Ourense to Oseira (23 miles / 37 k)
Today was another long day as this stage was only about thirteen to fourteen miles to Cea. I got there by 1:30 PM and it seemed to early to stop, and I still had a lot of energy. Tomorrow’s stage from Cea to Laxe had two routes, one was 22 miles and the other 25 miles. Part of the longer route was to the little village of Oseira, where there was a monastery to stay so I decided to go the extra seven miles to there. There are no other places to stay in Oseira.
Ok, thirteen to fourteen plus an extra seven, that’s twenty or twenty-one, so why go twenty-three. Well, I didn’t go that far, but Wrong Way Ted did! Kind of.
I got my usually start at eight and followed the Camino on the main highway out of town. It was a little foggy and I used my headlight to be on the safe side. The climb right out of town was almost six miles long, on both the Camino and the road, as they run parallel to each other.
I grumble sometimes about having to start the day by having a steep climb, but it is really better than at the end of the day, which is what I ended up doing today anyway.
I had stopped to take a break, and for the first time saw five other pilgrims on the Camino. Three were people I had met at alberques and two were new.
Ourense is the closest town to Santiago where someone can start the Camino and still get a certificate (Compostela), so many people start there.
I had moved onto the Camino at several crossings and found it a little difficult with my knee on the downhills and decided to stay on the road as much as possible.
At Cea I followed the Camino through town and was surprised again at how a small one lane road could lead into a nice little town with a city plaza, church, bars, and mercado. In Cea all the streets appeared new and many of the houses were very well kept, not what you’d expect entering on an almost dirt road.
Once past Cea the Camino continued on the main asphalt road, and after about a half mile turned onto a smaller asphalt road. I looked at the Camino app and it looked like it continued on this road most of the way to Oseira.
I decided to follow it instead of the road and it was nice until it turned back into a narrow dirt path. It started steeply down hill and I struggled a bit with my knee. When the Camino crossed another asphalt road I used the Google Maps and found that this road ran fairly close to the Camino and all the way to Oseira. Well it did, but with lots of steep downhills and then steep uphills, and from a wide road, to a narrow road, and then to a gravel road. It was windy, and as the total shows, added an extra two miles or so to Oseira. The last uphill before Oseira was very steep, steeper than any climb today, but luckily it was not more than a mile.
When I finally got to Oseira I was awed by the monastery as it was very imposing. It’s the first thing you see when you come into this little town. I was tired but happy. It was already five, a hour and a half longer than I expected.
I saw the sign for the monastery’s alberque and walked into the building and was surprised by what it looked like. It is one big room, probably a chapel at one time. There are around forty-six bunk beds in there, and a bathroom with only two showers, two sinks, and two toilets. Fairly basic but a place to sleep. Fortunately there are only four of us here. A German, Korean, Russian, and me.
I had to go to the main building and gift shop to register and get my Camino passport stamped. The bed was 5€ ($5.60).
The monastery has tours every night at 5:30 and 6:30, and unfortunately I couldn’t get settled in time to go. The monastery is still functioning as such and there are only eleven monks here. It was originally built in the twelfth century! Wow! It is big, beautiful and impressive, and I am so glad that I decided to come here. Staying here is part of a history that goes back nine hundred years or more. Pilgrims have been staying here for hundreds of years! As I am writing this, I hear the bells ringing, like they probably have for hundreds of years! Wow!
I was a little concerned that there were notations about food being difficult to get here, but there are two bars across the street that are open most of the day. I had diner at one of them ptonight and I was the only customer.
Tomorrow should be a shorter day as the last town on this stage has several places to stay. The next two days will be even shorter as I wind down for my arrival at Santiago.
Different vegetation that almost looks tropical