The 9 o’clock start for dinner here in Spain is just too late for tired pilgrims, so we went down the road to the petrol station and bought chips, biscuits, chocolate and cheezels. That was dinner! Yuk. It is so long since we last saw vegetables, we have forgotten what they look like. Eating sensibly here is impossible. It doesnt get light here until 8.30am so we had time for breakfast and then we took off up the road in the heavy rain and fog. We didn’t talk much as it took a lot of concentration to work out where to go. The roadworks and new rail link for northern Spain has diverted the Camino every which way and it is so confusing!!! We thought it best to take the road route as the locals advised us that the track would be flooded and tough to walk, but which road? We had a couple of false starts and had to turn back. The arrows were pointing in different directions!
Eventually, we found the road we should have been on, put our heads down and trudged in the howling wind and heavy rain, up hill and down dale until we were once again diverted onto a side track. This track turned out to be (I think)the old Camino route, as the further along we got, the more overgrown it was, and the arrows scarcer. Needless to say, we were very lost!!!! But what beautiful scenery…
Large rocks, slippery paths because of the fallen Autumn leaves and rain, scary large dogs, steep inclines and declines, heavy rain and the wind whipping around us, made the going really tough. The sky was black and the mountains looked almost menacing. It was quite scary knowing that we had taken a wrong turn but the thought of retracing our steps over the mountains we had already climbed, was worse. We trudged along and I thanked all the gods that have ever existed for modern technology in the form of my smart phone and it’s GPS.
At one stage, I sent photos to my kids and a message about roughly where I was, as I pictured the headlines ‘Dramatic Rescue From the Depths of the Castillian Forest’. I didn’t tell them we were lost but I think they had some idea that all was not right.
Eventually we found ourselves in a town with a bar, so we peeled off our wet ponchos and hobbled in for a hot coffee so we could work out where we were and where we needed to go. We had been walking for 4 and a half hours and we had added about 6 unnecessary kms to our walk. It was so disheartening. We thought about staying in the albergue there but it was closed because of bed bugs, so we had no choice but to move on, and we stood outside the bar trying to guess where the N525 was so we could at least walk on the edge of the road. We’d had enough bush bashing!
I have no idea how, but after a steep decline, more bush bashing, crossing a river and going over the freeway, we found ourselves on the right road and heading towards the town we were aiming for.
I haven’t mentioned this before but Colleen has an incredibly debilitating phobia about heights and when we cross over any large bridges, she turns into something fully possessed! I’ve never heard anyone swear so much! It’s almost like she has Tourette’s. Today, she worked out that it is her medication that exacerbates her anxiety and she has managed to conquer it. This is a really big deal and I’m very glad because I have claw marks in my arms from her vice like grip and I’m exhausted from running across these sometimes 1/2 km bridges with my backpack on. Often, like today, it is uphill!!!!
Anyway, we finally found our way through another little village, past all the roadworks and into the town we were originally heading for. (Vilavella)
The BEST thing about today is that we crossed the border into Galicia. We only have about 10 days now until we reach Santiago. Such an emotional moment. It has been an epic journey from the south of Spain all the way through Andalucia, Extremadura, Castille y Leon and now Galicia in the north. Can’t believe I’ve actually done this!