Rain started the day. Rain ended the day. It poured when we entered Galacia in the middle of the day.
Out of my hotel window, the backside of Grandes de Salime’s main church loomed in front of me. It was almost on top of me because the street was narrow. When I left my window open to cool my room, I heard the flat tone of the church’s clanging bell strike the hour and half hour throughout the night at the times when I was awake. I had to take a photo of this church that the many smaller churches seemed to have modeled on the Camino route.
The rain came down in a steady stream as Gabriel, my now “official” walking buddy, and I made our way through the surrounding fields carefully balancing ourselves with our hiking poles as we zigzagged and hopped over stride length mud puddles. We slogged along at a greatly reduced pace ever alert for Camino markers that sometimes seemed to pop up here and there.
Those of us who live in the Lehigh Valley are accustomed to seeing slate roofs or thicker pieces of slate used for sidewalk or patio paving. Sometimes, upright grave markers are slate. However, I have never seen a slate fence and in such a small hamlet as Castro — about five houses. The Castro Neolithic style hasn’t seem to have caught on anywhere else.
Our high point of the day was Puente de Arcebo at 3400 feet where the windmills are located in the next photo.
We had a slight break in the weather and took our raincoats off. Within minutes came the downpour that lasted for over an hour. During that time, we left Asturias for Galacia, the Spanish state located in the NW corner of the Iberian peninsula. Galacia’s Camino markers were recently installed. Unfortunately, the photo is a bit blurred because of the heavy rain and the fiercely blowing wind. We were in Galacia, the home of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compestella, pulpo (octopus) as its famous dish, and a world class white wine, Albariño.
We were soaked. We were cold. Gabriel put on waterproof winter gloves from Sweden to protect his hands. Mine were red — no gloves. We had no choice but to walk on. The unmanly option would have been to call for a cab.
Our destination, A Fonsagarda, was 9 miles away. We looked for a bar or restaurant where we could warm up with some coffee and take our raincoats off. We passed none for 5 miles. But then a sign appeared with two forks in the right corner. Food and shelter!
It turned out that the restaurant was packed with mostly men who were truck drivers or locals, working guys or ROMEOS (retired old men eating out). The others, Camino walkers that included all of the women, were eating or waiting in line for a table. Even though dining is a longer term proposition in Spain than the US, the tables were turning over.
We could order a la carte or go with the three course menu. Surveying the scene, the obvious choice was the menu. Choices were given and we both agreed on the fabada, the Asturian bean soup that I had been trying to order since day 1 as our first course. I was glad to see cross border sharing especially of a regional dish that is a source of pride among Asturians. In a word, the fabada was fantastic. Those beans were as large if not larger than lima beans. The soup came in a serving tureen. We both enjoyed two bowls.
Our second was squid in a rich prawn tasting sauce. We could finish about half of what was served though the ever present papas fritas were consumed. They were hot, crispy, and crunchy. I didn’t ask for mayonesa. I ate them neat or with the seafood sauce.
We ended with fresh fruits. Gabriel drank a small bottle of Coke Zero while I was given an entire bottle of Albariño; I drank only half. What a loss to leave the remainder. The cost? Fourteen, yes, 14 Euros each.
We left dry and more than satisfied. Towards the end of our final 4 miles, it started to rain again while we climbed up the 300 foot hill to reach the town. “It is what it is,” we said to one another. Living in the moment, we were almost at our hotels where a hot shower awaited and with delightfully full bellies. No dinner tonight.
3 thoughts on “Day 7 (May 12) Entering Galacia — 19 Miles”
Dear Roland, you are an accomplished bonvivant, a person who makes the best out of not so ideal circumstances, who endures and enjoys whatever the moment brings.
Ki o tsukete!
Yes the present is a gift! You accepted it graciously and completed your day’s journey. The lunch looked and even sounded delicious! So happy you had a pleasant respite from the rain! I hope to ight’s sleep is uninterrupted by church gongs!! See you tomorrow!!
The present may be a gift, but does that include the rain? I remember slogging through the rain in Portugal but nothing like you are enjoying? I wish I’d been there to share the Albarino with you. The squid looked good but was it crispy enough? Keep walking Ron, I’m enjoying the blog and experiencing your many steps onward to St James.