Cacabelos to Trabadelo – 20 Kms, 24,350 steps
My room last night was not good. The establishment was not staffed (check-in was elsewhere) and the yanked-out common area fixtures and furniture gave it the vibe of a ghost town. Except for the loud construction noises right above me (drilling, hammering, etc.) that went on through the afternoon until about 7:00. Add to that burnt out lights, a view across the alley to a disgusting rooftop patio littered with trash and mangey dogs, a strong cigarette smell (pehaps the workmen?), and a sewer aroma in the bathroom. Definitely NOT recommending this place (Hostal Santa Maria).
I calculated my walk today as 20 Kms but it sure went by quickly and my step count seems low. A happy accident, perhaps, but it only took me 4 hours, including a 30-minute break, to get here. A lot of the way today was along roads and roadside paths and the ascents and descents were mild.
I took the old “original” Camino route at one point today, instead of the newer “recommended” route which is 2 Kms longer, and I remembered it quite accurately fom 2019.
At my halfway point break in Villafranca del Bierzo, I shared a table with two 20-somethings from Italy who were bicycling the Camino. We had a very enjoyable conversation, even discussing their thoughts on the rise of fascism in Europe and the recent far-right Italian election results (they weren’t happy about it). They spoke English and Spanish quite well, so we didn’t have to rely on my tourist Italian.
For most of the second half of my walk today, I was on a paved area separated from the highway by a Jersey wall (see above). Asphalt is not the greatest surface but it sure beats rocks, and the highway ascent angle was gradual and made for easy walking.
When I finally arrived in Trabadelo, the town mayor came out to greet me, just as he did in 2019. Fine fellow!
Speaking of dogs, I met a woman yesterday from Germany who was walking the Camino with her Dalmatian. We talked about her decision to bring the dog and she told me she had consulted her veterinarian about it and he had given the OK, even encouraged her. So, my feelings that bringing your dog along was irresponsible and hard on the dog were assuaged a bit.
When I got to the very nice Albergue Camino y Leyende, they asked me if I wanted lunch. Albergues usually offer a communal dinner, but a personal lunch was a new twist. After we discussed what I wanted, the cook went out to the garden and picked the vegetables for my meal! And it was really tasty (and included a copious quantity of local wine). I’m looking forward to seeing what we have for dinner.
The weather has been just perfect. Right now, it’s 75-degrees F with low humidity and a clear sky. I hung my clothes on a rooftop clothesline and they were dry in an hour.
Tomorrow brings a challenge: the climb to O Cebriero. In 2019, it was steep and raining and it was a horrible experience. I arrived at the top looking and feeling like a drowned rat. Hopefully, tomorrow will be better. Here’s the elevation profile:
It’s only 17 Kms but, as you can see, it’s a tough climb. I look forward to reaching the top and seeing the statue of Don Sampedro, who’s buried there. More about him tomorrow. Wish me luck. Cheers.