Day 43 on the Via de la Plata
22km to Cea
A big milestone today. I’ve officially crossed over into the last 100km of the walk.
Where has the time has gone? It doesn’t feel like there was ever a “middle” to this walk - it feels like the journey has gone straight from feeling like I had forever to suddenly realising I had no time at all.
There were two choices of route today: one shorter but steeper and there was an interesting pit stop along the way, “Cesar's cafe” which seemed to be a teeny-tiny cafe run out of his house.
These kinds of small “finds” are my favourite kinds of places on the Camino, the ones run by people who are so passionate, welcoming and open to the multitude of people, cultures and ideals that pass through their doors, who expect only company and conversation in return.
It was a slog to get there though. Navigating back out of the big city and through the outskirts wasn't that fun, though the weather was 1000% better. When I checked the forecast yesterday it couldn't have been more opposite to what it’s been like recently; we’re expecting clear blue skies and 30°C+ temperatures! The heat started to build early, and the concrete and lack of tree-shaped shade of the city outskirts didn’t do much to help that.
Thankfully, it didn’t go on for as long as it seemed to yesterday. Soon enough, I was away out of the city and on to a quieter, greener road, and then it started to go up and didn’t stop.
I was already feeling knackered and a lot slower than usual, but I was boosted by sudden music I could hear coming from the villages way down below. I don’t know what the occasion was but there was a band of musicians travelling around the villages and playing traditional Galician folk music in the traditional Galician folk dress.
The bagpipes are a main feature of this type of music and I’ve grown up with this music in my ears, so it was a nostalgic throwback to hear it floating up through the trees. I could just about see the small group playing their instruments and listened for a while, watching as they got into a white car and travelled from village to village, playing the familiar music.
I finally arrived at Cesar’s cafe and was not disappointed. It was a wonderful place and Cesar a wonderful host. No one else was around so we sat for a while chatting about anything and everything, and about some of the pilgrims that had passed through previously. The place was covered in photographs and ephemera. He called it his sanctuary. We took a selfie and I added myself to the immortal collection. I also made the above portrait of Cesar before I left.
The rest of the day didn’t let up in its difficulty. I think I’m still recovering from my mad 40km jaunt the other day. My legs and knees feel weak, and my energy low. It was a beautiful walk despite all this, and I walked mostly through lush and somewhat overgrown trails for most of the day.
I finally arrived at around 4 pm. Shower, washed hair, and a very late lunch.
The sky stayed blue the whole day and I spent a wonderfully chilled evening in the setting sun, a glass of red wine in hand and surrounded by good company.
Until next time,
Hey! Ameena here - I’m a freelance portraiture and documentary photographer based in London. I enjoy telling stories about adventure, the outdoors, and our relationship with the natural world.
In this newsletter, I’m digitally retracing my steps on the Camino de Santiago. From March to May 2019, over 45 days, I walked over 900km along the Via de la Plata (the Silver Way) route of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain.
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