Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Grandas de Salime - Padron

Camino Primitivo / Camino Finisterre day 10.
Distance: 26.5km (205.9km), time spent: 9:23 (67:30).
Weather: Fog, sunny and evening fog.

In the morning, I am glad that I got the last bed space at the albergue; I slept well in the airy basement under the albergue. Something that cannot be said about those who had to sleep on mattresses in the dining room above, where there were one person that got ill during the night and had thrown up.

A walk beneath low clouds after Cereixeira (in the centre of the picture).

It is a repeating fact that the clouds are lying low in the mornings, but in the latter days, they have also become more and more dense. When I leave Grandas de Salime, there is also a light rain in the air. There is just a small possibility that this weather will lift until I reach the highest point on today's route, El Acebo. Instead, Jeroen and I walk beneath the layer of clouds through woods and over fields. It is a quiet mood in the air, so it is an enjoyable walk, no views.

Chao de San Martín, a prehistoric settlement recently excavated near Castro.

Above Castro, you can see the remains of a historic settlement, Chao de San Martín, only the foundations are left. Before the route disappear into the fog when I begin the ascent towards El Acebo, I have left Jeroen behind. Instead, I met Isabelle and later on Olivier. The ascent on the road seems like an eternity in the clouds. Peñafuente appears out of the fog and disappears just as quick again, the church are being refurbished. Glimpses of landscape and houses can be discerned at intervals.

Wandering through the forest, this church emerged in the middle of the trees.

Up the last ascent to the windmills at the top of the ridge there is a small sign of the weather lifting, I can see more of the valley below me. I catch up with three older ladies that I, probably a little bit wicked, call the snails. They are not moving very fast and carries almost round backpacks on their backs. After having finished with the climb, I come to a line of rocks lying like a border across the path, next to them a stone marks that I have crossed into Galicia. Galicia is known for its unstable weather, so that the view is gone is no surprise to me.

The ascent up towards El Acebo and the windmills at the top of the ridge that disappeared in and out of the clouds.

Shrouded in the drifting clouds, I arrive at the bar in El Acebo; Francis, Robin and Kasper are here. There is a sort of quiet calm in my soul sitting with a cup of café con leche, while the wind and the clouds are breathing in my face and the owner of the bar is playing Bob Dylan (...the answer my friend, comes blowin' in the wind). Sitting outside the bar talking to Robin, I mention to him my encounter with the old Spanish man the other day. Which causes him to break out in an astounded laughter and almost falling over, 'You met him you too??'.

The bar at El Acebo. The tones of Bob Dylan floated on in company with the clouds crossing the ridge.

Apparently, it was not just me he had walked up to and asked about masturbation. We laugh out loud, to the point of crying, while Francis looks sort of baffled. We are not finished explaining it all to Francis, before Kasper comes dashing out of the door. 'You met him you two as well??'. It becomes clear to us that the man had gone and asked all the pilgrims he had met, absolutely fantastic, he probably walked laughing all the way to the bar. We continued walking, laughing all the way into the fog.

Inside the bar at El Acebo.

From El Acebo it looks desolate, the fog will not let go on one of the sides of the ridge and I have to walk out on a detour above the bar. There I can look out over the scenery beneath the clouds and barely glimpse the ridges in the horizon. Madi and Lucy, who I am just started to become aquainted with, are passing me by where I am as usual are moving in slow motion when I am in a landscape I like. My imaginary wasteland ends where the route comes to a paved road.

View beneath a layer of clouds above El Acebo.

The walk after joining the road is less exciting, though the weather is now beginning to clear. I arrive at A Fonsagrada uncertain if I want to stay here or continue on to Padron. The town reminds me a little of Melide, most likely since it is yet another town looking like a long line of buildings on each side of the only street. I meet up again with Madi and Lucy in front of the church and we goes to a bar to eat. Francis is appearing, but he is determined to find a place that serves pulpo (octopus). I decides to go to Padron.

Old buildings of stone in Fonfria.

No food is available at the albergue in Padron however, so I have to buy food for dinner (pasta) and breakfast. Padron is just a short walk outside of A Fonsagrada, and is barely a village by the look of it (it is a nice place though). The albergue seems very nice and to my joy, I meet Elke again there. I did not expect that. She had walked by Pola de Allande, after recommendation from David (the hospitalero at Bodenaya) of medical reasons. There are also many pilgrims at the albergue that I am starting to become familiar with, Joe, Annie, Francisca, Rafael and Michal.

From the tapas-fiesta in A Fonsagrada, going from bar to bar having one tapas at each place, concurso de tapas A Fonsagrada.

In A Fonsagrada there is a tapas-fiesta in the evening, Concurso de tapas A Fonsagrada, and most of the pilgrims at the albergue has planned to walk up to the town. I am a little bit uncertain, I would actually like to just stay at the nice place and rest there. Eventually I join the others and let my dinner become free food for some pilgrims that will arrive later. It was the correct choice and I do not regret making the decision. You get a sheet of paper with a list over around 18 places in the town, you can order one tapas at 1.5 euro at each place and then you get a stamp (they do like stamps here) for each place you eat at. If you eat a tapas at ten places or more, you are allowed to vote for the best tapas, each place has only one tapas on the menu.

They shared the Way, they shared their food, they share their name, the Joanna's of Poland. From the concurso de tapas A Fonsagrada.

The evening becomes memorable, we walks around in the town and tries different tapas, I eat about five pieces (the tapas was not small in size). The tapas are given imaginative names like 'Isto non é o que parece' (This is not what it looks like). Everywhere we meet local people and other pilgrims. On the way back to Padron and the albergue, the fog has enclosed the town again and drifts through the streets as if the clouds itself where on the hunt for tapas.

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