Monday, October 12, 2009
You can see what a steep climb that it was out of Villafranca del Bierzo, which is in the background.
The steep hills around here were covered with chestnut trees. The chestnuts were being harvested as we passed by.
Our morning cafe con leche break at a village bar. I am eating my canned albdonigas (meatballs) for my breakfast. Markos is next to me.
Greg buying a walking stick after his trekking poles were stolen. The woman selling them would not budge on her price. Later, Greg found his poles and the person who had them readily gave them up-a long story.
Resting after a hard day's walk. From left to right, me, Erik from Denmark, Greg from Canada, and Markos from Germany.
It is a good life for dogs in this village. Actually, most of the larger dogs like these are used in herding cattle or sheep.
And the cats were just as excited to be here.
This post is for Oct. 11-I was not able to access the internet in the small village last night. Not much for a tienda, either, but we stocked up in a larger town this afternoon. At least there is a bar/restaurant for tonight's meal.
Walked 15.6 miles today (Oct 11), but there was a 1600 ft elevation gain and then a loss of the same amount within the first 6 miles. Also at the there was another 800 ft elevation gain in the last 3 miles. The walk was rather strenuous. Originally I had not planned to walk so far, but it felt pretty good except for the last 2 miles. Instead of walking solo, I walked with a group of three other guys the entire route. And even though it was strenuous, we did not cover the ground as quickly arriving at the albergue close to 3 pm. We did decide not to go all the way to O'Cebreiro, which would have been another 5 km of very strenuous climbing. The weather was about 80 degrees in late afternoon, almost too hot for walking. The hospitalero said it had rained the previous four days, but we had glorious weather today.
The people I walked with:
Erik (58 years old) from Denmark, who is on the camino to as he says decide if he wants to continue in his current relationship.
Markos (33 years old) from Germany, who graduated from the University of Munich in May with a Phd in mechanical engineering. He will start a job with MAN Industries in November working on a project designing Diesel engines for use in large scale portable power plants.
Greg (67 years old) from Canada, who is retired and an avid backpacker. He is on the camino to see if he can do it, is having no major problems, and, like me, is just happy to be alive and healthy enough to be doing the camino.
The albergue is run by a German group and the hospitalero is a German who speaks little English or Spanish. But he definitely communicated to us the fact that before we entered his building, we were to remove our boots and wash them with water and scrub them with a brush. And for good reason. We are in mountainous country with lots of cattle on the same trails, so there was a good reason for the shoe bath!
I am finding staying in the albergues to be no problem and there are some advantages. After a while one gets used to not having so much privacy. Sleeping has turned out to be no problem as the combination of a tired body, ear plugs, and tylenol pm solves any sleeping problems. Any lack of privacy is more than made up for by meeting interesting people from all over the world, simple things like a shared conversation, bottle of wine, cheese and olives, and so on. Most other peregrinos are very easy to talk to and get along with, generally with no complaints are are happy to be on the camino, even with sore feet, aching muscles, and the occasional bedbug bite (luckily I have not had any bed bug bites yet!) By the way, we've discovered Don Simon Vino Tinto, normally about 0.95 Euro ($1.40) sold in a box of 1 liter size!