Day 6, Grandas de Salime to Fonsagrada, 27km

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  • Monday 6th October, 2014
  • Fonsagrada: Albergue Cantabrico, €10

I woke up at 7am feeling very rested and waited until 7:30am when others in the room started to wake up and then someone turned the light on. This Camino is so civilised; lights out at 10pm and lights on at 7:30am, that’s more sleep than I get in normal life! It was still very dark when I left the albergue at 7:50am, sunrise isn’t until 8:30am.

The first part of the trail was light enough but when the trail moved into the forest I needed to get out my headlamp in order to see the path… But only for about half an hour.

The camino was along a road then around fields (to stay off the road) and then I came into Castro which is an incredibly quaint village with stone buildings. The albergue looked like a very nice traditional stone building from the outside but I didn’t go inside. I thought there was a bar here and I was hoping to get some breakfast, but no bar. It turns out the albergue offers meals when you stay there but I had already walked past it looking for the bar so I didn’t go back to see if they would serve brekkie to a hungry pilgrim.

I walked along one stretch of forest track and saw so many different coloured mushrooms, I must have taken at least 30 mushroom pictures! A Spanish guy, Pablo, passed me whilst I was kneeling on the wet ground taking mushroom photos and then he started collecting them to cook for dinner; pilgrims have been collecting them and cooking them most nights in the albergues.

It started raining just as I started to climb a hill to the border of Asturias and Galicia and I’m sure it started raining harder as I crossed into Galicia! 😉 The fog set in as I was over 1000m on top of the hill and I started getting a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to see the path in front of me. Before too long I came to a road and I could hear voices but not see anything, and as I walked towards the noise of the voices, a bar appeared through the fog. I was so grateful as I was starting to shiver from the rain and cold wind and needed food and a hot drink to warm me up. I found 4 familiar faces inside the bar and ordered a cola cao, but they didn’t have any warm food, just donuts and cakes… Although the owner did make a couple of batches of Padron peppers and hand them out, they were delicious.

Pablo was in the bar and I asked him if we could walk together down the hill and out of the fog, so we left together and chatted for the next hour before coming to an amazing restaurant called Quatro Ventos (four winds). We were wet and cold and inside the bar/restaurant, it was warm and cosy and they were cooking a barbecue on a wood fire. It was lunchtime and the bar was filling up with locals. The waitress explained the menu in Spanish to Pablo and the menu del dia (menu of the day) sounded delicious but way too big for lunch for one person so we decided to share it and this was a terrific idea. There was enough food for 3 people! We had a local mushroom scrambled egg dish for the starter then beef with potatoes and salad for the main, yoghurt and arroz con leche (cold rice pudding) for dessert and a glass of the local Rioja… I was in heaven! It is definitely the best meal I’ve had so far. Excluding the wine and rice pudding, the menu del dia was €12, split between two of us, so only €6 each!

It was another 7km into Fonsagrada, through the rain, and we made our way to the albergue Cantabrica, probably the most modern with the best facilities of any I’ve stayed at. They have a boot dryer (like in ski resorts), washing machine, dryer, wifi, small rooms, huge kitchen with all utensils, and plenty of seating area.

I went out for dinner with Pablo and Rik & Rens from Holland and we had a very fun night trying more of the local Rioja 🙂

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