Day 44 on the Via de la Plata
22km to Castro-Dozon
I’m still grappling with feeling weak and without energy. It was boiling hot today as well and when I finally arrived around 5.30 pm, the local pharmacy sign said 30°c. What an abrupt difference from just a few days ago, and how absolutely certain I am now that I prefer to walk in cold weather.
It was such a struggle of a long day. I’ve noticed what was taking me a few hours has been taking me almost double that time recently. It's like being a new walker again, or perhaps my body knows it's coming to the end of the Camino, the end of this cycle, and it's getting tired.
It could also be, I guess, the fact that I was badly ill not really that long ago and then smashed out a 40km walk a few days after. Maybe.
Again, despite the struggle, today’s trail was stunning and full of history. I found out that the village of Cea, where were stayed overnight, is famous for its bread - Pan de Cea. The village still has more than twenty working ovens where the bread is made, some of which I walked past in the morning.
The morning took us through a wooded walking path - no road-walking woohoo! - and it was full of my favourite dappled morning light. I did have to jump out of the way pretty sharpish to avoid a dirt-biker at one point, which ruined the atmosphere slightly. I've seen several dirt-bikers throughout the trail, always in the most unexpected places, and it does look like a lot of fun though.
There were two routes to choose from once again. The longer one went through a village, Oseira, that had a monastery and monks who made their own chocolate, wine and liquor. Of course, I decided to go and try the chocolate. The day got very hot, very quickly though.
By the time I arrived and found a cafe, seeking shelter from the burning sun and my tiredness, I completely forgot about the chocolate. I sat for a while with an ice-cold drink and made friends with the cafe dog who really enjoyed my boots - apparently, they’re a great butt-scratching post. Who knew!?
Anyway, I sat for too long and when I finally remembered about the chocolate, I just could not find the energy to go have a look. I’d flagged so early, and I knew the next part of the walk was going to be exhausting. I just wanted to get going and to arrive.
As I expected, it was all uphill from there and I had little energy. It was slow-going, and the path wasn’t the easiest. I encountered both flooded trails and trails that were literally just a pile of rocks.
When I arrived late in the afternoon, I navigated to today’s albergue and found a huge building - the biggest albergue that I’ve ever stayed in I think, bar the convent I stayed in on Day 12. These particular municipal albergues often seem to be a strange mix of community sports halls and pilgrim accommodation; this one had a swimming pool and play area out in front. This particular albergue also had a restaurant in the building itself. With little energy left to do much but eat and sit down, this was amazing.
I found Joe later on and we ended up sitting outside on the grass with another pilgrim friend, where he revealed that he’d bought some chocolate and cacao liquor from the monastery to share. We sat, soaking up the sun, eating delicious chocolate and exchanging stories.
Later on, ready for sleep, I watched the sun set from my bottom bunk. A perfect evening.
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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