Vilar de Barrio to Ourense (18.74 miles / 30.17 K)
Today was suppose to be a short day and it turned out a bit longer than I expected. The guide notes the distance between Vilar de Barrio as a little over thirteen miles, but the mileage that I note in my blogs are usually the distance I walk that day, which may include getting lost or side trips. Like today, yes, I got lost, but only about one mile. Yes, even with the Camino app and Google Maps. And today I started to go past Ourense and turned around and came back to find a hotel. This all added to my total trekked today.
I started right at eight this morning and I was the last one to leave the alberque. Apparently there was a bar in town that was open at seven and most people must have headed there before starting. I have gotten so use to not having an open bar that I always try and buy something to eat in the morning.
Starting out today seemed a little different because it was foggy and dark, and the town seemed so deserted, even though it was after eight.
I followed the Camino out of town by using the Camino app, which is really nice in the dark, and with foggy conditions, because you really can’t see the directional arrows or markers.
The Camino was on the road almost entirely to Outense, and only occasionally moved onto a side path or dirt road. Actually, that’s where I got lost, at a crossing where the Camino came off a short dirt path and then onto and across the road. Right where it crossed to the other side there was a wide dirt road running along a beautiful little stream. There was a cement Camino marker with a directional arrow, and I assumed it was pointing down the road. I looked at the app and it showed my position on the map and on the heavily delineated Camino on the map. I assumed the dirt road was the Camino on the map and just turned onto it not realizing the Camino was still on the asphalt road. Ok, so Wrong Way Ted still gets lost even with a Camino app and Goggle Maps!
I followed the road along the stream and was really enjoying the beauty of the Camino. I had not look at the Camino app as there had not been any paths or roads coming on to this road. Then the road started getting rough with huge potholes and large flooded areas. I was struggling to keep the Wheelie from tipping over as I walked along the sloped edges of the flooded areas. Then my Native American instinct came into play (ok, I am not Native American!). But, I do remember a pilgrim telling me that when he doesn’t see a Camino directional for sometime, he starts to look for footprints. Sure enough, with all this water and mud, I had not seen any footprints. Well, I looked at my Camino app too! And sure enough, I was not on the Camino, and at least a half mile from it. This was still before nine and not very far from town!
I think that there must have been a law that stated that every town or village in Spain must be built on a hill. At least it seems that way to me! Once I was back on the Camino the road started to climb uphill for at least two or three miles. I was sweating profusely as it was so humid with the fog. As I have mentioned, with every uphill, there is always a steep downhill, my least favorite at this time with my knee. But fortunately, none were extremely steep like those the last few days.
The Camino went through several pretty little towns. There always seems to be a mixture of very old stone houses and newer modern stone houses. I have notice many signs for remodeled houses, some looking hundreds of years old. It seems that all they do is add new surfaces over the stone walls that are probably hundreds of years old. Of course there are new roofs and windows, but I can see how they will probably be around another hundred years or more as those stone walls don’t wear out, have termite damage, or rot like our wood frame houses back home. Ok, that was a bit trivia.
The Camino was mostly on a one lane road without a center line. It is a main road between towns, yet it is not wide enough in places for two cars to pass.
Once nearer Ourense the Camino went through an industrial area for a mile or so. Then it went through the very narrow cobble streets of the little town of Seixalbo, which was a neat looking town. It was a typical Spanish style village with solidly connected houses but they all looked new or very well taken care. It is so interesting to me that it is just off of the Main Street, almost hidden unless you turn down a little access street, yet there is a little bar, mercado, and pharmacy in the middle of the houses. Yet it seemed so lively as there were people walking the narrow main street and standing in front of houses talking. So different than many of the villages where it almost looks like a ghost town.
Once past Seixalbo the Camino ended on an asphalt road and turned into a steep downhill path. It’s strange how quickly the Camino can change from a beautiful trail to what looks like a footpath through a muddy field, and then a back alley.
Once near Ourense I started to get my usual unsettled feeling being in a big town. I had decided to walk through today and try to find a place to stay on the other side of Ourense, but I want sure there was any.
With my Camino app I went through town fairly fast, and only got side tracked twice because I wasn’t looking at my phone. With the app I just moved over to the next street, etc., and was right back on track. Wow, if I had had this at the beginning it would have saved me a lot of stress going through those big cities. Thanks again Paul!
Ourense seems like a beautiful place with lots of Roman history. If I had more time it would be a place I could study for several days, but today I planned on walking through.
I got to the northern outskirts of town and was going to the adjoining town of Cudeiro. I stopped to look for places on the apps and guide books. I didn’t find any and then was told by a man that there were no places to stay until Cea, thirteen miles further.
I looked on the Camino app and found a place about a mile back in Ourense, the Hostal La Rotonda. So that’s where I went. It’s not fancy but clean and a half block from a super mercado. There were several good restaurants on this block and I went to one that was recommend. and it was good. The bar in the hotel downstairs is open at seven in the morning.
My room is at the corner of a busy intersection and the streets are a buzz with people, and I am actually enjoying sitting on the deck and laying in the bed watching the activity. It’s a nice change from a remote alberque.
Tomorrow is a short day, but what I’ll do is up in the air? The day after us a very long day, and again, that’s when I wish I had my tent. I may only have four more days before I arrive in Santiago, so I had better savior them.