The breakfast at La Mesquita was another of those buffets, not comparable with an English but well worth the money. I was not looking forward to today so a good feed was what we needed.
Last time I did this stage we got completely lost, I have the GPS this time, but even with this it will be a long day. See https://tangogales.wordpress.com/2014/06/26/olveiro/ if you are interested.
The walk out of town is simple enough. The city gate is well worth an extra view. After walking through woodland we follow the highway for another 2k until we arrive in Zas. Here we turn off the road and down into the village. At the centre of the village I can now see where we went wrong last time; There must be ten arrows drawn on the road and another three on the building opposite, turning us uphill to the left. Viv doubts me, but I am 100% sure we went straight on down the hill last time.
I have a more confident step now and everywhere is new and unseen and after another 5k at A Peña we come to a split which I am certain we had not come across before. Reinforcing my belief that we have passed our nemesis. The sign says 500 meters, I am at first reluctant to divert but the book says that there is no need to backtrack, so we head off to get coffeed up.
There were a lot of people sitting here having a well earned break, but we could see the continuation of the Camino in front of us. After we were fully refreshed we set off again. The track cut steeply uphill and joined the road, from here I was sure I could see the Camino below us.
Ahead I could see a woman coming towards us looking confused. She asked if we were still on the Camino, she had left the bar and now was not sure. About another 500 meters further we did, in fact, meet the lower trail again.
We found out she was from London and the reason she had a small pack was that her husband was following in a campervan. So not only did she get more breaks than us, she was also assured of a bed each night. Her husband had been in the Met and he had injured his leg in a motorcycle accident, so now was unable to walk far. Hence his relegation to support vehicle driver.
We walked together until we arrived at Vilaserio, where the campervan was waiting. We met the husband and then said our goodbyes.
It was another 7.5k of country roads to Santa Marina. The 11k from A Peña is too much in one hit so we sat on a wall and ate our lunch. Further back we had seen a diversion and chose to ignore it. Then 200yards further on we saw a bench where we could have sat more comfortably and Mikel and Suzanna who obviously had got the jump on us by taking the diversion.
At Santa Marina we arrived at an alburgue and a chance for more coffee, and in my case beer. As we walk out of the village we are again on the highway, there are a number of shops here. They look closed but on testing the doors we found one open. I can’t remember what Viv wanted, but apparently I am an idiot for not realizing they would not have it. Nothing ventured I say.
We had another 11k of minor roads dirt tracks and highway without a break. There was a diversion to A Picot where there was supposed to be shops and a bar, but it was 3k longer. I have learned not to trust promises the book makes so we gave it a miss.
These roads are now familiar again as we get closer, we were back on track here last time but it was approaching seven o’clock. This time we arrive at Ponte Olveiroa just after two. We still have a couple of kilometers to go but we stop at the alburgue for an ice cream and a rest.
On the other side of the bridge is another beautiful modern alburgue, we made the mistake of passing it last time and failed to get a room. I don’t think we will have that problem this time so we press on.
Olveiroa has almost nothing but the pilgrims and so is full of places to stay, unfortunately it is not so large that it can always accommodate them. We decided to pass through to the far end where despite everything the patron found us somewhere to stay last time. As Pias is full again, it seems, but they have a house and we can have a room there for40e. Beautiful place and there is a bar right in front, I think we will be happy here tonight.
The bar also has a shop, so we get some provisions for the morning. Later we return to As Pias for some food. I remember the food being good here, but this time it was a disappointment. We had a meat stew, it consisted of a plate of boiled cabbage and a pile of non descript meat fat. For once we did not clear our plates.
I seem to get new readers every day, so for those who are just joining me you can go back to the start of my journey here https://tangogales.wordpress.com/2016/07/31/the-journey-down-2/