signpost is moving slowly in the wind, Concello de Toques; it is rusty and contains several bullet holes. On each side of the pass there are roads leading further up into the barren landscape. Our way goes downwards again.

The descent from Monte do Hospital, Melide in the horizon.

Herding and tired buildings in Vilouriz.

We come out of the woods to more desolate looking views; we can see Melide in the horizon. From now on, the route goes more on tarmac, which is nice the first part down from the hills, but becomes more boring when it reaches the level ground before Melide. You walk through the usual small villages. Pause at the bar at Villamor, but the locals at the place are making so much noise that we are not staying very long.

Another example of an abandoned house left to decay, still for sale though. In Villamor.

In Melide, we have places in Albergue Alfonso II; it is a nice and clean albergue. And we have now arrived in the flow of pilgrims on the Camino Frances; in the town you cannot rest your eyes somewhere without seeing a pilgrim. You pass by groups of pilgrims telling the same stories, stories about walking in the dark, about the yellow arrows and how the Camino provides. When I walked the French way for (almost) four years ago, my dad and I walked through Melide. I get to see more of the town now.

Dinner in Melide together with pilgrim, Rocio, Pablo, Pol, Caty and Maribel.

I eat dinner together with Pablo, Rocio, Pol, Caty, Maribel and another pilgrim in one of the famous pulperias (restaurant that specializes on pulpo, octopus) in the town, Garnacha. I am allergic to octopus, but they have other delicacies on the menu. It was a nice day today, I am anxious of how the life on the Camino will be from now on, when I become engulfed in the vortex of the French way.

<- San Roman da RetortaArca O Pino ->

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