17 June: Laza to Xunqueira de Ambia

 If you look really carefully at the left side of the picture you might see a whole lot of bee hives cascading down the hillside. If you look to the right you’ll see Micaiah just about to stung by one of the monsters and pursued by more. He got such a fright he panicked and almost knocked his sister off the rock in his effort to get away. Over the other side are big rocks, not a nice gravelly path like in the picture and he was in grave danger of breaking a leg or killing a sibling as he made his escape. Hearing the commotion, I hoofed it over and was just in time to see their near demise. I did what any sensible mother who is trying to calm the situation would do – screamed in my loudest voice one word: STOP! Thankfully, they all listened and acted immediately. Tessa added her scream to mine as the “swarm” (poetic license but it was how it felt to them!) turned its attention to her. “Stand still,” I advised and they did. Presumably because they no longer felt threatened, the buzzing balls of sting retreated. 

Suddenly everyone really just wanted to arrive. We had already been feeling a bit like that earlier and when we’d come to a little hamlet with a bar full of noisy men I had poked my nose in. (Sidetrack: according to what we’ve seen it’s good to be a man in Spain. You spend a lot of time sitting in bars, playing cards or dominoes and your wife cooks you meals and toils in the garden. Sidetrack over). They all stopped talking and looked at me as I asked,  “Where are we?” They replied with a place name I did not recognise and then added the answer to my unasked question, “Xunqueira is 5km away, just 5!” That was the information we wanted. And a very pretty five it was too:

It’s just there was a bee drama and the path went on and on and we had really had enough. (That’s the downside of walking a long day – you don’t fully appreciate the wonder you might be in)

But truth be known, I might have found it hard to appreciate *anything* today! The sunrise was pretty, but then I had to drag an unwilling body along a perfectly flat path for the first seven kilometers. 

Streams roared after all the rain we’ve had (and were continuing to have), but my energy levels did not match them.

Then we had to go uphill. My legs refused like a donkey at a bridge it doesn’t want to cross!

 You might not feel like it, but you simply have to put one foot in front of the other. You might be slow, you might be dawdling, you might be barely moving, but so long as you are going forward, you will eventually arrive! We climbed up.

And up. And up.
And looked back.And then up some more.
 Last night I had said I would not mind if it rained all day as we had such good views yesterday. I’m sure there was something spectacular behind this cloud:

 We soon forgot the lack of vista when the road led us to a little bar where everyone who has visited in the last dozen years has written their name on a shell and it has been placed on the walls and ceiling. We added our own and warmed up by the roaring fire.

There was still some climbing to be done, up to the cross

 Then the downhill started. The uphill had been a battle (for me – not for the kids, they were fine!), but the downhill was just painful. A few days ago a little gnome climbed inside my leg and attached a rubber band to something below my calf and twisted it tighter and tighter. Some people would take drugs to mask the pain, but I preferred to use the pain to gauge what I could safely without causing injury. After a couple of days the rubber band was released. And my calf tightened instead.  It has felt like a ball of concrete ever since and the kids have been making noises about “old lady”. Except this little girl: She stayed by my side all day. When I staggered up the hill, I encouraged her to go and walk with her siblings who were fast disappearing into the mist, but she insisted on staying close and looking back every few meters. If I stopped, she did too. She was a faithful companion.And down we went….down, down, down….

We were grateful the rain held off and we grabbed a spot to sit while we had a bite to eat. (That’s the bread from yesterday’s post – the pictures are up now, if you want to take a look) On through the town…

 ….and onto a dead straight completely flat road….. We never managed to pick up our pace – apart from the bee incident, that is – but eventually we arrived. After a long day the kids were keen to eat out, but they prepared a pretty good dinner while I did the work of blogging!

Distance: 34km Total distance: 816km


One thought on “17 June: Laza to Xunqueira de Ambia

  1. Wow sounds like an endurance test for you Rach- slogging on despite your calf muscle. Glad ER kept you company. What a good companion.

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