Negreira to Olveiroa
It was always going to be a tough day, 33K is not to be sniffed at, but with a shortage of stopping points we had little choice.
Never the less we set off in good spirits as we followed the road for a short while and then set off into woodlands. As we started climbing we saw the film crew that was following the cellist, they were filming the pilgrims as they climbed the hill. Viv tried to avoid getting in their picture, but I realised what they were doing and just carried on. As we passed the camera we were asked to sign a release to say it was ok to film us.
We followed the road for a while. Then we passed acouple with a big fierce looking alsation only the alsation now decided he was ours. Viv was quite concerned as it wandered about the road. He stayed with us though. As we turned off the road we saw two men by a car “es tu pero?”‘I asked,no was the reply,but they called the dog anyway. I think the dog cursed us.
The yellow arrows were getting more scarce, but at first, this was not a problem. When we had been walking for half an hour without a sighting we started to worry. It was time to get out my trusty compass. Little did we know that we were already too far off to regain it this way.
After another hour or so we finally saw an arrow, relieved we followed it. After about another half hour we reached a road. As we approached, a taxi drived stopped and said this was not the camino. He kept telling us we should go back to Negreira and that the road was too far. He could give us nothing in simple language so we elected to continue along the road.
We walked for hours and eventually arrived at a bar. Time for a coffee, the barman was really good, he said walk 3K and turn left then bear right and we will see an albergue, then we will be back on the camino.
Now 3K is about half an hour and true enough at almost half an hour there was a turning and it was in a village with a name that made sense of what he was saying. (He drew a square on the map and said something that I did not understand, now I did).
We took the turning, but now there were numerous other turns, unsure what to do we followed his advice and beared right. Over a cross road, things were looking good, until we arrived back on the mainroad we had already been following.
We asked so many people “Camino Finisterre?” and always got the same answer “si siga todo recto” (year one Spanish, go straight on”). So we did. For hours.
Then we asked someone else, he told us to go over the next roundabout and ask. So we did, but there was no one to ask. Many may be asking now “what about your map?” well camino maps are fine while you are on the camino, they are totally meaningless when you are off it. In fact most of the towns that are on the map do not exist as far as road signs are concerned.
We trudged on to a place called Antes and there was a garage “tienes Mapa?” I asked more in hope than expectation. “Si” he said. so now we had a road map of Galicia, only slightly more use than the camino map, but at least we knew where we were.
I decided to head off to the left, but the men in the bar insisted we should carry on this road. Now there is a big lake, big enough to show even on the Camino map and if we carried on we would be the wrong side of it. We walked about a kilometer and decided to walk back.
The men from the bar were off in their cars so we passed them by and took the next turning. I was now following the compass, all we had to do was head west from here.
That was ok until the road took a turn. In the middle of a village called Pazos a big articulated lorry stopped, caused a traffic jam and told us we should head back. I was getting less and less sure that anyone in Spain knew where they were going, but for the sake of Viv we went back. But again we came to a junction, so I followed the compass.
It was now mid afternoon and not a sign of Camino or any signs, so we stopped in a bus shelter had some water and nuts and turned the data on on my phone. (I know, I should have done this earlier, but it has become so unreliable, I trust it less than a Spaniard).
My only hope was to head south for Santa Marino, Olveiroa was 3.5 hours away.
We followed, got lost again and eventually passed some men working on a house. My instinct was to go right here but they all said straight up.
I should have learned by now, but up we went. Then after who knows how long, someone stopped in a car and said “Santa Marino straight on through the next village”. So at the next village, instead of following the road we went through the village, until after a couple of Ks we ended up in a ploughed field. So we walked back through the village and followed the road.
Now we seemed to have lots of people telling us to go straight on, but we reached a point of utter despair. No sign of any civilisation, totally and utterly lost.
At this point I decided to turn around, then a wagon came. Half a K up the road he said was the camino. “if you turn left you can get to Santa Marino, but it is 4K back, you are best turning right” he said. True to his word, when we got to the next junction we saw arrows at last.
We had been walking now over ten hours, but now at least we knew we were going the right way. I was at this point completely exhausted and decided to just sit on a rock.
We saw three people come over the hill,”quick lets follow them” I think we both said in unison. They too had been on the road all day, the difference was they were stopping to film, they were the film crew again.
We walked together for a few Ks, it helped to have company at last, as well as knowing we were on the right track. What I did not realise was how far we had now come. I asked how far was Bon Xesus and they told me we were much further than that.
They had to get to Olveiroa as the cellist had a concert at seven and it was now approaching half six. So after a call, they backtracked to get picked up.
We, however, still had to walk. Not far around the bend we came across Abeleiros. Overjoyed, we really had come further than we thought and we were going to make Olveiroas afterall.
Much to my consternation there was more downhill, but hope does wonderful things, my knee seemed to be holding out. So much so that when we saw the albergue at Puente Olveiros I said ” lets have a beer here and carry on to the town”.
So, after a beer and some crisps we walked on hoping we would not regret the decision. At the first hostel, I got a very abrupt “no” so we tried the next and on right through the town. Not a room to be had. So we tried the albergue, no beds either.
There were some Germans in the same situation and we told them about the donativo albergue at the bridge. We, however were not about to walk another 2K especially back the way we had just come. This is what happens when you arrive at seven thirty. The girl fromthe film crew said “the concert is still on you can go in” but we needed to find a bed first.
We went back to the last hostel in the village and decided, before we could do anything more we needed a rest and some food.
We ordered the pilgrim menue and some beer. Now, it has been said to us before, that everyone here knows someone with beds. The hostel owner said “If you want a private room I kow someone, but it is 10K away. They can pick you up and drop you back here in the morning. It was 45e, but then we were desperate.
It is a strange feeling after nearly 7 weeks to get in a car again, to be moving along not under your own power, but we were so tired, after 12 hours walking I would not have noticed if they had used a Starfleet transporter.
What we had was not a room with a bathroom, but in fact a house. The lady of the house presented us with a plate of cake, Viv, being Viv tried to refuse, but I thought it would be rude, so graciously accepted. We could always take it with us in the morning.
We showered and I don’t remember my head hitting the pillow.
Negreira to Olveiroa