The walk started at 8:15 AM and ended at 6:45 PM making it as long as some of the high mountain climbs I did in Japan. The morning started as rain but it was light. I wasn’t soaked and the large rocks on the paths were not slippery — the good news. The bad news was that mud was everywhere making Camino walkers dodge sideways to avoid our shoes getting wet. Nature was merciful today and a makeshift sign on the road out of Tineo expressed a wonderful sentiment — Here There I am by your side. I thought of Kobo Daishi from my 88 Temple walk.
The countryside was beautiful. However, photos can’t directly convey the sounds of birds, the earthy smells of farms, or the sensations of wind against one’s body. The air is fresh; cars and trucks are few. After four hours, I came upon route signs: Tineo to the left and Pola to right. Alas, I was still less than halfway to Pola.
Another 2 miles and I was ready for a cerveza. In a small hamlet, a cerveza and a chicken sandwich on a 4 inch baguette with a whole filet and lettuce was 4 euros. Imagine that in the US. Even better, was running into Gabriel from Chile. We were supposed to have walked Day 3 together from Salas but somehow misunderstood how we were to connect. We headed out together for the final half of the walk. At the end, we were glad to be a pair rather than walking solo.
Most of the way was straightforward. The signs were clear and we had stopped for what else, a cerveza, at an inn in Colinas de Arriba. When we left, we headed for Colinas de Abajo. Really.
Now for the thrilling part. Just down the road, we turned left following the Camino sign. We entered a primeval forest walking on a very muddy track. We met two women walking towards us. Odd because we encountered no one walking the Camino backwards. They were heading back to the highway because they got lost in the forest. No signs they said.
We were undecided what to do. After about a minute, we decided to plow on (literally) because surely signs must be ahead. No signs and for the next hour, we slowly climbed higher and higher. It was getting darker as the sun was heading below the crest of the mountains.
We eventually reached a T and using Google maps decided to go right or southwest. Another 30 minutes of no signs. Shortly, we broke out of the forest onto a wide path the led to the highway. Wouldn’t you know, we could make out a Camino sign in the distance.
We weren’t finished. We had a very steep downhill stretch to go. I took a photo at the beginning of the downhill and another from my hotel window looking back up at the power line structure from where we started our descent. We were glad it wasn’t raining because the downward path was rocky and it would have been very dangerous when wet. The trek down was exciting enough.
All’s well that ends well. I enjoyed another hearty meal; the first course was Asturian lentil soup while Manchester City and Real Madrid were competing in a Champions League semi- final match. Many locals were watching on a big screen behind me. I finished my dinner at halftime. Score: 1-0, Real Madrid. I needed to shower and sleep. I left. I could hear roars and groans from my room. No matter, I was down for the count. The final score that I read in the morning was 1-1.
2 thoughts on “Day 4 (May 9) Mercy Droppeth As Gentle Rain — 23 Miles”
Another day of strenuous hikes downhill! But at least you were not alone. I loved your description of walking through the countryside- I could feel the breeze and see it in the tall grasses. Good luck tomorrow!!!
Glad you enjoyed company on a rough hike and a nice hearty soup at the end of a tough day and beer -always refreshing on a long hike. Companionship and beautiful scenery along the way makes the miles go faster. I hope tomorrow will bring blue skies and we’ll-signed paths.