Day 7, Fonsagrada to Castroverde, 33.7km

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  • Tuesday 7th October, 2014
  • Castroverde: Albergue de Peregrinos, €6

I was in a room with 5 young guys and the only noise that woke people up during the night was the sound of everyone rolling over in bed; those plastic mattresses! When I came into the kitchen after packing my bag, the guys had made a smorgasbord of scrambled eggs, onion, tomato, bread sticks and pasta for breakfast… It’s not the first time I’ve thought this is a very civilised camino!

I left the albergue around 8:30am and made my way out of Castroverde along the road. The forecast was for rain so I was in my full rain gear and it’s noticeably colder now than the first 5 days so my rain pants keep my legs warm because I’m still wearing shorts. The high today was supposed to be 15 degrees compared to the first few days of 22 degrees.

The path quickly turned off the road onto a lovely moss-covered forest track, a little slippery and muddy underfoot but beautiful. After passing through Padron where there’s another albergue, the path started going up and up into hills covered in a thick fog.

Seeing the former pilgrim hospital at Montouto, founded in 1360, was the highlight of my day. It was in use up until the early 20th century and as I walked around it I tried to imagine the pilgrims there (did any have blisters and sore feet from wearing the wrong type of shoes/sandals?) 🙂 One of the buildings looked restored with a nice new door but the other buildings were ruins. It was very atmospheric on a cold, wet and misty Galician morning and I was there all by myself.

I’m really enjoying this camino and enjoying walking by myself again because even though I’m alone for long stretches while walking, every time I come across a bar or albergue, it’s always full of familiar faces from all walks of life and they’re a wonderful gang!

I stopped at the first bar that I came across, Casa Meson, (a lovely stone building with a warm welcome) and had an enormous tortilla bocadillo… So big I shared half of it with Keith from Colorado and it was still too much!

There were some quite steep ascents today that caught me unaware, but it’s wonderful to always be in the forest and only sometimes glimpse the road or hear cars. It was the first day that I thought there were a lack of arrows in many places and I was walking along one forest track for about 15 minutes continually asking Santiago for an arrow so I knew I was going the right way! My two Dutch friends took a wrong turn and ended up walking an extra 8km today, so I’m not the only one who thought the signs were confusing or non-existent! … The confusing part is that now here in Galicia, the shell arrow is used backwards. The design is of a scallop shell with many routes converging into one, describing the many ways into Santiago. When you see one of these arrows you know to turn left or right depending on which way the converged lines are pointing. But here in Galicia it’s the opposite and you often see the shell with an arrow underneath it and both of them pointing in opposite directions!

I passed many old Galician stone buildings and quaint villages and it was a picturesque day, even in the heavy rain. I was like a drowned rat when I arrived at Cadavo where there is an albergue (after 24km) but I had already made up my mind to walk onto Castoverde, a further 9km. It was either walk in the rain for another 2 hours now or walk in the rain tomorrow!

Before leaving Cadavo I tried to warm up a little with a cola cao (Spanish hot chocolate) and the rain stopped whilst I was in the bar, so the last 9km into Castroverde my rain clothes started to dry out, it was perfect! I was a little worried at one point walking though very heavy fog in the forest, but I was on a good track with frequent arrows and there was a road parallel so I knew I would be able to find my way if the fog closed in too much. (A lady had to be rescued a few days ago because the fog closed in on her and she apparently couldn’t see her hands in front of her).

I arrived at the albergue in Castroverde at 6pm and the main dorm room was full, so lucky me, I got my own room with one bunk and no roomie! It’s an incredibly modern albergue with a huge dining room, seating area and terrace, but no washer/dryer and no cooking utensils in the über modern kitchen! I was the envy of everyone having my own room 😉 I went for dinner at Cafe Roma, the owner was very friendly and the wifi was terrific 🙂

My left foot is really not happy, the pain started in my heel, and now is moving up my leg to my thigh and hip, it’s nothing I’ve ever experienced before and I still have my hopes set on buying a new pair of shoes tomorrow when I arrive in Lugo.

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