Yesterday afternoon was cold. It was also long. Eating lunch in a warm bar and journaling there for as long as it was polite without buying more food helped. So did the lovely lady who gave us icecreams for free (they didn’t help the cold, but I have never known my kids to turn down an ice cream!) It was raining out. There was nothing to do. The albergue did not have any common area for sitting – just one big dormitory absolutely full of people and packs and wet socks on heaters and raincoats and sodden clothes draped everywhere. We lay on beds, cold and waiting for nothing! Actually we talked and laughed and had a generally good time too, but there was a real sense of nothingness. A lot of people spent as long as they could manage revising their plans. We were among them. We were meant to be taking it easy through this mountain section, walking short distances, enjoying the views, allowing plenty of time for watercolour painting. But the water from the sky changed all that. The kids started dreaming of getting to Santiago a day earlier. In Santiago you can buy churros for breakfast and salad for dinner and there’s a lady who sells home-cooked three course meals for under 3 euros. The kids are getting a bit sick of bread and cheese for breakfast, bread as a snack on the path, bread and salami for lunch, and for dinner – soup made from jars of lentils or chickpeas and tins of peas and corn and tomatoes, served, of course with more bread. We reached the consensus that if it was going to rain all day (as per the forecast), it would actually be better to be walking. So we abandoned thoughts of short days in favour of a holiday at the end. That meant today would be 35km, tomorrow will be similar. Amazingly, the kids RAN into the village at the end of the day in an attempt to outrun a shower of rain. It was definitely not too strenuous for them, despite being uphill most of the day with a steep stony downhill in the middle.We had an elevation gain of 876m and maintained an average speed of 5km/hr. Not a bad effort.
Near the beginning of the day the rain cleared for a moment and I grabbed a photo, thinking there should be at least one for the blog!
A while later we noticed it had stopped raining, clouds parted to reveal more hills and there was even blue sky appearing. No one was complaining about the faulty weather forecasting!
We had set off with Vivika, the German girl who had been our pacesetter all yesterday, and after a few hours Irishman Brian caught us up and fell into step with us. The rain stayed away.
After five and a half hours of pretty steady uphill we reached what we hoped was the top!
Indeed, it was all downhill from there. Occasionally villages came into view in the distance and we tried to guess which one we might be going to (no googlemaps allowed).
None of the photos capture the bitingly cold wind that hounded us all day, but we will remember it! However, we were just so grateful to be able to witness the spectacular views. We were grateful for the sunshine and brilliant blue skies. We were so aware how fortunate we are to be here. We didn’t even mind that it started drizzling on the last stretch into the village!
Distance: 35.9km Total Distance: 782km