Santa Eulalia de Doriga to La Espina 21.3 kilometers

In the morning it was difficult not to bring mud inside our shed. The boots had been outside in a box, but we could not put them on outside as it was again raining. We were out before Luis and never saw him again, so it is on the Camino.

Behind the bar the road went steadily uphill. We followed a mix of gravel paths and minor roads for 3k until we came to the outskirts of Cornellana. Here we had a choice, we could follow the official Camino route or stay on the road and go through the town. We had no breakfast yet, the choice was easy. About 300 yards along the road we saw a filling station with a café. The thing with Garages is they are more or less 24 hour and so it was we were lucky. The seats were outside and the rain had not quite stopped so we sheltered under a canopy with our coffee and cheese and bacon roll.

Refreshed we carried on and re-joined the Camino after about a kilometer. More minor roads and footpaths, but we were diverted on what seemed to us a strange route. Then we saw more European money at work. We were diverted to avoid the construction of another flying road. Giant cranes lifted sections onto huge pillars that reached into the sky and scarred the beautiful valley. Men crawling up the side of the pillar like ants on the forage. All this to divert traffic from the minor roads that weave through the valley. Roads that carry maybe a dozen cars an hour. I reflect on our own roads, overcrowded and potholed, and the fact that it is our money paying for this abomination.

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As we follow more footpaths and minor roads we keep passing junctions and roundabouts where it says the road is closed. All this in preparation for another new road to nowhere. After another 10k we arrive at Salas. We come in along a board walk that goes over a flood area. It is like a big park where you can relax or when the river is in flood it takes the water before it hits the town. Halfway through the town we stop for a beer and some food. A lot of the local trade seems to revolve around feeding pilgrims but not much else.

At the top of the town there is a sewing shop and I can finally get some decent needles and thread.  The woman asks if it is for Viv or me to do, I have no idea what difference that makes. Do women use a different needle than men? Then we have an argument about the colour, “grey” she says, “no it is green” says I. She is quite insistent, but I am the customer and my pants are green. If she is colour blind she is in the wrong job.

We have another 7k of mixed road and footpath, before we arrive at Bodenaya again the end point of the stage, but there is little here. Only another kilometer to La Espina where we arrive on a top road that seems to run parallel to the main road. There is a sign pointing to the left for food. We follow it down but it is just another of those places with vending machine’s. We get a stamp and a chocolate bar, but the flies are to bothersome so we do not stop.

Just down the road we find Hostal Dakar, double room and menu of the day, and to top it they have a large screen TV. After we had washed and rested we explored the local supermarket for tomorrows lunch. We get some bread fruit and yogurt, and some cheap deodorant, hopefully to kill that wet dog smell. Of course all our gear is back at the Hostal and we get caught out by the rain. The heater is on some sort of complex remote control, so we have no way of making it work. We just have to hope our stuff dries in the bathroom. At least I can now repair my pants, you find what is really important on the Camino.

The food is good as is the wine. I just love this giving you a whole bottle with your meal. I sat drinking it as I watched Wales finally knocked out of the European Cup. It was great while it lasted and at least now many Spaniards know where it is. Instead of “I know Wales, Londres” now we get “Wales, si Gareth Bale” we are taking small steps.

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