An early start, despite limited sleep. The coolest temperate overnight was 32°C, at 5am. There was a tough climb out but a great descent of about 5km of gentle swoops down and then a short climb up to Portomarin, a town re built on the hill when the river was dammed for a reservoir. It’s scarily like Portmeirion. I expect to be chased out by a giant bubble at any minute.
We seemed to climb most of the day from here with lots and lots of long steep ascents and all too short descents. The Camino is getting busy now. We’re into Galicia and past the last starting points for people to qualify for the Compostela. Strangely people are starting to seem less polite and friendly. Some of the walkers, particularly those with just one or two sellos, spanking new boots and a spring in their step seem downright hostile and pushy.
We are seeing more folk we know on the road though, which is refreshing and oddly comforting. It’s nice to know people along the way, if only by sight. We met up with some Australians who helped me pedal up a particularly nasty hill by talking to me and taking my mind off it. We stopped at a really nice refuge with friendly hosts who offered free water, coffee, and loo services to all pilgrims. All they wanted was my soul for Jesus. I gave them a couple of euros instead.
At a small bar in the middle of nowhere we stopped for pop and sat outside. A big fat Italian chap from Napoli came over to bum a fag. Lou didn’t understand what he was saying so I explained. He looked in fairly bad shape, breathing heavily and sweating profusely whilst drinking loads of water and Aquarius. We had a quick chat about where we were from. I accused him of being a Juventus supporter, but was unable to provoke a physical response. He clearly thought Lou was not the full ticket!
We arrived at the outskirts of Palais de Rei, despite the efforts of happy clappy walkers who were fresh on the Camino but felt it was their right to occupy the whole width of the road, not just the path. We had a ‘cana con limon’ to cool off.
We rode into town and found no room at the inn, or at the refuge which had plenty of room, but not for cyclists. I’m starting to get bitter and twisted about walkers who started in Galicia but who claim special treatment – not very pilgrim spirited of me! We finally found a spot about 10km out of town, another motorway café type place that boasts German speakers, but no assumption that we are German, just slight disappointment that we’re not. It’s called ‘The Two Germans’ and is painted pink with pink candy striped shades. I slept as soon as I got in the room, just zonked out for a couple of hours. I have only had a Ritter Sport to eat all day and can’t seem to feel hungry, although I know I must be.
We had a rather unpleasant dinner with really nasty wine, but quite nice local cider.