Tag Archives: Barbadelo

Power Angel

Barbadelo to Eirexe
Sunday 30 November

The days are getting shorter. It was still dark when I had to leave to alburgue at eight. There was no street lighting in this tiny village, so I searched for my headlamp and found my fluro reflective vest from my cycle trip. It was windy, but not cold. I needed coffee. My head was full of cotton wool, I hadn’t had the best nights sleep. Eight kilometers to coffee. I trudged on. To my surprise and delight, I saw a bar open only half an hour along the route. Coffee.

As I was leaving a Spanish couple who had been the only other guests at the alburgue arrived, they were soaking wet. It was raining. I put on my rain gear, and ventured out. It wasn’t heavy, and only lasted ten minuites before it warmed up again. I was feeling much better after something to eat. I had my day mapped out. I would stop again in an hour and a half for second breakfast, then should arrive around lunch time in Portomarine. I had decided I would have a big lunch today, as it seems to give me energy for the afternoon’s walk, and then I don’t need a big dinner. Portomarine sounded like a large town, so should have some restaurants open.

I passed a marker – only one hundred kilometers to Saintiago! It seemed too soon. I arrived in Ferreiros just as church was finishing. The bar next door was crowed with the faithful. They were all keen to wish me Buen Camino. I ordered a coffee, but they had no food. Not far further on was a small shop, they had a selection of homemade tarts. It was hard to choose. I selected an almond and apricot one and wolfed it down. Perfect.

The walk was mostly uphill today, then a steep decent to cross the Large Mino River, climbing again into Portomarine. I looked for a Resturant facing the river, and was in luck. High on the cliff, with a magnificent view, was a glassed in dining room. I ordered the Menu del dia. Steamed mussels with salsa, trout, and creme caramel. The sun shone through the window. The food was excellent, except for the dessert, which came presented in the Nestle plastic cup. They could have at least pretended it was homemade. Oh well, I had had my delicious dessert earlier.

I had planned to stay in a village called Hospital in another twelve kilometers. It was all uphill, but after my big lunch, my pace had increased. I was making good time. Soon I had caught up with a German man, the only other person I had encountered walking today. Strange, the last one hundred kilometers are supposed to get busier. He said he was trying to walk fifty kilometers today, and was feeling a bit tired. I had inspired him to continue, he called me his Power Angel. He said he needed a Coke, but I would work just as well, and help him speed up. We arrived in Hospital sooner than I had planned, and I still wanted to walk. He was continuing to Palas de Rei, but I didn’t want to walk in the dark. I said I would continue to the next open alburgue. He had done the Camino before, but came back every year to walk the last one hundred kilometers. He said he wanted to do it in three days. He told me how Germany was the best country in the world to live, as they have lots of rules. He has two young daughters, and has their careers mapped out for them. One is going to be an architect, the other a dentist. I asked was that their choice? He said no, that is what he has decided. He was very German. We walked for another five kilometers to Eirexe. The light was fading and the alburgue was open. I said I would stop for the day. Before he continued we went to the bar so he could have a Coke, a replacement for his Power Angel.

The Wrong Path is the Right Path

Triacastela to Barbadelo
Saturday 29 November

Out of Triacastela there were two routes, one via Samos, and the other six kilometers shorter, and supposedly more rural. I had decided on the shorter route, as I had planned to walk to Ferredios which was about thirty two kilometers the shorter way. I turned right at the turn off, as instructed, but after a while was following the river. The other route follows the river. The walk was lovely, along a narrow leaf strewn muddy path. Delightfully soft underfoot. Gnarled twisted trees, covered in mosses and lichen, dappled sun through the almost bare branches. The cool clear river crisscrossing my path. I soon passed a town that I reccognised from the map that was on the other route. I was definitely on the wrong path. However it seemed right for today. I wasn’t going the turn back, via Samos it was to be. Vamos to Samos, as the graffiti read.

As I approached the town of Samos, I could see the huge Benedictine Monastery in the valley below through the mist. It looked eerie and spectacular. Yes, I had chosen the right wrong path. I continued down the steep road, entering the town. I circled the monastery, to see if I could see beyond the walls. There was a door open, and I saw a couple of pilgrims. I entered a small shop, and asked if I could go inside. There was a tour starting in ten minutes. I waited the required time, then the lady closed the shop and led me through the large double wooden doors. I was the only person on the tour, and she spoke good English. She led me through the two large cloisters, and upstairs into the church. Explaining the history, and many details. There are now only fourteen monks living here. Upstairs one elderly monk approached us and asked if I spoke Spanish. He then spoke to my guide who explained that he had been talking about the young monk in the garden below who was picking the last of the persimmons from the many trees, and doing some pruning – apparently he was ‘doing it wrong’. Young monks, like young people anywhere.

The tour finished and I went in search of coffee. Another pilgrim I had previously met was in the bar, so I joined him for a sandwich and a glass of vino. My quick stop extended to two hours, I better get a move on. The afternoon’s path continued to delight.

The fools in my head were presenting all sorts of possibilities today. I was unsure of whether to believe them, and asked for a sign. I hadn’t noticed any reference to owls for a few days, which seems to have become a totem of late, and thought that I might see one along the path. I came across a house, with all sorts of strange dolls and objects around the garden. I pulled out my camera, then noticed it right in the middle – a large cement owl staring right at me. Perhaps the wrong path is the right path.

Later I saw a flock of sheep, and a sheep dog sitting in a nearby car. Dogs don’t usually faze me, so I said hola, and he jumped out of the car. I though he was coming over for a sniff, but he circled me, then gave me a nip on the leg. I was more shocked than anything, and concerned about rabies. I pulled up my leggings, but it hadn’t really drawn blood, just scratched the surface, more like a bruise. I applied Bettadine, and will keep an eye on it.

Moving on, I thought I saw the man I had had lunch with earlier, but as I approached realised that it was not. This man had all sorts of anti abortion posters and information hanging from his pack. There was prolife graffiti all along the path today, perhaps he was responsible. I quickly moved past, not wanting to engage.

I arrived in Sarria later than expected, and I was getting tired. I didn’t want to stay in this large town of thirteen thousand. I wasn’t sure I had the energy to make it another twelve kilometers before it got dark. There was another small town about one hour away, hopefully they would have an alburgue open.

It was five o’clock by the time I arrived in Barbadelo. I walked through the town, but couldn’t find a alburgue open. I would have to trudge on for another two hours. Luckily it wasn’t raining. As I left the town, I noticed an alburgue and went to see if it was open. To my delight it was. They said they had no food, but there was a nearby Resturant that would open at seven. I settled in for the night.