Tag Archives: Ourense

Ourense to San Cristovo de Cea to Dozón

June 14 – Fifteen miles today will get us to Cea, which should be the longest day of our last hiking week.  The morning was cool, overcast and so foggy that I couldn’t see ten feet ahead of me.  After getting out of Ourense, the trail went straight uphill for a long kick-butt climb, partly on pavement and partly on dirt paths.  

Jim found an interesting spider’s web.

The fog burned off by 10am, and the day started to heat up.  It’s supposed to get up into the 90s by late afternoon, so we want to be inside by then.  We stopped to rest under some eucalyptus trees.

There were several little towns where we could stop for coffee, and we took advantage of each one.  The locals had some interesting ways of welcoming pilgrims that made us smile.

Note to self:  do not even think of painting your house this color!

We crossed an old stone bridge that led into an abandoned town.  I wonder why the people left?
Pretty little flowers.56 miles to go.

June 15 – Spent a restful night at our Casa Rural, which included breakfast.  I always appreciate a morning when I can have a second cup of coffee!  Twelve miles today, on another cool, clear morning.  Leaving Cea:

The windmills on the hill looked surreal in the morning mist.

Beautiful garden flowers:

Then it was time to leave the road and do some huffing and puffing uphill.  The woodland views were worth it, and it was so cool I considered putting my jacket on.

Back to the highway for a while.

Then up some more.

The views from the top make the climb worthwhile.

Said hello to some cows.

Then down, down and into town.

I had been silently dreading tonight’s stay in the last albergue of our trip.  We had to walk past the town to find it.  Imagine my surprise to find two young girls waiting there to welcome us in and ask if we’d like the dormitory or a private room.  A room?  Yes, please!  The building used to be a school, with big sunny windows, an industrial tiled kitchen, and even a playground out back (used as a laundry hanger by the pilgrims)!   There were separate toilets by gender, and the open gang showers that you remember hating in middle school.  And there was wifi!  This was the bomb-diddly of albergues.  Thank you, Dozón!

44 miles to go.


June 12 – We had a leisurely breakfast at our hotel with an excellent croissant instead of the usual toast, then walked the remaining five miles into Ourense.  Although it was still cool in the morning, this city is surrounded by hills and is much warmer than other places nearby.  My morning weather check surprised me by reporting that by the end of this week, the high temperature will be 100 degrees!  

After a shower and our midday meal, we set out to find the number 1 thing to do in Ourense, which is to see the Catedral.  There is a bus stop right outside our hotel, so we asked the hotel clerk which bus to take to the cathedral.  He said all of them went there!  Must be a popular place, as this is a big city with at least 30 different buses.  So, we hopped on the first bus that came by.  I asked the driver if this bus went to the Catedral, and he nodded in the affirmative, so off we went.

I had my phone on, and watched the GPS as we got within about 10 minutes of our goal, then kept watching as the Catedral got farther and farther away.  We had seen no Old City, no Plaza (which in Galego is a Praza), and certainly no steeple or dome.  I thought perhaps the bus would circle around, but no luck.  We stayed on until the bus pulled into the station and everyone else got off.  The driver stood up, saw us and shrugged his shoulders.  We shrugged back.  He indicated that we should stay on, as he reversed the bus for the return trip.  He told us the name of the stop to get off, but as the stops weren’t called, that didn’t help much.  I watched the GPS,  and at 10 minutes from the Catedral, we jumped off.  Whew!

So, here is the Catedral, in the middle of a block of tall buildings.  Romanesque, with Gothic add-ons.  It had all the things that cathedrals have.  Here are my favorites.  A big fresco of St. Christopher by the door, so I won’t die today:

Lots of color and 3D reliefs.  This is the assumption of Mary, and below is the conversion of Paul and a Pietá.

Very different crucified Christs:

Stained glass in odd shapes:

More color:

This is a very unusual depiction of Santiago, as he is sitting down:

This is the Catedral of St. Martin of Tours, who is famous for cutting his cloak in half and giving half to a beggar. Here is part of him in a reliquary:

A beautiful painting:

And a modern statue:

We looked for other things to do in Ourense.  The only museum has been closed.  The city is best known for its hot thermal baths, but we don’t have proper bathing suits.  There is a park, with one swan and some pigeons:

Another church, Igrexa Santa Eufemia, was totally dark inside, and had what appeared for all the world to be a slot machine on the altar:

The sign at the city hall explained that this building replaced the one that collapsed due to poor construction:

Some interesting wall art:

Well, not every city is a tourist mecca.  We appreciated having a day of rest, and tomorrow we push on toward Santiago.  71 miles to go.

Vilar do Barrio to Xunqueira de Ambía to Ourense

June 10 – Well, even without a blanket, that was one of the best nights we’ve had in an albergue.  There were only two other people in our dorm, a bicycling couple from the Netherlands, so we got adjoining lower bunks and slept easy.  

Nine miles today.  We walked out of town along with some freshly shorn sheep on their way to pasture.

Are the hydrangeas blooming at home?  My favorite flower:

Our first few miles were totally flat farm track, reminding us of the beginning of our journey.

Here’s a stork out for a morning stroll.  We haven’t seen one in quite a while.

The farm track ended and we were back to the shady woods.  Love the ferns and the mossy green rocks that line the path.

At a little town, we saw a raised grain storage building.  We remembered seeing many on our last Camiño.

We liked the juxtaposition of the old structure sheltering modern cars.

And more sheep!

Jim made some new friends as we climbed up and up some more.

As we descended toward town, Jim saw some beehives, and decided to get a close up.  I don’t have to tell you what happened…

Then down, down and into town.

Time for our next lesson in Galego.  We are now in the town of Xunqueira de Ambía.  In Galego, the letter replaces the letter J, which we all know has the sound of H in Spanish.  Claro?  It’s a good sized town with two supermarkets and our choice of restaurants for a midday meal.  We are staying at Casa do Souto, and have the whole house to ourselves, including the washing machine. So nice to have really clean clothes!  The birds are singing outside our window, and we are enjoying another wonderful view.  85 miles to go.

June 11 – Happy birthday to Peter, my firstborn.  He doesn’t read my blog, so somebody please tell him I’m sending love his way!

Nine miles today as we head toward Ourense, our last big city before Santiago.  It’s gray and overcast this morning, for the first time in quite a while.  We stopped checking the weather forecast, because it was so nice every day!

Haven’t shown you a church in a while.  Walking out of Xunqueira.

The arrow shows the way.  The shell is the sign of St. James.  The water gourd is the mark of the pilgrim.  We think the stars are for the European Union.

Here we are!

We walk on the road, past farmers’ fields.  The grapes are starting to grow!

Our guidebook warned that today was all roadwalk, and it was right.  As the farms turned into suburbs, we were given a sidewalk.

More hydrangeas!

We passed a restaurant with some metal peregrinos:

Getting bored now.  Do you think this sign means we have to yield to trumpet players?

I used to think this sign meant Fat Man Sleeping.  Now I know it means speed bump.

Still walking.

We saw signs that it is much warmer here than where we’ve recently been.  Cacti, palm trees, and red tile roofs.

The suburbs become an industrial area about five miles from the city.  

Our book warned that this was a long, bleak stretch, and all the pavement walking hurts our feet, so we decided yesterday to stop at a travelers hotel three miles out, and walk the final leg into the city of Ourense tomorrow.  The hotel is highly rated with a great restaurant.  We’ll do the rest of the bleak walk tomorrow. 

Here’s the map of our remaining miles.  100 kilometers is all that is required to say that you have completed a Camino.  We expect the trails to get more crowded from this point on.

76 miles to go.