Padornelo to Lubián to Vilavella 

June 4 – Only 5 miles for today  (see yesterday’s post on my mountain wimp-out) but today is my birthday, so why not sleep in?  We strolled downstairs for coffee at 9am, then went back to bed to read The Sunday New York Times online for a while.  On the road at 10 – what a life!  And…. happy birthday to me!  Thanks to everyone who sent greetings!

After two miles walking on the highway, the arrows directed us down to an underpass. Spain has been very good to us peregrinos, creating underpasses and overpasses so we don’t risk ourselves crossing busy highways.  Thank you, España!

The view from the second underpass was really quite breathtaking:

From there we walked uphill and down, just drinking in the beauty of the day.

When I was little, my mother warned me not to play behind our neighborhood where the power lines ran – she said they caused brain damage.  Now we walk near power lines nearly every day – sorry Mom!  Too late for this brain!

We gradually descended toward Lubian.

Lubián is an odd little town, half abandoned, falling down stone buildings, and half nice houses with cars.  We are staying at la Casa de Irene, a very nice place:

But when you look next door, a building with a crumbling roof.

This one has no roof at all.  Interested in a fixer-upper?

There are two restaurants in town, and we asked what time they serve food (it is Sunday, and even on a weekday, hours are limited).  Our proprietress let us know that since the peregrinos started coming, everything has changed, and now you can get food anytime.  Progress!

After our menu del dia ( with birthday ice cream), we walked through the quiet town.  

The church was actually open, a very rare thing, and there was Gregorian chant playing softly inside.  More pilgrims progress!

143 miles to go.

June 5 – Do you know the saying: Man plans, God laughs?  Well, the Almighty got a good chuckle this morning, thanks to me.  I was so worried about the big mountain the other day, but it was today’s little mountain, Portela de la Canda, that kicked my butt.  

After a pleasant downhill walk out of Lubián, we saw an old baroque hermitage, Sanctuario de la Tuiza.  Very pretty.

Then the trail took us steeply up a creek bed, with water flowing downhill while we jumped from rock to rock, uphill.  Jim, of course, hopped merrily up, while I had visions of falling and breaking my arm (again!) if I missed a step.  By the end of an hour, I was sweating so hard that steam was rising off me in the morning chill.

Stone slabs were laid down in some spots to help keep our boots dry.

We finally made it to the top, where the view was very nice indeed.

High altitude flora:

At this point, we officially left the province of Zamora and the region of Castillo y Leon, and crossed into the province of Ourense and the region of Galicia – our final region!  

As we celebrated by shouting, “Galicia!  Yahoo!”, a group of Spaniards came up behind us and joined our cheer.

From there it was all downhill to the little town of Vilavella.  There is no alburgue here, but Googlemaps showed a hostal on the highway, a ten minute walk from the trail, so that is where we are staying tonight.

135 miles to go.

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