When you look out of your bedroom window and see a lovely sight that brings promise of a nice day, you can’t help but feel good. We had about 24 km to do today to bring us very close to Santiago. Once again we planned to leave early primarily to get a bed in the albergue at Outeiro as this was the destination for most if the people we had talked to. There were at least 10 people that we knew of that we’re coming here, but who knows have many more. There is an option of staying at a small village (Ponte Ulla which means you have to travel 4km up hill in the morning and have a 20km walk on the last day), so most people chose Outeiro. The other reason for an early start is to beat the sun which really starts to heat up in the afternoon.
Early starts are not a bother for me as I actually think early morning is the nicest part of the day. I probably have my father to thank for that as he used to drag me out of bed before the sun came up to go out fishing with him (but at times I recall begging him to take me with him). If you asked me what it is about early morning I like so much I might say at this point in time that it is the relative quietness, the songs of the birds and the quality of the light. This morning had all of that along with a big fat moon hanging low on the horizon. It wasn’t cold and we were quite comfortable in t-shirts. All in all it was quite magical and probably my favourite morning of this Camino.
For no apparent reason today was a really good walking day. We walked well together. Thankfully we naturally walk at the same speed which really makes a difference. We are comfortable walking and talking or in our own respective silence. Either way is good. Today I was again walking alongside Val on the hills or just behind. It was nice to be able to do this comfortably. The only part where I lagged behind just a little was on the last stretch between Ponte Ulla and Outeiro for it was hot. We were on a white quartz forestry road with the sun starting to blaze. Hot! It was a welcome relief to get off that road and arrive at our refuge for the night.
Actually speaking of the weather, we have had an unbelieveable run of great weather. We have had just 10 minutes of very fine, well spaced, small drops of rain when we were walking in Ourense on our rest day. There was dark cloud on the day we departed Ourense which threatened rain but the threat never came to fruition. Yesterday was foggy and low cloud until lunch time and then cleared. Otherwise, we have had nothing but sunshine. This is so different to Val’s experience two years ago when she walked through this area and the next day arrived in Santiago as a cold, soaked little puddle and miserable because of it. And it’s not as if the difference can be attributed to time of year as we are here about 10 days later in the year than she was. So prior to the trip Val promised me that I could look forward to walking at least one day in the rain and I even bought a super dooper rain jacket for the occasion. I am pleased that promise was one that Val didn’t keep. My raincoat sits in the top outside pocket of my pack, unused. However I am not allowed to relegate it to the bottom of my pack as Val says should it rain tomorrow (almost unimaginable at this stage) it will all be my fault.
Now with today’s km behind us, I sit at the albergue which is located up a hill with no village nearby, unless you want to walk 5km done the hill and that means 5km back up. We were team number one (not that we are participants in the Amazing Race but sometimes it feels like it) which is a peculiar little triumph of the day. And team number one means the reward is your choice of bunks. Tucked away in the corner to maximise personal space and minimise company. I must add here that we have the super snorer from two nights ago with us.
(Aside here – we overtook Mr and Mrs France on the road. We haven’t seen them since leaving Xunqueria a number of days ago. It was really nice to see them as we first met them on our first night in Laza which now seems so long ago. We expected them to be ahead of us due to our rest day in Ourense. But seeing them again was like meeting long lost friends. One of the joys of the Camino).
And now we rest preparing for the big day tomorrow – the last 16km of my baby Camino and the first hours of my 50s.