Day 56: Berducedo to Grandas de Salime (20 kms)

Sore muscles reminded us what we asked them to do during yesterday’s walk. We hobbled around bent, and stiff, trying to get down to breakfast. It might have been comical except everything did hurt. Coffee, juice, and toast now residing inside we ventured out into a cloudy morning with temps hovering around 55 F. Once again, no rain (hooray). There was a bit of a climb out of Berducedo, and the a few kilometers downhill along a road to A Mesa. Here the downhill reversed itself and we launched into a long moderate climb up, and out of town. Today’s nuisance were the flies that just seem to be in season.

As we were giving it our all trying to “make the grade” out of A Mesa the flies were in turn doing their best to drive us crazy. We gave the impression that we were two crazed drum majors off their meds as we swung our trekking poles in big swinging circular motions giving notice to all flies we were not in the mood to be messed with. We continued huffing and puffing up the grade swinging our poles, and the flies kept being pesky flies. Something’s you just have to live with. Once at the top we quickly found ourselves being directed down to the reservoir below. As we made our first moves downward we could see a town, sitting far away, on a high plateau, directly across from us. As it turned out that was Grandas our destination for today. So down we went enjoying beautiful views of the mountains, the reservoir, and the forest in between. The actual descent took about just a bit over an hour, but then you do a few climbs and descents as you make your way around the reservoir to the dam that you must cross. At the dam you are now on a paved main road that after 3.5 kms (uphill) leads you to a left turn onto a trail that drops you right into Grandas.

We had beautiful weather all day. Walking in the pine forest around the reservoir was terrific. The long descent to the reservoir, taking it nice and easy, wasn’t that bad. All in all, it was a beautiful walk. The 3.5 kms of climbing on the road to Grandas is on a road grade that is easy to climb. There are a few sections of that road, where if you are outside the guardrail, there is precious little space between the trodden grass path (what lunatic trod it), and a sheer drop of many hundreds of feet. We took our chances with the traffic, and stayed on the road side of the guardrail. Better for the blood pressure. We arrived about 2:00 (started about 8:00. We walked at a rather easy pace all day. We had no reason to hurry. Upon arrival we booked into the Hotel La Barra. Once the usual daily tasks were sorted out we wandered out for a drink and something to eat.

Trying to reconcile your hunger with restaurant hours in Spain can sometimes be challenging, but today we lucked out. We found a restaurant that was open after 3:30, and slid in. Inside we found, not surprisingly, a full table of pilgrims also enjoying a meal in what might be considered off hours. We recognized some people, said hello, and dove into the menu del dia. It was quite good, and the restaurant crew was attentive and helpful. We had a funny encounter, after lunch, as I tried to purchase a bottle of wine to go. The owner, who was tending bar, was trying to be accommodating. So when I asked for a bottle of wine to go, he reached Into the trash bin, pulled out an empty, and started rinsing it. I interrupted, and tried to bring up the word for new, fresh, unopened, but that only drove him back to the trash bin to find a different size bottle. Now we had an assortment of glass, and plastic bottles ranging from 50cl to a liter. He was perfectly happy to fill any, or all, with whatever I wanted. At this point, a patron at the bar, non English speaking, sensed the key to the problem, and uttered something to the boss. I simultaneously made a gesture (God knows why) of putting a cork in the bottle. At once a glimmer of understanding emerged, and he reached into the cooler, and pulled out a nicely chilled bottle of Verdejo (unopened). The staff, now eating their lunch had a good laugh, the patron at the bar nodded his wise approval, the boss, glad to be of service, put all the old bottles back in the trash bin, and I happily passed 4 euros across the counter, along with my thanks. What an amazing transaction. Life on the Camino.

I am experiencing some problems uploading photos, so I am going to post the text and try to send the photos later.

 

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