Just 99.7 miles left ,to go to Santiago de Compostella. The end is in sight, if that will truly be the end. At the start I would have thought 100 miles a long way, now I don't.
We set out as a small group, using headlights and chatting quietly, there are a lot of people setting off. However, with the chatting, we miss a turn and have to backtrack when someone else comes towards us saying they are sure we all missed a turn.
Sure enough we did, one part of the route today took us through a smallish tunnel under a road, filled with spider webs, lots of fun.
We took a gamble at 7.30 to walk off the trail to find this cafe and have breakfast, was not a major detour, and well worth it. You can see all our backpacks sitting outside. People get up early here and we saw this farmer in the cafe having his coffee as well.
His tractor is stacked with barrels for grapes, as it is now harvest season and the fields are full of people picking grapes.
The walk today was not going to be long, but it was steep. Rugged hills, with steep inclines and sliding rocks.
And in every village there are chapels. Not big, but filled with statues. They are not always as bright as this one with the yellow walls, but always feel cool on hot days.
Here we are walking past a farm, with large barrels and baskets for the grapes sitting outside. The trail goes up hill, all we seem to do today is climb.
I have mentioned the cyclists, some are cycling the camino, and some are just cycling, genrally they come along pretty fast and shout out to let you know they are there. This hill beat them all, they had to get off, and begin to push their bikes, but eventually they had to carry them up as it was so steep. Not a problem for us hikers and we sailed past, letting them know we were passing, although of course, we know going downhill they will pass us again. But there was some good natured joking as we passed them. You can see the camino arrow on the rock in the lower right
At the top of the hill it was easy for them, plus a clever entrepreneur had set up a caravan with drinks, toast, snacks etc.
This cross was at the top of the hill and many pilgrims had left rocks, shells, etc as prayers or mementoes of their passing this point. There is a similar famous point on the Camino Frances much bigger than this where people carry a stone/rock from home and leave it at the foot of the cross, a symbol of leaving behind their problems. It is actually called the Crus dos Franceses
At one stage we are walking beneath the vines as they grow over the trail. This part was at least flat. I reach an albergue at Rubiaes, a mere 12 miles. It is early, but I have been having a problem with my right shin the past few days. When I started, I knew I needed to be careful of my knees and had brought sleeves for them to support them. But with the heat I stopped wearing them. My right shin had begun to swell, and as I mentioned the Italian woman we had dinner had given me some home made Arnica oil to help with the swelling. I also used one of my knee sleeves and then wrapped it with duct tape, which I carried as well. I had used duct tape on my feet earlier to protect them as well. Just another duct tape usage. Because of this when I reached this albergue I decided to stop. I then watched people arriving making the decision to walk on or stop.
Here we were up in the hills and as the afternoon went on it got very cold, I was glad I had brought this sleeveless jacket which I wore as I drank hot chocoloate. We were above the clouds and it was a very strange feeling to sit and look down in to the clouds below.
Lots of peole wanted to stay here, and they ended up putting mattresses on the floors and in the corridors to accomodate everyone. We slept in a large room, with about 40 beds in it. Unfortunately for us a large group of Portuguese arrived, they came to be d very late and got up very early and in both instances woke everyone else up with their talking and turning the lights on. The last is a big no, no on the camino. This was our sleeping room.
I had made several new friends during the day and we walked down to a restaurant nearby for dinner. Here we all are, Italian, American, German and Chezck,
Till tomorrow. 346 miles so far, only 88 miles left to Santiago.
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