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Day 30, Triacastela


View Deb's Camino de Santiago de Compostela on Deb Godley's travel map.

Up early and left at 6:30 in the dark, walking along side a road with very little traffic. The route was a bit disconcerting because there were so few way markers and they were hard to see until you were going the right way.

After a few k on the road, there was a choice - road option for cyclists (longer, but on the road, so potentially less steep) or left on the dirt path for walkers, which I soon learned was also for the horses. I had to watch my step and not just for rocks.

It was a steep switchback rocky path and promises more of the same for the next 5k to the top and O Cebreiro. Based on my planned stopping point, most of the descent will be tomorrow. My 12k after O Cebreiro will be relatively flat.

I like the ceramic table top at this bar in La Faba. Also, last night I took a pic of these worn out boots that had been put to good use as planters.

Here in Galicia, apparently, precision is very important. The way markers include the distance to Santiago to three (3!) decimal places. This is unbelievable after the contradictory distances reported throughout. Early on, I saw 597km to Santiago, followed 28 km later by 595km to Santiago. A couple of days ago I passed three signs about 5 k apart saying 204, then 211, then 200 km to go.

I am having trouble believing that someone has not only calculated the walking distance to three decimals, but thought that we pilgrims would need that level of detail.

Taking a shoes-off break in Hospital da Condesa for a bocadillo con jamon y tomate. I'm deciding how far to go today. It's another 6.3k to Fonfria, where I had thought to stop at the 22 k mark. My original plan had me reaching Triacastela, which would be another 9 k, making this a long day.

I like the idea if catching up, but I can still get back on track the day after tomorrow without any long days. I also hear the albergue in Fonfria is a nice experience with a communal dinner (no other options). On the other side of the argument, this a really nice day, not too hot and there are beautiful views. It also makes sense to get the descent over with and not on the dark tomorrow morning. I'll just see how I feel after my break and sandwich...

A few km after leaving Fonfril, there was Marta sitting on a stone wall just waiting for me to walk by. Great to re-connect with her and we walked here and both plan to continue into Triacastela.

Arriving in Triacastela I have not yet seen three castles, but since that is the name of the town (pop 900, making it relatively large), I hope to see some signs of a castle or three this evening.

I am staying in the Complexo Xacobeo albergue ("x" is pronounced like "sh"), which is very large, clean and run by a very nice hospitalero who does not speak any English. We've communicated in broken Spanish and hand signals and so I have successfully showered and put my clothes in the wash. I know, I could wash them by hand, but a washing machine, when available is so nice. I'll hang them to dry, I swear.

I ended up deciding to continue to Triacastela instead of staying in Fronfil because, frankly, I didn't like the look of the place. I'm sure the albergue is nice enough and the meal would have been lovely, but I arrived at 1:45 and would have had to spend 8 hours before bed in a place that was not a town. It was more like a farmyard, with various animals wandering around and there was manure everywhere (I'm sure it was clean inside, but I don't want to spend 8 hours inside). I decided a 2.5 hour walk was worth it to get to somewhere I was willing to spend time. This place is so nice, it was definitely worth it.

The extra distance meant I walked 33 km today and it was a tough go. One section was so steep it was just like going up a steep set of stairs, but without steps. At the top I could see something orange, which eventually turned into an umbrella at the bar at the top. It seemed to be in the middle of nowhere.

On the whole, it was uphill for about 15 k or so, then downhill the rest. The downhill was not as steep as I'd been fearing and the steepest sections were on pavement rather than loose gravel. On the way up, I resented every little down section, because it represented further I'd have to climb. Same on the way down. Marta laughed at me when I complained about a short upward climb, saying I must be having a long day.

I'm not sure the picture clearly shows the steepness. This was a path I'd just climbed that felt very steep, at least until I was shown what steep really means leading up to the orange umbrella.

Looking forward to dinner; I'm hungrier than I expected to be, since we stopped for a snack 4k before Triacastela. We're meeting for dinner at 7. Gotta get the laundry done..

I forgot to mention, Catherine (KC) said they stayed in Fonfril and "had a very interesting evening". I've asked what that meant and explained that I decided not to stay there. I'll be interested to hear whether " interesting" was good or not so much.

After dinner at the restaurant attached to the albergue, Marta and walked around town a bit - there isn't much town, so a bit was all there was to do - ending up at the church and graveyard.

I missed seeing the church as it was closed, but Marta and I "broke into" the graveyard, through which you have to walk to get to the church (odd in itself). Well, we just pushed the gate extra hard since there was no latch or lock.

Anyway, I found it interesting. In contrast to the graveyards I am used to, none of the graves appeared to be below ground. All of the graves except one had a nice flower arrangement, almost all artificial flowers, but they looked nice. One grave, however, was surrounded by a rusted old fence and a gate, which could be opened - don't ask how I know - but the area inside the fence was overgrown and smelled like rotten vegetation. It was odd and we wondered at the significance of it.

Finally, we parted, and since Marta is going home tomorrow and we may not see each other again, we took a last selfie together.

All the uphill today has resulted in a sore butt - those glutes get a workout going uphill. I woke up this morning with a bit of a sore back, although it seems better than it was. It may be more than just the path going downhill!

Just about time for bed.

Shoe planter

Shoe planter

Highly accurate sign

Highly accurate sign

Steep, I swear

Steep, I swear

A way-marker on the back of a car

A way-marker on the back of a car

Last selfie with Marta

Last selfie with Marta

Graveyard

Graveyard

One different plot

One different plot

Me and a statue

Me and a statue

Gorgeous view

Gorgeous view

Map, just before O Cebreiro

Map, just before O Cebreiro

I love the ceramic tiles

I love the ceramic tiles

Posted by Deb Godley 17:37 Archived in Spain

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