Day 56 (22/Nov/2017): Requejo to Lubian (20km)

An overcast day, climbing to Lubian with some diversions around the quarries.
I took my time getting up this morning, since my plan was to walk to Lubian, just 20km from Requejo. I had two concerns for the day – getting wet and running out of cash.
The forecast was for cloudy conditions until about 5pm and then rain, but apart from one or two raindrops in the early afternoon, it turned out to be a dry day. I hope that the forecast will be similarly wrong tomorrow and Friday but I know that’s too optimistic.
Over a breakfast of coffee and toast with cheese, which the young woman tending the bar viewed as a very exotic order, I asked where I might find a “cajero” (a cashpoint). She thought that there was a bank in Lubian that opened on Wednesdays and Thursdays (good news, since today was Wednesday). I checked my wallet and saw that, after paying for breakfast I was down to my last five Euros. Somehow, this played on my mind all day – In the end, I found that there is no cajero at Lubian’s two-day bank, but it didn’t matter. The construction workers drinking outside the bar told me to go in and tell the owner that I wanted a drink and needed money but only had a card. Result – a beer in my hand and 40 Euro in my wallet. So I needn’t have tied myself up in knots, thinking about whether I might meet a pilgrim that I know and ask for a loan, or ask the hospitalera to allow me to send money later, or arrange a taxi to the nearest town.
After leaving the hotel bar, I went back down into the village of Requejo, to follow the yellow arrows, which took me past someone’s miniature tractor (tempting me to turn my Camino into my own Short Story) and a statue of pilgrim’s boots. Then I hit the diversion that I had read about in various blogs. Instead of continuing on a pleasant woodland path, I climbed back up to the N525 road. For the journey from here to Padornelo (the highest point on the walk today – 1350m altitude), the path was diverted from its normal course because of all the quarries and construction related to the railway project in the area. At times I walked alongside the N525, which was wide enough and not terribly busy but I hate walking on the road. At times I found myself between piles of rubble and quarry vehicles. Amazingly, I still saw cattle roaming in these quarry areas. The fact that they can find grass to eat is amazing, but I hate to think what they’re consuming with that grass in these dusty, grimy quarries.
Since I was following a temporary diversion of the Camino, signage and arrows were not always evident. In some places, other pilgrims had made arrows with sticks or stones. I contributed one of my own. If I’d known about this approach earlier on, I might have been able to improve other stretches of the Camino where the signs are hard to spot.
After following the path through a tunnel under the motorway, I emerged at the hamlet of Padornelo. Like many hamlets around here, Pardonelo has many abandoned stone buildings with external stairs to the front door, and a pretty church with stairs leading to the campanile. I came across a bust of Captain Sensible over a fountain and sang South Pacific numbers to myself as I continued on my journey. I might have stopped in the bar if I’d been carrying a few more coins. Instead I bought some nuts and a bar of chocolate at the petrol station.
From Pardonelo onwards, the path was more consistent. It mostly followed the river, through autumnal woods. Shortly after crossing a makeshift bridge, I entered Lubian. The albergue is one of the first habitable buildings that you reach in the village – after passing a few ruins with beautiful, grand, doorways bearing dates and names of owners from the 18th century. I read the instructions on the door – which explain that the hospitalera visits beween 6:30 and 7:00pm – and was taken by surprise when Isabel opened the door and welcomed me with an embrace. She and Jose had arrived about an hour earlier. The told me that a German had just left his rucksack and gone into the village to have a beer. I immediately texted Uwe and arranged to meet him as soon as I sorted out my cash problem. Of course, the solution to the cash problem turned out to be in the bar where Uwe was waiting. We had a couple of beers together and sent a message to Michael to let him know we had met up.
On the way back to the albergue, we met Jose and Isabel at the supermarket, where we had a chat with everyone – the shopkeeper, other villagers, and our little group. Uwe and I then wandered back to the albergue. The hospitalera arrived, took 3 Euros from us to pay for our accommodation, noted our passport numbers and details. And then sorted out the heating and complained that “it’s always the Spanish pilgrims who don’t pay attention to the instructions in Spanish on the front door.” I sent a Facebook message to Jose to let him know – When he arrived i couldn’t follow the conversation but I had the sense that he and the hospitalera engaged in a polite-ish battle of wits as she laid down the law on the need to read instructions and he complained about the lack of blankets and the fact that the door isn’t locked. Everyone had their say and the hospitalera left cheerfully. Not sure how that happened but all’s well that ends well.
Uwe and I went back to Bar Estrella for dinner. I told Jose that I have read rumours of bedbugs at the albergue in a gudiña, our next stop, so he kindly found a hotel for us all. 35 Euro for a twin room.
Lights out and bedtime now. Hope I’ll sleep well and not worry too much about tomorrow’s weather.

Categories: 2017 Camino Mozarabe (Almeria to Finisterre)

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