Well it was action at all stations this is morning. IT WAS ONLY 5.20!! The six Pols had decided it was time to get up and get going. Sleeping bags were rustled into their sacks. Bags rustled into their backpack containers and torches shone to ensure things were all in the right place. Torches! Did I say it was pitch black at 5.20. They all left sometime before 6am. What the heck. Why leave then as it was still dark! Val told me “welcome to the real world of albergue living, you have had it easy so far!” And I haven’t even mentioned how strange it is having a strange men sleeping just beyond arms reach on either side of you. And one that had to go out and have a cigarette and 5.25am coming back to the bunk on my left stinking the room out with his cigarette stink that was not dissimilar to untreated sewerage. Hmmm, I’m enjoying my hotel room tonight!
Unable to relax in bed, the only thing to do was apply the ‘if you can’t beat ‘me, join ’em rule’. We left at 6.35 and walked the 700m to the cafe slowly. Very slowly as it wasn’t due to open until 7am. The morning air at that time of the morning was very fresh so we didn’t want to hang around waiting for it to open. Thankfully she actually opened early and we were on our way earlier than every other day – 7.10am.
I’m not really sure what to say about today’s walk. The first maybe 5-6km was pleasant walking along wooded roads or paths through the woods. More little villages, cute vineyards and villages off in the distance.
And then we hit the road and/or pavements. We probably walked about 18km on roads with oncoming traffic determined to make us bonnet ornaments (yes you walk on the side of oncoming traffic). We walked through a large industrial estate and what smelt like a paper mill belching out is waste products into the morning air.
Having survived the industrial wastelands, we began a never ending descent into the town of Ourense. Thump thump thump thump on the pavements. Every step sent shock waves up the legs. For the first time my feet actually hurt. My calf muscles were starting to ache also. And my pack with invisible bricks was really starting to dig in nastily into my protesting upper trapezius muscles. Thump thump thump through the town to our hotel. For the first time I actually felt really tired and just wanted to stop and take my feet off. Once I got into my hotel room, going out to explore the old town of Ourense couldn’t have been further from my mind. I enjoyed a long hot shower in complete privacy (you may remember albergue showers are completely lacking I that regard!) Val insisted on dragging me out to lunch but had to bring me back home before I fell asleep. That’s a first in the last four days of walking.
This was the most unpleasant day of walking purely due to the pounding on pavements. Tomorrow will be the cobbles of Ourense naked, that is without the purple pack.