Thursday, May 2, 2024

Spain's Camino Primitivo Day 7: Grandes de Salime to A Fonsagrado

 We left Grandes de Salime early on Tuesday, March 26th, departing at 7:17 AM.  One of the first things we noticed was snow on the section we had hiked the day before - on the other side of the reservoir.

Although we started to get a little snow, it was temporary, and it definitely energized Nagore!

In fact, as we entered the little town of Castro, it seemed like the clouds would burn off! 

Castro has an albergue that gets great reviews.  I would have liked to stay there, but I was happy quitting where I did the day before.  We stopped to get a coffee for Nagore and a coke for me (and a stamp), 3.3 miles into our day, 1 hour 8 minutes after we left. We enjoyed talking to the folks running the place!  He even knew some English.  It looked like a great place to stay!  Below is a photo of the proprietor and the albergue (along with a sticker my co-worker had me take from the U.S. to photograph in Spain).

After Castro, we began climbing - 1675 feet over the next 5.5 miles.  The grade was less than 6%, so it was hardly noticable.  By 9:30 AM, however, we had merged onto a road and the weather had deteriorated.

Conditions were cold and muddy as we climbed to a ridge with a line of wind generators. Look hard in the photo below, and you can locate Nagore ahead of me.

Conditions improved as we descended and moved east from the ridge with the wind generators.  We could still see that ridge and those windmills near the end of our day's journey.

But the last 0.8 mile was a tough climb, ascending much of the time on an 18% grade.  Fortunately, we knew our destination was close.

When we passed those windmills, we left the province of Asturias and entered into Galicia.  The orientation of the camino shell on every marker flipped, so we needed to remember that and avoid turning in the wrong direction.  And every marker had the distance marked to our ultimate destination of Santiago de Compstella, down to the hundredth of a kilometer!  

There was another change that affected us.  We were told that municipal albergues in Galicia are not required to supply blankets, unlike in Asturias.  Because Nagore was traveling very light, she did not have a sleeping bag. We checked at the municipal albergue in A Fonsagrada, and they confirmed that they had no blankets.  After a day hiking in this weather, we wanted someplace warm! We stayed instead at the Albergue Cantabrico next to the main church in town. We would only be staying in private alburgues for the rest of the journey. 

And that was a good move, as the day got worse after we checked in.  I went out again, to wander around town and to get some cereal for the next morning.  I tried getting a photo of the town bus station with a neon that switched between the time and the temperature.  Waiting in the wind for a photo without cars or trucks in the way, the temperature dropped from 3 degrees C to 2 degrees C, and to 1 degree C.  Basically, freezing.

By now, we had lost track of Ronnie from Israel, Roberto and Cande from Argentina had bussed ahead due to time constraints, and Monica from Toronto decided to instead explore the coast of Portugal - where she hoped it would be warmer!  We joined a fellow hiker and relative newcomer to our camino -  Alex from Germany - for dinner.  I promised Nagore that I would treat her to dinner if she bought squid ("pulpo") - which she said she loves - and she let me have a bite. I opted for a less gut-distressing white fish. And a Queso Bocadillo. With a Galician beer.

Day 7 Camino stats: 
Date: Tuesday, March 26, 2024
Distance: 16.4 miles (3.2 miles further than the previous day)  
Time: 5 hours, 55 minutes
Start time: 7:17 AM
End time: 1:12 PM
Total daily steps: 45,259 steps 

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