Distance to go: 75.7 Kms
I had a great nights sleep. Debbie had an OK night. We woke to the alarm at 6am. It was a lovely morning to go walking. Cool and bright. The stiff wind yesterday had dropped to a gentle breeze still from the north off the Bay of Biscay. It kept the temperatures cool such that we walked in shirt sleeves but as soon as we stopped we needed another layer for warmth to stop getting chilled.
Today was a day of long but steady climbs and descents on roads and woodland paths. We were accompanied by what seemed like school kids chaperoned by adults in groups of 20 to 30. We dropped back to let them pass on ahead to get a little bit of quiet as we walked. The scenery was so much like home. Everything is green and mainly deciduous woodlands dotted with small dairy farms. We are rarely alone anymore so it is wonderful when we get the chance to spend some time walking together with nobody else around.
The first stretch was 2.2 Kms to the village of Portos. We carried on through passing the small cafe. Our guide book showed a cafe at the next village of Brea another 3 kms ahead. We would have walked about an hour and a half by then and thats enough to warrant a stop for refreshments and let the knees and legs rest after the ups and downs of the day. We got to Brea. The cafe was closed. Disaster! Nothing else to do but move on.
We walked another 3.5 Kms to the town of Palas de Rei. This was rather a grey and uninteresting place. The cafes were either closed or not appealing at all. We stopped briefly at San Tirso church where for a small donation we got our pilgrim credential stamped.
We passed through and stopped in the hamlet of Carballal for a drink of water and a cereal bar to make up for the lack of anywhere nice serving teas and coffee.
We passed through some small hamlets and other than some cattle and a few chickens we saw nobody. This really is a very sleepy corner of the world. It was around 10am. Where is everybody? We passed San Xulián which had a cafe. It was closed.
This was turning out to be a harder day than we thought it would be. We moved onto the next village of O Coto. A cafe was open. Now you would not have thought that cafes were so important on the Camino but they are essential. They are the chance to rest, catch up with fellow pilgrims and take a break. Of course you could take a break at any time by sitting on a wall but it is not the same thing. The cafe at O Coto was packed full which makes me wonder why all the others were closed. We sat and had tea and coffee and a big hearty sandwich. Sylvia, our German lady friend turned up. It was great to see her again.
We moved on for the final push into Melide. It was rather a dull walk through industrial parks interspersed with some woodland on gravel paths. There is a steep descent onto a lovely old bridge at the eastern entrance to the city. Passing some cafes full of very noisy locals we moved on into the town centre. I dont know what it is about the towns in this part of Spain. They all seem a little run down and grubby. Cigarette ends and rubbish lie around. I do hope the pilgrims are not doing much of it. The locals would really not like us for that.
After a bit of wandering around town we found our albergue. We are staying in albergue San Anton. It has only been opened since April this year. We got a warm greeting from the hopitalera Rocio. For our €10 we were given a bar of soap each, a first on the camino so far, a pillow and mattress cover and shown to our dormitory. We both have a bottom bunk in a room of 8. It is very clean and tidy and well presented and centrally located.
I am sitting in the garden under a tree typing this. It is all rather lovely. Rocio says I must try the local speciality of pulgo Gallega. Octopus. I have seen it. I dont mind calimari but octopus just seems a little tentically. My spell checker does not like that.
Distance walked today: 22.3 Kms.