Another delightful day for a walk with only a brief interruption of rain. We started early but not as early as yesterday and we also got to walk some with friends and we are staying in a very nice casa rural. We can’t ask for anything more.
We checked out of the Presidential Suite at the Hotel Ohsoveryfancy at 6:30am and headed straight out of town through the St James Gate. We kept our eye out for a bank to draw some funds and a café to get some Camino breakfast but we didn’t see either. We also kept an eye out for friends and other pilgrims as we passed the albergue our friends were in. Yet again, they had walked 1.5km back up a steep hill into town to have dinner with us, then back down last night. No wonder Gerrit said he would rest instead last night. We didn’t see anyone stirring inside their place at 6:50am so we kept walking.
From the walk into Lugo yesterday, and out today, I started to wonder if the town was protected not just by the walls and the Roman army but also a 100m moat. Both days, we had to walk the steep hill that Lugo sits on top of but also the steep hill that the suburbs sit on. At the top of the steep part across the Miño River from Lugo, we saw a petrol station on the main road that might have coffee but Melanie didn’t want to stop for trucker’s coffee. She said she needed fuel to walk, not something strong enough to keep her awake for 24 hours. By the way, I just realised that the Miño River is also called the Minho River in Portugal. We crossed this river, closer to its mouth, back in 2014 from Valença to Tui on the Camino Portuguese. Store those little facts in your head for some question at trivia night at the pub.
For the remaining 23km, we were almost exclusively on back country roads but these were a little less quiet during the morning rush hour. We had cars passing by every few minutes, rather than the once every hour or two we were used to earlier on the Norte or Primitivo when on roads. There were a couple of chances where the route took us on to very nice natural trails but one of them was about 1.5km and the other only 150m. We did have a few hills including several steep 100m up, down, up, downs in the final 8km after San Román. The scenery usually seemed to be farmland on either side of us, dark clouds overhead and small mountains in the distance.
The highlights of the day were when we stopped. Our first break was about 10km into the walk at a small family run bar in O Burgo. The bar is about 150m off the Camino and actually looked like it was the former barn behind the owner’s house. As we approached, we saw Dominika and Agatha sitting outside the bar with a rather gregarious Canadian woman. They had all passed us just 15 minutes earlier. When we got closer, the Canadian said – far too loudly – that we may have wasted our time walking off the Camino because they only had coffee and bad coffee from a pot at that. Since I don’t drink coffee, I figured that I would keep my backpack on while Melanie got her quick fix. She would have drunk trucker’s coffee at this point. Well what do you know? We went inside and they had a normally stocked bar. I had my Kas de Limon and Melanie was also able to get tostadas with her coffee. While the coffee wasn’t that great, as usual, Melanie complimented the old owner and that thrilled him to bits. He apologised profusely for not having a barista’s machine but that just made Melanie praise it more. That brought out the wife from the kitchen to see just who this was that wasn’t complaining and actually saying nice things. They were so pleased that the brought out a tub of some fruit-based concoction that looked like very thick apple butter. He cut a huge slice of the stuff and asked Melanie to eat it on her toast. It was awesome! I have no idea what it was but he cut me some too and I was happy eating with a fork as well as a stolen piece of toast from Melanie. The sweet couple also proudly showed off the pueblo’s many football trophies that were on display in the bar. We greatly enjoyed chatting with them and to think, we were almost sent away with warnings of bad coffee.
Another stop happened just after the rain hit us pretty hard. We had quickly donned our rain gear, which was made ready at least an hour earlier because of the threatening skies. The rain was the hardest we have encountered yet this trip but we only walked a couple of hundred meters before we got to the tiny taberna in San Román. This place had enough room for a dozen people, at most, on the customer side of the combination bar / café / deli but, because of the weather, we had 11 pilgrims in there, all with our large backpacks and a few of us with our dripping raincoats. When the French couple walked in, shaking off the rain, four pilgrims we don’t know gave up and left. It was a bit of a tight squeeze. Bart and Gerrit were two of the people there so it was good to see them. We waited out the rain for a bit with a very good hot jamon sandwich and some more Kas. That barkeep and his wife were were also very nice to talk to and very friendly. I think the wife was a little worried though, until the skies cleared and people started leaving. We were just in time too, group five or six people came in just as left. That place must do a roaring trade as it is right on the route.
As Bart and Gerrit stopped at a leather workshop for a bit, we caught up with them again and I got to walk with Gerrit some. His legs were sore yesterday so he was not as fast as usual. That’s how I could keep up with him.
Our final stop for the day was in the lovely Casa da Ponte Casa Rural. I booked it by phone and forgot to ask how much it costs. I should find out shortly though when we go down for dinner. If it’s more than 50€, I’m going to tell them that it cannot be as it is not nearly as nice as the Presidential Suite at the Hotel Mendez Nunez. We will see what happens with that.
All our friends are now at an albergue in As Seixas, about 6km in front of us. Today would have been a 34km day for then but it would have been almost ideal conditions for it. The sun came out a bit at the end of our walk but Jens and Janek may have already arrived there and the others would have had only 60-90 minutes in the heat. We may see some of them tomorrow but we never know.
That’s it for today folks. We have three days left before we reach Santiago. It will be an interesting three days I am sure, but we need to get back to real life at some point. I think.
Real life! Ugh