A very peaceful night. They managed to get the fire extinguished and our room was snore-free. I feel rested and ready for the day’s walk. The rain prediction is unfortunately spot on and it’s time to try out my Dry-Mac and poncho. At the moment it is only a light rain and I’m hoping it’s not going to get worse.
In La Potela de Valcarce we pass a Casa in the most beautiful setting. It has a deck overlooking a big fish pond with a backdrop of rolling grass and forests behind. It is called El Pescador. A bit of coffee in this beautiful setting might just warm the cockles. The place is owned by a very friendly Russian couple that gathers us in from the wet like a hen her chicks and makes us feel right at home. It is nice and warm inside and when they offer us some bacon and eggs – well, how can we resist?
Fuelled up and warmer we carry on in the rain.
The route eventually leaves the tar road and heads up through the forest (I was longing for yesterday). In the mist and rain it takes on a really mysterious and magical feel.
It is raining harder and harder now and walking in this weather is no longer a pleasure. We take refuge in an Albergue called El Refugio. It is run by a group of really “earthy” people and is known for their delightful vegetarian menu. They are busy bottling all kinds of vegetables and other produce while we sit and have our second cup of coffee for the day. It would be a nice place to stay over, but they are already full. We wait out the worst of the downpour and head onwards and upwards.
Eventually the rain lets up for a little while and I wonder if we might actually be able to reach Hospital de la Condesa as planned. My thoughts have hardly gone cold or we are caught in a torrential downpour. We are going uphill on a very slippery slope. The rain is coming down so hard I can hardly see in front of me and I have to step carefully to avoid slipping in the mud. My raincoat is saturated and my legs have turned a light blue colour from the cold. We basically run up the last kilometer or so up to O’Cebreiro to avoid frostbite. Drenched and frozen we finally book into the Xunta de Galicia. It is only €6 for the night, but we are sharing the room with 59 other people. In the rain there is no time to look around for anything else and I’m sure by now most places are full already. I’m just glad I had a good night’s sleep last night! At least there are a lot of showers and the water is hot.
Dried off and warmer we head into town looking for somewhere hot that sells something hot. We come across Senta Cella and the warmth inside due to the oven in the main room decides it. We stay for a hot vegetable soup and chicken stew. Slowly the numbness dissipates and my personality returns (of course the glass of wine also helps). We eat as slow as possible so that we won’t have to go out in the cold again or back to the Albergue and is joined by two Canadian ladies who seems to have the same plan. Senta Cella is run by three ladies who is doing a fabulous job of it!
Eventually the rain lets up and reveals the most beautiful, quaint medieval village. I can finally take my camera out and head out to explore. The place is quite small and after seeing the church, two little curio shops and the grocer the only place left is the hotel. Evidently a lot of famous people have stayed there before. We strike up a conversation with a fellow pilgrim and end up sharing a glass of wine with her.
Later we head back to Senta Cella. It is raining again and doesn’t look like it is going to stop anytime soon. All around town they have warned the pilgrims not to go down the mountain path the next day as it will be extremely slippery and very dangerous.
I am not willing to take the risk of either of us getting hurt. The bus might be the wiser option tomorrow?
I cannot eat a full meal again after our sizeable lunch and decide on the delectable local cheese covered in honey for a light supper. By 11:00 we have no choice but to head back to the Albergue to attempt a semblance of sleep.
It turns out with 60 people in the room, sleep is merely a pipe dream…
Trabadelo – O’Cebreiro 18km