Vilavella to A Gudiña to Campobecceros

June 6 – Eight miles today will get us to A Gudiña, the first town of any size we’ve been to in a while.  We need breakfast provisions (we still haven’t gotten used to toast only and we supplement with yogurt and fresh fruit) and a wallet refill from the ATM.  It rained last night, making this morning’s climb a little messy, but thankfully there was only a little rock hopping, compared to yesterday.

Saw some cows, and some chickens and geese.

Mostly we just hiked up and up some more, with the wind blowing cold the whole time.  Today is the first day in a long time that I was not even tempted to remove my jacket as the sun climbed in the sky.  We are in the north, for sure!

My app doesn’t give me elevation numbers, but Jim says we’re up around 3000 – 4000 feet.  Top of the world:

We are staying at the Hotel Suizo, with a lovely view of the mountains, some sheep, and a sunny window to dry our laundry.  The restaurant was busy, always a good sign, but the menu de la casa wasn’t printed, so we had to select on the fly as the waiter rattled off the choices in his Galician dialect, which is hard for us to understand. I had the pasta salad and the grilled hake (merluza do plancha) and Jim, always adventurous, ordered a thing we hadn’t heard of before.  The waiter tried to describe it by pointing to his side, which didn’t help.  Heart? Lungs? Liver?  It turned out to be a mixed grill with sausage and ribs, and Jim was very happy with his choice.

Sunset at 10:30pm from our hotel window.  127 miles to go.

June 7 – The bar at our hotel is open 24 hours for the convenience of the truckers who pull in at the gas station across the way, so we were able to get our coffees early.  We were on the road at 7am, as we have a 13 mile trek ahead of us today.  Thankfully, today’s hike is mostly roadwalk, so I won’t have to ford streams or rock-hop.  

When we stopped to take a photo, we realized there were six hikers climbing the hill behind us.  We haven’t seen so many hikers in a while.  There were two Italians, one Spaniard, and three French.  We took turns passing one another all day.

If yesterday was mostly up, today was seriously up – above the tree line.  The weather was perfect and not windy at all.  Really couldn’t ask for a nicer day.

We looked down on a reservoir with unnaturally blue water.  It looked like a tropical island.

As we crested the last hill, we saw Campobecceros below – a big construction site with the town off to the right.  The high speed rail line from Madrid is coming through, and our guidebook says there has been major tunnel construction through the mountain here for over a year.  The municipal alburgue has been commandeered to house the workmen, so there is only one private alburgue with 20 beds.  We hoped to avoid the alburgue and stay at the only guesthouse in town, but they have turned off their phone – a bad sign.

We went to the guesthouse first, and as we suspected, they were full – completo.  Back to the alburgue, where we were lucky to snag two of the last bunks in the tightly packed dorm.  Statue in front of the alburgue:

No wifi for the second day in a row, and no phone coverage here, so we can’t call ahead to try to assure a room for tomorrow in the next town.  Two bathrooms, at least, with hot showers. We are out of soap, so we just rinsed out our sweaty clothes and hung them on the line.  I wonder how they’ll smell tomorrow?

Speaking of smell, we walked along the tiny main street after our meal, swatting flies and trying to step around a thousand little balls of goat poop.  We hadn’t seen any animals pastured on the fields as we walked in.  Sure enough, a chorus of little bells alerted us that the goats were coming home for the night, right through town and into an old rock house on the main street!  Just around the corner, another house was full of chickens!  Didn’t have my camera, so you’ll have to take my word.

114 miles to go.

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