On the pilgrim super-highway

The door to the Hostal Torre creaked open   at 8:30 this morning as Robin and I crossed the street to the cafeteria where we would find life sustaining coffee and settle our account. It was a warm still morning that gave one the feeling that someone had hit the pause button and we were stuck in some sort of time warp waiting for someone to make the first move. It felt stagnant yet surprisingly hopeful. A crazy mix of feelings indeed, but Camino mornings can do that to you.

The señora was quite kind and cheerful as we ordered a couple of cafe con leches while waiting for our bill. A few stragglers drifted in, coffee cups rattled, the espresso machine wheezed away and a faint gray started to creep across the black windows. Another sleepy town in Spain was awakening. Two guys, obviously pilgrims, said hello and wished us a buen camino as we made our farewells and shifted out the door. The bar owner had gifted us with a little swag, a logo’d buff, and a pen for both of us. Very kind.

So out the door we went into the muggy dim dawn and set out for O Barco some 20 kms down the road. It was a still quiet world that embraced us us daylight slowly illuminated the Sil River valley. In short, it was a perfect start to another wonderful day on the Camino Invierno. We climbed out of Puente De Domingo Flórez and set a good pace to O Barco. It was at this point we realized that Robin had lost our guide book printout for the day. No worries we had a pdf. So off we went, up and down, enjoying the beautiful walk along the Sil River. We could see particularly between  the villages of Pumares and Sobradelo a great deal of work was going on to grade and level the trail. Someone had funded some significant trail maintenance. Bravo.

We pulled into Sobradelo around 11:45 and shortly thereafter our two Spanish pligrims arrived, and lo and behold they had our lost guide book pages. As it turned out they were from Salamanca and had walked this route five years ago, and were doing it again. We thanked them for their kindness and after wishing them a Buen Camino we shoved off for O Barco where we arrived, in the center of the city, at 1:30. We made good time today in large part due to the beautifully prepared trail between Pumares and Sabredelo. It truly was like a super-highway, wide, level and dry. We stopped for lunch at the Restaurante Casa Galaica, which was packed on a Sunday. A table was found for us and a most enjoyable lunch followed. We jumped in a taxi after lunch and found ourselves at the Hotel Calzada in neighboring Arcos a few minutes later. We only have to walk about 10 kms tomorrow to arrive in  Rua so an easy day is at hand. I could get used to this. More tomorrow. Saludos.

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