Another good day’s walk, if a bit damp! I awoke to the sound of rain. It continued to drizzle, a fine misty rain, through the early morning; it cleared for a while; then it rained spots at some times, not much bother, or more misty rain, also not much bother, but later in the afternoon there was a bit of a shower. However, I was well-protected – water-proof hat, rain-proof jacket, rain-proof pullover trousers – and much of the time the rain was minimal, so it was not too much trouble. Though I did hear later that other pilgrims today were caught in very heavy showers in other places (e.g Castro Dozon later in the day long after we had left) and had to take shelter and/or catch a cab.
In all, distance walked was some 27kms in around 8 hours. Given that there were some short breaks in that time – admiring the scenery, taking photos, doing some shopping – and that there was some up and down ridges and gullies, it was a good day’s effort, just a bit short of regulation time of 4kms per hour.
We left the albergue around 6.45. Here’s what it looked like as we set off in the dawning light in light rain:
You can see Denis and Michael ahead of me. As usual, I said to them to go on, and I would come at my own steady pace. So from then on, as usual, I had the day’s walk to myself.
After a while, the weather cleared and the sun tried to break through. However, it succeeded only in patches, and the sky remained overclouded through the rest of the day. On one occasion I looked back towards Castro Dozon and it was swathed in heavy cloud. That was possibly the heavy rain through which the other pilgrims had to walk. But here’s a more positive outlook over towards the west from where the weather seemed to be coming:
I passed through several small villages throughout the course of the morning and early afternoon, though it was hard to know their names, as often the camino path came in by a back lane rather than the main road, so I did not pass any town signs to identify the place, as I have mentioned before. In one house there was a crucifix and statue of Santiago Peregrin (St James Pilgrim) over a metre high:
There were many more of the traditional Galician raised granaries. Here’s another one. The sky in the background will give you a sense of the weather.
I have noted that many of the houses in Galicia are also two storey, the ground floor being used as a garage, a stable, a wood supply, a cow yard, a storage area, a pig-sty, an implement shed …. whatever is needed.
I wend my way northwards, in tandem with the main road, sometimes crossing to one or other side, up and down some of the ridges and gullies. I passed through more of my favourite walking places, the tree-shaded leafy lanes. Denis commented that we don’t get such verdant green colours in Australia (as we don’t have the rainfall).
There’s even me exhilarating in the green, tree-shaded lane:
Now here’s a test for you. In the next photo, what do you see first? What do you see more of? Have a look.
Did you see the stones first, and think, “what a stony, rocky path!”. Or did you see the flowers, off to the left of the road? There’s no correct answer. I needed to see both, to see the stones, so that I could place my feet carefully without stumbling, and to see the flowers to revive my spirit.
Shaded lanes can also lead upwards!!!
In some villages, I came across well-kept gardens, adding colour and vitality. Here’s a new flower I had not seen before.
Off to the West, the weather on the far horizon seemed to be closing in. I feared there would be rain before too long.
Here’s an ancient pilgrim standing on an ancient bridge, the Ponte Taboada. My guide book says, “10th c. bridge over the Rio Deza, in very good condition, with original medieval paved surface dating from AD912, high above the river for a bridge of this type.”
In Taboada, the Romanesque parish church was dedicated to Santiago. Inside, on the altar panel, there was a carving of Santiago Peregrin, with broad-brimmed pilgrim hat, scallop shell decoration, pilgrim staff, and gourd for drinking water.
I confess I am puzzled by the right hand pointing down. Is he advertising hosiery??
However, in the top centre of the altar piece was a carving of Santiago Matamoros (St James, Killer of Moors [=Muslims]), leading the Christian army on the left against the Muslim forces on the right!!!
In the courtyard outside, was another modern statue of Santiago Peregrin, to my mind, looking very much like an ancient Chinese sage.
The arrow-signed path led me down more leafy lanes.
Another benefit of the shaded lanes that I was about to discover is that when it is raining in the open, if it is misty rain, not a downpour, then the trees and the leaves act as an umbrella, catching and diverting the rain drops, so that less falls on the path below.
Ahead, the weather continued to threaten. You can just see the town of Silleda, the day’s destination, ahead in the mist. The fields are green and verdant. From this point on, it did start to rain a little bit more heavily, and I was glad to be wearing the full rain-proof weather-gear.
Where the path was exposed to the elements, it became quite damp underfoot, at times even becoming a rivulet.
With the rain become heavier, needless to say I was glad to arrive at my destination, which proved to be quite a big town. I took a bit of time to find the agreed albergue, where I found my companions settled in and expecting me. A bite to eat, a good, long, hot shower, and some laundry done by the hostess in a washing machine and dryer ensuring that for the first time in days I have some clean clothes, all is well.
Just for the record, the villages I passed through (according to the guide book) are as follows:
Left Castro Dozon at 6.45am
3.0 km Santo Domingo
4.0 km Puxallos
1.5 km Pontenoufe
2.0 km Xestas (arrived here at 9.10am)
2.5 km Botos de Abaixo
1.0 km Botos de Arriba
4.0 km Donsion
1.0 km Laxe
2.0 km Prado (arrived here at 12.15)
2.0 km Boralla
1.5 km Ponte Taboada (arrived here at 1.00pm)
0.5 km Taboada
3.5 km Silleda (arrived here and settled in by 3.30pm)
I note that according to the above calculations, the total distance is slightly more than the other guide book. Whatever, it was a good day’s walk. The weather held off most of the time. More personally, from my point of view, my leg was OK. I had freedom of movement. There was no restriction on my walking. I was nearly able to maintain regulation speed. There was a little bit of soreness, but not too much. So it was a good day.
From Silleda, Santiago is about 40kms (depending on which guide book you read).
Tomorrow we walk 21.2kms to Puente Ulla.
Friday we walk 20.3kms to Santiago.
I add, God willing, weather, health, and other factors permitting!!